ALBERT & ALLEN HUGHES
Date of Birth: April 1, 1972
These twin brothers born from an African American father and a white mother, hail from Detroit. By the time they reached 12 years of age, their family had moved to California, where the boys were first introduced to filmmaking when their mother lent them a video camera. Instead of returning it, the two spent much of their spare time making their own short movies.
Formal film education began during their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. The two, encouraged by their teacher to make a 'How To' film, made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar, and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored Videos was broadcast on cable, introducing them to a wider audience. The duo obtained an agent and subsequently found themselves directing music videos for such rap artists as Tupac Shakur, Tone-Loc and Digital Underground.
In the early '90s they raised over $2.5 million to make their first feature film, Menace II Society, which made its world premiere at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. Set in the grim surroundings of South Central Los Angeles, the film focuses on a young street hustler attempting to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life. The gritty, yet poetic contemporary gangster film went on to earn both respectful reviews and nearly $30 million in domestic box-office receipts. In addition, it was chosen as one of the 10 best films of the year by several major critics across the country, and received Best Picture honors at the 1994 MTV Movie Awards. Following the success of Menace, they set up Underworld Records, their own rap/rhythm & blues label, at Capitol Records.
Two years later they released their second feature, the early 1970s-set Dead Presidents. The film, which was not well received by box office or critics, focused on the traumas faced by African American veterans returning home from Vietnam.
To finish off the '90s, the Hughes brothers completed the feature-length documentary American Pimp, which examines the men behind the world's oldest profession. This was immediately followed by the Jack the Ripper biopic, From Hell, which marked their first for the 21st century. The film takes place in the 1880's England and is based on an investigation into the murders, and their alleged link to the Royal family.
Both Allen and Albert reside in Los Angeles.
Filmography:The Book of Eli