Hudlin Entertainment

8 essential projects by St. Louis International Film Festival honoree Reginald Hudlin

Kevin C. Johnson | St. Louis Dispatch

St. Louis International Film Festival closes out its annual event with a celebration Nov. 19 at the Hi-Pointe Theatre. A Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to veteran Hollywood figure and East St. Louis native Reginald Hudlin.

Cinema St. Louis executive director Bree Maniscalco and Hudlin’s longtime friend Lyah LeFlore-Ituen present the award, and I will sit with Hudlin for a live conversation about his noteworthy career. 

Director, producer and writer Hudlin, the first Black executive producer of the Emmys as well as a co-producer of the Academy Awards in 2016, first made his mark in the industry producing music videos and making short films in the 1980s.

Hudlin made his directorial debut with “House Party” (1990) and has been busy ever since, from “Boomerang” to “Django Unchained,” “The Great White Hype” to “The Ladies Man,” “Bebe’s Kids” to “The Black Godfather.”

His latest movie “Candy Cane Lane,” starring Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross, is his first Christmas flick, streaming Dec. 1 on Prime Video.

Here, we spotlight 8 essential Hudlin projects.

Kid 'n Play in "House Party"
Courtesy of St. Louis International Film Festival
Kid ‘n Play in “House Party” | Courtesy of St. Louis International Film Festival

“House Party”

1990, director, writer

Hudlin scored big with his directorial debut, a cult classic with rap duo Kid ‘n Play at the center of a wild high school house party. The Library of Congress added “House Party” to its National Film Registry in 2022, the same year a reboot of the movie was released.

Watch “House Party” on Pluto TV, Prime Video.


1992, director

Hudlin ventured into adult rom-com fare with “Boomerang,” starring Eddie Murphy as a successful playboy who meets his match in a woman portrayed by Robin Givens, while later finding happiness with his true love played by Halle Berry. The movie was rebooted as a TV series on BET, which ran a couple of seasons beginning in 2019.

Watch “Boomerang” on Prime Video.

“Bebe’s Kids”

1992, writer, producer

Forever etched in urban lingo is the term “Bebe’s Kids,” used to describe a group of really bad young children. The term was taken from Hudlin’s animated movie “Bebe’s Kids” about a man voiced by comedian Robin Harris charged with watching a group of unruly children during an amusement park outing.

Watch it on Prime Video, Pluto TV.

Tim Meadows in “The Ladies Man” (2000). Handout

“The Ladies Man”

2000, director

Hudson successfully took a “Saturday Night Live” skit, not an easy thing to do, and fleshed it out to full-length feature with “The Ladies Man” starring Tim Meadows.

Watch it on Prime Video.

“Django Unchained”

2012, co-producer

Hudlin co-produced this epic, gloriously violent Oscar-nominated western directed by Quentin Tarantino about a freed slave out to rescue his wife from a plantation owner starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.

Chadwick Boseman (left) and Sterling K. Brown in “Marshall” | Courtesy of Open Road Films


2017, director, producer

Boasting a cast that included Chadwick Boseman, St. Louis native Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson and Josh Gad, “Marshall” looked at an early career chapter of historic figure Thurgood Marshall, the State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell, before he’d go on to become the first Black Supreme Court Justice.

Watch it on Netflix and Prime Video.

Guy Torry in “Phat Tuesdays” | Courtesy of Amazon Studios

“Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy”

2022, director, producer

“Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy” is a three-part docuseries detailing Phat Tuesdays, which was a night giving new opportunities to Black comics at the famed Comedy Store in Los Angeles from 1995 to 2005. St. Louis native Guy Torry created and hosted Phat Tuesdays, which helped change the culture of comedy.

Watch it on Prime Video.


2022, director, producer

Teaming up with producer Oprah Winfrey, Hudlin presented a touching tribute honoring the life and legacy of the Oscar-winning Sidney Poitier, one of the greatest actors to ever live. Among the A-list participants in the documentary are Robert Redford, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Morgan Freeman, Halle Berry, Lou Gossett Jr., Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand and most notably Poitier himself.

Watch it on Apple TV+.

The closing night event also features SLIFF’s juried-competition awards, music from Trackstar the DJ and more.

What St. Louis International Film Festival’s Closing Night Awards Presentation • When 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 • Where Hi-Pointe Theatre, 1005 McCausland Avenue • How much $5 • More info