Van Peebles Interview
This is a Visual History Recording

Visual History with Melvin Van Peebles

Interviewed by: Mario Van Peebles

Melvin Van Peebles learned the fundamentals of filmmaking on his own by self-financing three low-budget short films Sunlight, Three Pick up Men for Herrick, and Cinq Centes Balles. Unable to find work in Hollywood, Van Peebles went to Amsterdam to study Astronomy on the G.I. Bill.

After completing 3 short films, Van Peebles expected to be welcomed in Hollywood, but was offered a job as an elevator operator instead. Moving to Europe to study Astronomy on the G.I. Bill, he was invited to screen his shorts in France.

How he made his first feature film The Three Day Pass in France, which led to his first Hollywood directing assignment, Watermelon Man and enabled him to bring other people of color onto his crew.

Van Peebles says he is proud that he was able to play a part in making the Guild more inclusive and diverse over the years.