It’s high time to talk about Black Female Filmmakers. February is designated as Black History month, obviously around here it is Black History everyday. It comes as no surprise to anyone that most often people of color are marginalized and underrepresented, when we talk about women of color the disparity in pay, and in recognition gets even greater.
Black Female Filmmakers : Ava DuVernay
Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard about Ava DuVernay. Known for directing such films as I Will Follow, August 28th, Selma, Middle of Nowhere, and the soon to be released A Wrinkle in Time. The film A Wrinkle in Time makes her the first female director to be given a film with a $100 million dollar budget. A big round of applause to her.
Black Female Filmmakers: Kasi Lemmons
I can’t write about #BlackFemaleFilmmakers without talking about Kasi Lemmons. She was the first black female filmmaker to make a feature length Hollywood film, Eve’s Bayou. In my review of the film, I wrote “Without revealing too many spoilers, you really should seek it out for yourself, if you haven’t seen it already, I will say this… it is a coming of age story, about a liminal time in a young girl’s and the other characters lives.Contact with the dead and spirituality are a recurring theme here too. The film at it’s core centers around the women. There are mothers, wives, aunties, sisters, and let’s not forget the psychics. There are psychics who use Devil’s Shoestring root and foretell the future, a talent which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as most psychics know. Then there is Elzora, the fringe fortune teller, played by Diahann Carroll. With her face covered in white she appears to be almost in the spirit world herself. Elzora and teaches and reinforces the importance of patience, payment and truth. Like many people in the psychic realm, whether she is genuine, or a “horrible old lying witch,” like her character is called, remains to be seen. The main lesson of the film is” be careful what you wish for,” something that can not be repeated enough. When asked which film portrays Voodoo and psychic phenomenon accurately, many cite Eve’s Bayou as one film which gets it pretty correct. ”
Black Female Filmmakers: Julie DashEven before Kasi Lemmons there was Julie Dash. Dash made her film Daughters of the Dust in 1991. With this film Dash created a visual and emotional masterpiece. My post about the film states “This is a beautiful film that deeply moves your spirit and your soul. Daughters of the Dust is a creatively woven cinematic journey that the likes of which have not been duplicated. It definitely makes the top ten list here at Voodoo Universe of must see films about African-American traditional religion. ”
Black Female Filmmakers: Lilith Dorsey
There is one last Black Female Filmmaker, I’d like to draw your attention to and that is me, Lilith Dorsey. Those who are unfamiliar with my background, and may be scratching their heads as to why a Voodoo Priestess is making films, let me say I have been a filmmaker all of my adult life. I did my undergraduate work in film production at a little known school called New York University, and went on to do my graduate work there in their Culture and Media program , which focuses on responsible documentary making. Please take a moment to check out my films, follow my youtube channel, and support Black female filmmakers in whatever way you can. For more information on showing my films at your school or organization please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is obviously only a short list. I’d love to hear about your favorite Black Female Filmmakers in the comments below, if you can add links to their social media, and youtube channels. Please follow me and these women too, maybe together we can all lift each other up. Because if we don’t, who will ?