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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 26th, 2013
06:22 PM ET

New era of African-American cinema emerges

As the Trayvon Martin trial sparks yet another, race-fueled debate in America, dramatic tales of young black men, will play out in theaters as a new era of African-American cinema emerges.

Over the next few months, audiences will see slavery in "12 Years a Slave," segregation in "The Butler" and poverty in "Black Nativity."

Coming out nationally Friday, is a portrayal of racial profiling in "Fruitvale Station." It is based on a true story of the fatal shooting of a young, unarmed black man.

"What my film was about, about me as a filmmaker, was about this man's life, and the people that he mattered to, you know, and what their relationship was at the time, and why his life mattered to them," said director Ryan Coogler.

Some of the life stories that will resonate the most this year, are those that went untold in their time.

This August, audiences will see Forest Whitaker in "The Butler," serving at the White House through the civil rights movement.

Later this year, the ensemble cast of "12 Years A Slave" will depict the life of a human being treated as mere property.

Filmmaker Neil Drumming's debut "Big Words" is also among the new group of films gaining recognition.

"I definitely feel like there's a movement for independent black filmmakers to get their projects out and pursue more unique projects than maybe they'd been willing to chase down before," Drumming said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Drumming's movie – a New York Times critics pick – reflects the struggles not just of a group of black men but of a frustrated nation circa 2008.

The film is about three characters who used to be in a hip hop group together coming to terms with that group's failure. The movie takes place on the night that Barack Obama is elected president.

"What I wanted to write about was three characters who had sort of lost their optimism," said Drumming. "And the best way to really outline them was to cast them against this evening when it really felt like everyone in New York City was looking forward with positivity, with optimism."

Optimism and strength are at the heart of this renewed push for influential films.

As the national debate over race relations continues – the movies too depict a nation divided, and the characters portrayed in the films are those whose voices have often been left unheard.

As for the stories still left untold, just wait. A new era of award-winning films is upon us.

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