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'12 Years A Slave' director Steve McQueen on depictions of slavery in film

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Director Steve McQueen attends the 13th Annual AARP's Movies For Grownups Awards Gala at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 10, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
Director Steve McQueen attends the 13th Annual AARP's Movies For Grownups Awards Gala at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 10, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” has been a box office hit and critical darling, earning nine Oscar nominations and snagging the Best Picture - Drama award at the Golden Globes.

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” has been a box office hit and critical darling, earning nine Oscar nominations and snagging the Best Picture - Drama award at the Golden Globes.

The film tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free-born African American violinist who was captured by slave traders -- Northup recounted his experiences in his memoir, Twelve Years A Slave. McQueen’s adaptation features a stacked British and American cast, and has attracted attention for being violent and realistic.

In an interview with CNN, McQueen spoke about the lack of films portraying slavery realistically, saying. “For me, being of African descent, I thought there was a hole in the canon of cinema regarding this subject. It was very natural that I wanted to put it on film.”

What inspired McQueen’s direction of “12 Years A Slave”? How have depictions of race in film changed, and how will they continue to transform?

Guest: 

Steve McQueen, Director, “12 Years a Slave,” which received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. McQueen wrote and directed 2011’s “Shame” and 2008’s “Hunger.”

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