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Robert Gordon

Jamaa Fanaka dies at 69; dynamic black filmmaker

Jamaa Fanaka dies at 69; dynamic black filmmaker

Jamaa Fanaka, who emerged as a dynamic black filmmaker with his gritty independent 1979 film "Penitentiary" and later made headlines with his legal battles alleging widespread discrimination against women and ethnic minorities in the film and television industry, has died. He was 69. Fanaka was found dead in his apartment in South Los Angeles on Sunday, said his daughter Tracey L. Gordon. The cause of death has not been determined, but she said it probably was the result of complications of diabetes. The Mississippi-born Fanaka was still enrolled in the UCLA film school when he wrote, produced and directed his first three feature films, financed with competitive academic grants...

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