Kino Lorber, the film/video company widely known for its restoration of silent and classic films, has just reached the halfway mark in its crowd-funding campaign to produce an ambitious collection of early African-American films.

Sourcing original prints from the country’s major film archives, Pioneers of African-American Cinema will include at least eight features, shorts, and the remnants of some films that only exist in fragments. Interviews with historians, archivists and filmmakers will provide background information.

The collection will include well-known works by black filmmakers Oscar Micheaux and Spencer Williams, as well as more rare films these films have never been commercially released on video, such as the silent aviation drama The Flying Ace (1926).

Earlier this week, Kino Lorber announced that it would be teaming with Howard University professor Steven Torriano Berry and the Library of Congress to restore Hellbound Train (1930), a film made by husband-and-wife evangelists James and Eloyce Gist, to be shown in churches and meeting halls.

Performing artist Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) is executive producer of the series, and will be curating contemporary scores for the silent films (and to satisfy historical purists, more traditional scores will also be provided). The collection is being curated by historian Charles Musser (Yale University) and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart (University of Chicago), who will edit an accompanying booklet.

Kino Lorber hopes that, with Pioneers of African-American Cinema, they can restore a lost chapter in our cultural history.

For more information — and to contribute to the campaign — visit: