Retrospective: Michael Schultz

A collage of images from Michael Schultz films

“His body of work…needs to be considered with the same attention afforded to fellow black filmmakers such as Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee.” – Keith Corson, Trying to Get Over: African American Directors After Blaxploitation, 1977-1986

We’re honored to be part of a citywide celebration of Columbus-born author Wil Haygood's new book Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World (2021) by hosting Michael Schultz at the Wex and Ohio State. Included in the book, Schultz will join us for a conversation and masterclass. We look forward to spotlighting his prolific and distinguished career for our communities.

If his is not a household name, the same cannot be said for his body of film and television work. Michael Schultz directed some of the most memorable films of the 1970s and 80s including Cooley High (1975), Car Wash (1976), Krush Groove (1985), a series of films with Richard Pryor, and a long list of hit television shows stretching from the 1970s to the present day. Born in Milwaukee in 1938, Schultz began his career on the stage, where that work caught the attention of Hollywood, and within a few years he moved from directing episodic television shows such as The Rockford Files and Starsky & Hutch to feature films. The success of his coming-of-age film Cooley High (1975) cemented his reputation and made fans out of the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas to whose film American Graffiti (1973) Cooley High was often compared. Schultz has been almost exclusively a television director for the past 20 years, working on such hit shows as Young Indiana Jones, Black-ish, The Practice, Arrow, Black Lightning, All American, and many more.

Director: Michael Schultz is presented in conjunction with a series of events celebrating the publication of Colorization: Black Films in a White World. We’re proud to join the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Columbus Metropolitan Club, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Drexel Theatre, the Gateway Film Center, Gramercy Books, and the Lincoln Theatre in this endeavor.

Thank you to Larry and Donna James for their generous support of this event.

A schedule follows. All events are currently scheduled to be in-person.
More updates to come, so keep your eyes on this page for the latest.

The Last Dragon (1985)
Thu, Oct 14 | 7 PM

Car Wash (1976)
Fri, Oct 15 / 7 PM
Introduction by Hanif Abdurraqib

Which Way is Up? (1977)
Sat, Oct 16 | 2 PM 

Cooley High (1975)
Mon, Oct 18 | 4 PM
Free Admission

Wil Haygood and Michael Schultz: In Conversation
Mon, Oct 18 | 7 PM
Free Admission

Michael Schultz: Directing for Television
Tue, Oct 19 | 4:30 PM

Krush Groove (1985)
Tue, Oct 19 | 7 PM

Cardinal Health
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The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
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Institute of Museum and Library Services
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