We the Party, opening on April 6th, is an independent film directed and produced by Mario Van Peebles. If that sounds familiar, it's because over the past twenty years, Mario has written, directed, and/or produced (and nearly always acted in) over a dozen independent films and documentaries, in addition to studio and TV gigs.

Where might this intense drive come from? Some would argue that Mario's father, Melvin Van Peebles, invented truly independent cinema with his landmark Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song!, and he certainly reshaped the way Hollywood viewed filmmakers of color. In recognition of We the Party, which features performances from Mario and four of his five children, we take a look back at the impact the Van Peebles clan has had on the movie business.