Daughters of the Dust (1991) - News Poster


Films from Ava DuVernay, Amma Asante, and Julie Dash to Screen at Ebertfest

Asante’s “Belle

Three trailblazing directors are set to attend Ebertfest 2018. Ava DuVernay, Amma Asante, and Julie Dash will be screening films at the fest, a press release has announced. Co-founded by and hosted by Chaz Ebert, the Champaign, Il-based fest, also known as the Roger Ebert Film Festival, is celebrating its 25th year.

Ebertfest’s full slate hasn’t been announced yet, but we know that the program includes DuVernay’s “13th,” an Oscar-nominated doc exploring the relationship between slavery and mass-incarceration, Asante’s “Belle,” an interracial romance set in the 18th century, and Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust,” a drama that follows three generations of Gullah women. The latter marks the first film directed by a black woman to get a wide theatrical release.

“What an honor to have these Three Queens of Cinema grace our festival,” said Ebert. “Ava DuVernay first met Roger outside of the
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Women Take the Spotlight in 2018 Oscar Commercials and Trailers

Issa Rae in Twitter’s #HereWeAre Oscar commercial: Twitter/YouTube

Between Frances McDormand recognizing all the female nominees in her acceptance speech and Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Annabella Sciorra’s Time’s Up moment, gender equality and diversity were major discussion points at the 2018 Oscars ceremony — but they were also felt in the night’s commercials and trailers.

Set to a powerful spoken-word poem and featuring women from all over the world, Twitter’s “#HereWeAre” campaign challenges all women to stand their ground, speak their truth, and destroy the patriarchy. In Nike’s “Until We All Win” commercial, Serena Williams recalls the many reasons why she’s “not the right kind of woman.” Turns out those are the same reasons she’s a champion. Nest’s #MeToo-inspired “Prom Night” spot centers on a teen boy who, just before leaving for the dance, is reminded by his father to treat his date with respect.
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‘A Fantastic Woman’ Director Responds to Janelle Monae’s New Video Resembling His Movie — Exclusive

‘A Fantastic Woman’ Director Responds to Janelle Monae’s New Video Resembling His Movie — Exclusive
The pivotal shot in Oscar-nominated Chilean film “A Fantastic Woman” finds transgender woman Marina (Daniela Vega) sitting nude with her legs slightly propped up and a mirror covering her genitals reflecting her face. It’s a beguiling image that illuminates the movie’s central theme of a woman in tune with her identity and a world at odds with it, and now, the visual has company. Janelle Monaé’s new music video for her single “Django Jane,” one of two tracks recently released from her upcoming album “Dirty Computer,” contains an identical image with the singer doing the same thing.

Both images may owe their existence to an earlier source, Armen Susan Ordjanian’s 1981 photograph, “Self Portrait.” Social media users first picked up on the similarities in the hours after “Django Jane” went online.

“Django Jane” by Janelle Monáe, Dir. Andrew Donoho (2018)

“A Fantastic Woman,” Dir. Sebastian Lelio (2017) pic.twitter.
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Ryan Coogler Shares Five Films That ‘Had a Profound Impact’ on His Life, From ‘Malcolm X’ to ‘Fish Tank’

Ryan Coogler Shares Five Films That ‘Had a Profound Impact’ on His Life, From ‘Malcolm X’ to ‘Fish Tank’
It’s hard to believe “Black Panther” is only the third film Ryan Coogler has ever directed. The 31-year-old wunderkind is on the brink of becoming a bona fide A-lister, as “Black Panther” is poised to break box office records the world over. It wasn’t too long ago, however that Coogler was in film school at USC, making his first shorts and watching Andrea Arnold films.

After an early screening of “Black Panther” this week, Coogler took to the stage at Bam’s Harvey Theater in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. As Coogler answered audience questions, he admitted he was slightly distracted by the sight of his “hero” Spike Lee, who was sitting in the front row. (Lee has lived and worked in Fort Greene for decades.)

When the question of his favorite films came up, Coogler was able to gush further about his hero. Unable to pick just one,
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with six you get linkroll

Anna Biller would like you to stop calling old movies "feminist" because that has specific meaning. It does not just mean 'has great female characters' which many old movies do

• Deadline Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) is working on a biopic about the early life of Rosa Parks

• Av Club Ian McKellen: Playing the Part, is a new documentary out later this year. Apparently it made a festival appearance last year and is planning a unique release of some kind.

• Vulture an interview with the legendary Bernadette Peters. She sounds like a tough woman to interview but somehow her constant reticence about the question and obvious withholding sounds charming rather than nightmarish

• Pride Sasha Lane (American Honey) comes out as gay

• Show-Score I wrote this piece (experimenting with the human interest profile format) about two women who travelled together inspired by the Broadway musical Come From Away. Hope you like.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Julie Dash and Nina Menkes Named First Recipients of Eos World Fund for Women Directors

Dash: MSophia PR

Director and producer Gwen Wynne (“Wild About Harry”) is set to unveil a new funding initiative for female filmmakers. A press release announced that she’s launching the Eos World Fund at Sundance today. The program’s mission is to provide financing and distribution to “a selected group of visionary women and their groundbreaking projects.” Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”) and Nina Menkes (“Phantom Love”) are Eos’ inaugural recipients.

As Wynne, Eos’ CEO and Artistic Director, told Women and Hollywood, the fund gives innovative, diverse female voices a needed platform. “Right now we need bold filmmakers, women of color and all women with alternative points of view, challenging the systems that have developed around the world,” she said.

Dash and Menkes’ Eos funding will go towards their next films. Dash’s “Cypher” is a film noir-thriller hybrid set in 2000. It centers on encryption specialists, hackers, and
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Film News Roundup: Wide Release on Christian Bale’s ‘Hostiles’ Moved Back a Week

Film News Roundup: Wide Release on Christian Bale’s ‘Hostiles’ Moved Back a Week
In today’s film news roundup, the wide release of “Hostiles” moves back a week, “Birthright: A War Story” gets special screenings and Eos World Fund backs projects from Julie Dash and Nina Menkes.

Release Strategy

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures has moved back its wide release on “Hostiles,” starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, from Jan. 19 to Jan. 26.

Distribution chief Mark Borde said that Esmp wants to give itself another week to build strong word of mouth on the historical drama, which opened on Dec. 22 and has grossed $885,341 at 42 locations. It will expand into five additional markets on Jan. 19.

“It’s working very well and we are very pleased with grosses to date,” he added.

The film, directed by Scott Cooper from his own script, had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. Esmp acquired the movie in October from producer Ken Kao’s Waypoint Entertainment.

The film, set
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The Best Sundance Films of All Time — IndieWire Critics Survey

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: With the 2018 Sundance Film Festival gearing up later this week, what is the best movie to ever have its world premiere at the fest?

Read More:Sundance 2018: 21 Must-See Films At This Year’s Festival, From ‘Wildlife’ to ‘Sorry to Bother You’ Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf), Time Out New York

Best movie ever? That’s hard for me to quantify, but I’ll always remember the long, quiet walk I took at 3am, down icy streets, no one in sight, after I’d just been blown away by “The Babadook.” That was one terrifying night. I’d felt like I’d just seen greatness. Jennifer Kent’s movie would colonize my head,
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Ranking the 20 Best Movie Musicals of All Time, From ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ to ‘Lemonade’

  • Indiewire
Ranking the 20 Best Movie Musicals of All Time, From ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ to ‘Lemonade’
The musical often feels like a relic of a long-dead Hollywood studio system, but it remains a genre that captures movies’ ability to create story worlds that move freely between reality and fantasy. The worst examples come from filmmakers who give license to music, color, and movement run amok; the best musicals transcend artifice and integrate songs that become expressions of pure character emotion. It offers endless possibilities, but success demands a complete mastery of the medium.

Very few current stars could learn the choreography of Busby Berkeley, Jerome Robbins, or Bob Fosse, and adapting a medium developed and most suited for the stage requires innovative direction. In translating the joy of a live musical to the magic of cinema, some things are easily lost in the shuffle.

Read More:The 10 Best Cinematographers of 2017, Ranked

From “A Star is Born” to “Singin’ in the Rain,” here are 20 musicals that represent the
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Laura Dern, Julie Dash, & More to Be Honored at Nywift’s Muse Awards

Dern in “Big Little Lies

New York Women in Film & Television (Nywift) is set to honor some of the entertainment industry’s best and brightest. For 38 years, the professional association has presented the Muse Awards annual gala holiday luncheon, a celebration of actors, directors, and other influential women in media.

This year’s awardees include “Big Little Lies” star Laura Dern, “Transparent” actress Judith Light, and Amy Emmerich, Chief Content Officer of Refinery29. “Daughters of the Dust” helmer Julie Dash will receive The Nancy Malone Directing Award, and filmmaker Regina K. Scully, who serves as CEO of the Artemis Rising Foundation, will be honored with the Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award.

Scheduled to take place December 14 in New York City, the Muse Awards is Nywift’s flagship fundraising event. For more information and tickets head over to their website.

Laura Dern, Julie Dash, & More to Be Honored at Nywift’s Muse
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7 Essential Debut Films Directed By Female Filmmakers, From ‘Ratcatcher’ to ‘The Virgin Suicides’

7 Essential Debut Films Directed By Female Filmmakers, From ‘Ratcatcher’ to ‘The Virgin Suicides’
When Greta Gerwig’s already-lauded “Lady Bird” hits limited release later this week, the actress-writer-director will join a long line of other female filmmakers who used their directorial debut (this one is Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, just for clarity’s sake) to not only launch their careers, but make a huge mark while doing it. Gerwig’s Saoirse Ronan-starring coming-of-age tale is an instant classic, and one that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has enjoyed Gerwig’s charming work as a screenwriter in recent years, bolstered by her ear for dialogue and her love of complicated and complex leading ladies.

While Hollywood still lags when it comes to offering up opportunities to its most talented female filmmakers, many of them have overcome the dismal stats to deliver compelling, interesting, and unique first features. In short, they’re good filmmakers who made good movies,
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Julie Taymor To Receive Sdcf’s 2018 Mr. Abbott Award

Taymor: Marco Grob

Julie Taymor is set to add another award to her stacked résumé. The Tony-winning director of “The Lion King” will be honored with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s (Sdcf) 2018 Mr. Abbott Award, BroadwayWorld reports. Named after the late director George Abbott (“The Pajama Game”), the accolade is presented to a director or choreographer who has made “extraordinary contributions” to the profession.

Taymor will take home the award at the Sdcf’s annual gala on April 2, 2018 in New York City.

“I am so pleased that Sdc Foundation is honoring Julie Taymor with this year’s ‘Mr. Abbott’ Award,” said Stage Directors and Choreographers Society prez Pam MacKinnon. “Her inventive, imaginative, and daringly theatrical work across media has inspired and touched generations of artists and audiences. Her legacy continues to be written, and I always look forward to seeing what’s next from this incomparable and history-making artist.”

Abbott’s widow, Joy, recalled, “George and I met Julie about 25 years ago in Philadelphia, and even then he recognized her creative talent, her originality, and vision. I think that George would have been deeply moved to know Julie is being honored with his namesake award. She is truly a renaissance woman of the theater.”

Previous Mr. Abbott honorees include Graciela Daniele (“The Visit”), Agnes De Mille (“Brigadoon”), Lynne Meadow (“Linda”), and Susan Stroman (“The Producers”).

With her “Lion King” win, Taymor made history as the first woman to receive the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. “Grounded,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass” are among her other theater credits. She’s also helmed feature films such as “Frida” and “Across the Universe.” Taymor is currently directing a Broadway revival of “M Butterfly.” Next, she’ll direct the screen adaptation of Gloria Steinem’s memoir, “My Life on the Road.”

Earlier this month Taymor was presented with one of the Trailblazer Awards at Women and Hollywood’s 10th anniversary celebration in New York. She was honored alongside directors Amma Asante (“Belle”) and Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust,” “Queen Sugar”), producer and GameChanger Films president Mynette Louie, and HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins.

Julie Taymor To Receive Sdcf’s 2018 Mr. Abbott Award was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Women and Hollywood Announces 10th Anniversary Trailblazer Award Winners

Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot on the set “Wonder Woman”: Warner Bros. Entertainment and THR

Women and Hollywood is honored to share the recipients of the Trailblazer Awards, which will be given out during our upcoming 10th Anniversary events in New York and Los Angeles.

The New York Trailblazer Awardees are directors Amma Asante (“Belle,” “Where Hands Touch”), Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust,” “Queen Sugar”), and Julie Taymor (“The Lion King,” “Frida”) as well as producer and GameChanger Films president Mynette Louie and HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins. They will be honored October 17 at the Time Warner Center in NYC.

Our Los Angeles Trailblazers include directors Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman,” “Monster”), Haifaa al-Mansour (“Wadjda,” “Mary Shelley”), and Angela Robinson (“Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” “D.E.B.S.”). Director Leah Meyerhoff (“I Believe in Unicorns”) is being honored for founding Film Fatales. Other honorees include the Aclu; Melissa Goodman, Audrey Irmas director of the Lgbtq, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at Aclu of SoCal, and ​Lenora Lapidus, Director of the Women’s Rights Project at the Aclu, will be accepting. And the founder of the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, will also be recognized. They will receive their awards on October 25 at the ArcLight Theatre in Hollywood.

These are women who through their work, their voice, and/or their activism have been a part of raising the level of conversation on gender equality, stepping up the advocacy drumbeat, and paving the way for their female peers and colleagues.

To find out more about the Trailblazers, check out their bios below. And, remember, tickets are still available for our anniversary events in NY on October 17 and in La on October 25.

Amma Asante

Amma Asante, MBE is a multi-award winning writer and director who won a BAFTA for her first film, A Way of Life. This made Asante the first Black female director to win a BAFTA Film Award for writing and directing a film. Her next film, Belle, drew widespread critical acclaim, and saw Asante named one of CNN’s Leading Women of 2014, as well as being named by Variety as one of their 10 Directors to watch. In 2016, her film A United Kingdom was released and its European Premiere saw Asante celebrated as the first Black female director to open the BFI London Film Festival in its 60-year history. This year Asante was named an MBE by Queen Elizabeth on the 2017 Birthday Honour’s list, for services to film as a writer and director. Asante is currently in post-production on her next film, Where Hands Touch. The film, inspired by historical events, is set in 1944 Germany and follows the plight of a young girl of color attempting to survive under Nazi rule.

Julie Dash

Twenty-six years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography) Daughters of the Dust, and she became the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film. In 2004, The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures by the Librarian of Congress. Dash is the only African American woman with a feature film that has been inducted into the National Film Registry. She is the recent recipient of the New York Film Critics Special Award, the 2017 Robert Smalls Merit and Achievement Award, and the Visionary Award from Women in Film, Washington, D.C. Dash is currently a Distinguished Professor of Art at Spelman College. She recently directed multiple episodes of the award-winning dramatic series, Queen Sugar, Season 2, created and produced by Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, for Own Television.

Mynette Louie

Mynette Louie is a New York-based film producer and the president of Gamechanger Films, the first equity fund to exclusively finance narrative features directed by women. Gamechanger’s films include Natalia Garagiola’s Hunting Season (Venice Critics’ Week 2017), Lauren Wolkstein & Christopher Radcliff’s The Strange Ones (SXSW 2017), Sarah Adina Smith’s Buster’s Mal Heart (Tiff 2016), and So Yong Kim’s Lovesong (Sundance 2016, 2017 Independent Spirit Award nominee), among others. Louie won the 2013 Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award and was named one of Ted Hope’s “21 Brave Thinkers of Truly Free Film” and one of Indiewire’s “100 Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter.” She is on the Board of Directors of Film Independent and serves as an advisor to the Sundance Institute, SXSW, Ifp, and A3 Asian American Artists Foundation.

Sheila Nevins

Credit: Brigitte Lacombe

Sheila Nevins is president, HBO Documentary Films, responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries for HBO, HBO2, and Cinemax. As an executive producer or producer, she has received 32 Primetime Emmy Awards, 34 News and Documentary Emmys, and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards. During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentaries have gone on to win 26 Academy Awards, the most recent of which was A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness in 2016. Nevins has been honored with several prestigious career achievement awards including, most recently, the 2009 Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She has supervised the production of more than 1,000 documentary programs for HBO. Nevins is the bestselling author of You Don’t Look Your Age… and Other Fairy Tales, published by Flatiron Books.

Julie Taymor

Credit: Marco Grob

Julie Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, and won a Tony for Best Costumes, for her landmark production of The Lion King. The Lion King has gone on to become the most successful stage musical of all time: 24 global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people. Her credits also include Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Green Bird, and Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass (five Tony nominations). She directed the play Grounded, and completed a cinematic version of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed during the production at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn. Film credits include Titus, Frida, Across the Universe, and The Tempest. Operas include Oedipus Rex, The Flying Dutchman, Salome, The Magic Flute, and Grendel, composed by Elliot Goldenthal. Taymor is a recipient of the 1991 MacArthur Genius Award and a 2015 inductee into the Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement. She is currently in rehearsals for a revival of M Butterfly starring Clive Owen on Broadway.

Melissa Goodman

Melissa Goodman conducts legal and policy advocacy concerning Lgbtq rights, reproductive rights, gender equality, and the rights of people with HIV. Goodman leads the Aclu SoCal’s advocacy to end discrimination against women directors and increase inclusive hiring in Hollywood, to protect the rights of transgender students and adults, to expand access to quality and confidential reproductive healthcare, to increase protections for working parents, to end bias and over-policing and over-incarceration of Lgbtq people, and to improve healthcare for incarcerated women.

​Lenora Lapidus

Lenora Lapidus litigates gender discrimination cases in courts throughout the country, engages in public policy advocacy, and speaks on gender equity issues in the media and to the public. Her work focuses on economic justice, educational equity, ending gender-based violence, and women in the criminal justice system. Along with Melissa Goodman of the Aclu of Southern CA, she urged the Eeoc to investigate the low number of women hired by studios to be directors for film and television. Lapidus has received several fellowships and awards, including 21 Leaders for the 21st Century from Women’s eNews and the Wasserstein Fellowship for outstanding public interest lawyers from Harvard Law School.

Patty Jenkins

Credit: Warner Bros.

Patty Jenkins is a writer and director best known for directing Warner Bros. and DC ComicsWonder Woman, her debut feature Monster, based on the life of convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and helming the pilot episode of AMC’s hit show The Killing. Monster was named by AFI as one of its Ten Best Films of the Year. Jenkins garnered a number of awards and nominations, including winning Best First Feature at the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards. She went on to direct many commercials and TV programs including the pilot and finale episode for AMC’s The Killing, for which she received an Emmy nomination, and won the DGA award for best dramatic directing. Jenkins directed several other pilots and episodes including Fox’s Arrested Development and HBO’s Entourage. She was nominated for an Emmy for a segment of Lifetime’s Five, an anthology about breast cancer.

In 2017, Jenkins broke the record for biggest grossing live-action film directed by a woman, domestic and worldwide, with Wonder Woman. The film simultaneously smashed box office records and received critical acclaim and it has grossed a worldwide total of more than $820 million to date. ​

Haifaa al-Mansour

Haifaa al-Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of its most significant cinematic figures. She studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a Master’s degree in Film Studies from the University of Sydney. The success of her 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows influenced a new wave of Saudi filmmakers and made the issue of opening cinemas in the Kingdom front-page news. At home, her work is both praised and vilified for encouraging discussion on taboo issues and for penetrating the wall of silence surrounding the sequestered lives of Saudi women. Wadjda, al-Mansour’s feature debut, is the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a female director. The film received wide critical acclaim after its premiere at the 2012 Venice Film Festival and established al-Mansour as an important talent emerging from the Arab World. She recently published a novelization of the film titled The Green Bicycle for Penguin publishing group. Her latest film, Mary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning and based on the life of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Leah Meyerhoff

Leah Meyerhoff is an award-winning filmmaker whose debut narrative feature film I Believe in Unicorns was released theatrically in 2015 after premiering at SXSW, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlanta Film Festival and additional awards from Woodstock Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, First Time Fest, Tribeca Film Institute, Ifp, Nyu, and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Meyerhoff is also the founder of Film Fatales, a female filmmaker organization based in New York with dozens of local chapters around the world. Film Fatales is a global community of women feature film and television directors who meet regularly to mentor each other, share resources, collaborate on projects, and build a supportive environment in which to get their films made and seen. Founded in 2013, Film Fatales actively supports over 500 women directors in New York and Los Angeles, and hundreds more in a dozen sister cities across Europe, North America, Australia, and Africa.

Angela Robinson

Angela Robinson is a filmmaker who explores and exposes the breadth and complexity of humanity in an extensive body of work across both film and television. Filtering her storytelling through the multi-faceted prism of identity, Robinson uses the power of her unique voice to intelligently and empathetically bring compelling, intersectional stories — specifically those of women, people of color, and Lgbtq individuals — to the mainstream in a way that is entertaining, emotional, and thought-provoking. Most recently, Robinson wrote and directed Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, the origin story behind one of the world’s most famous superheroes, Wonder Woman.

Moving fluidly between film and television, Robinson has an overall deal with ABC Television Studios and recently served as a Consulting Producer on ABC’s hit series “How to Get Away with Murder.” She is in development on a series exploring the intersecting lives of Golden Age stars Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich.

Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D.

Stacy L. Smith is the Founder and Director of the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative, the leading think tank globally studying issues of inequality in entertainment. Mdsc research focuses on inclusion in film, television, and digital media and all facets of the music industry. Dr. Smith has written over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and reports on media content patterns and effects. She was the principal investigator of the Card report, examining Hollywood’s hiring practices on screen, behind the camera, and in the executive ranks across the major media companies and digital distribution platforms. Dr. Smith speaks routinely on issues of inequality. She has given a Ted Talk and spoken at the United Nations, the White House, Sundance Film Festival, Promax, and Lunafest. Dr. Smith’s work was the basis for the EPiX docuseries, 4%: Film’s Gender Problem.

Women and Hollywood Announces 10th Anniversary Trailblazer Award Winners was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Director Julie Dash on ‘Queen Sugar’ Midseason Premiere and Changing the Hollywood Game (Exclusive)

Director Julie Dash on ‘Queen Sugar’ Midseason Premiere and Changing the Hollywood Game (Exclusive)
Queen Sugar creator Ava DuVernay is changing the Hollywood game by enlisting an all-female team to direct the Own series, making good on the filmmaker’s mission to create opportunities for women of color. For the two-part midseason premiere, she called on director Julie Dash, whose 1991 film about three generations of Gullah women, Daughters of the Dust, was the first feature-length film directed by an African-American woman to receive theatrical distribution in the U.S. -- and later, was heavily referenced in Beyoncé's visual album, Lemonade.

Despite making history in the ‘90s and helming TV movies, like The Rosa Parks Story starring Angela Bassett, this was her first time directing an episodic series. “I didn’t think we’d still be having these conversations in 2017. The conversation did not change until Ava changed it,” Dash tells Et.

The 64-year-old director admits that getting the call from DuVernay was a dream come true, even if it took
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi on Celebrating a “Badass Butch” in “Chavela”

Chavela”: Alicia Perez-­Duarte/Courtesy of Music Box Films

Catherine Gund is an Emmy-nominated producer, director, writer, and activist. Her media work focuses on strategic and sustainable social transformation, arts and culture, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, and the environment. Her films — which include “Dispatches from Cleveland,” “Born to Fly,” and “What’s On Your Plate?” — have screened around the world in festivals, theaters, museums, and schools, and on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the Sundance Channel. She is the Founder and Director of Aubin Pictures.

Daresha Kyi is an award-winning filmmaker and television producer with over 25 years in the business. A graduate of Nyu Film School, she won a full fellowship from TriStar Pictures to attend the Directors Program at The American Film Institute (AFI) based on her multiple award-winning short film “Land Where My Fathers Died,” which she wrote, produced, directed and co-starred in with Isaiah Washington. She recently served as executive producer of the award-winning short “Thugs, The Musical.”

Chavela” opens October 4 in NYC, and October 6 in La and San Francisco.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

CG: Chavela’s voice and her singular magic transcends space and time, wrenching our souls, tapping into our deepest grief, and our most radiant immortalizing love. She was a badass butch who lived for nearly a century, firmly weaving her own story into the ancestral lines of Latin folks, queers, and women from across the generations who are living today.

Dk: “Chavela” is a loving depiction of a badass outsider who dared to stand in her truth at a time when it wasn’t just unpopular, but downright dangerous to be an out, proud lesbian. She sang from the depths of her soul and moved audiences to tears with the raw power of her emotions. This trailblazing rebel defied the social norms and lived life as if it were a rollercoaster ride — soaring to great heights, and plunging into profound chasms — and turned it all into art.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

CG: When my best friend, who was Chicano, died of AIDS in 1990, I fled to Mexico and was introduced to Chavela Vargas’ songs by my new friends who revered her. They saw my video camera, my constant companion, as I captured her concerts in a small hall, and they were determined to interview her.

She invited us to her home in Ahuatepec. The resulting footage sat in my closet in a box for over 20 years. I realize now that Chavela had to finish writing her story so that this film could tell it.

Her music moved me in 1991 and her music moves me today. But her soul and her choices in life are what truly rattle my core, reminding me constantly to live my one life as honestly and fiercely as I possibly can.

Dk: I love stories about underdogs who triumph against all odds. Chavela started her career as a homeless runaway who sang on the streets of Mexico City to survive and went on to win a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, sell out Carnegie Hall, and serve as a muse to Pedro Almodóvar. It doesn’t get more inspiring than that!

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

CG: I want people to feel love, honestly. I want them to feel like difference is positive, enriching, and generative. I want them to believe in themselves and all of those around them. I want them to know that we each have something to contribute.

Chavela motivates those of us who discover her to fuel our own desires, to transform ourselves into our most honest, brave, and emotional selves.

I want viewers to choose Chavela’s songs when they’re picking the soundtrack of their lives because she transcends and creates empathy, and there will only be justice when there is empathy.

Dk: I hope people walk away knowing that it’s never too late to achieve their dreams and that they feel inspired to stand even more firmly in their individual truths, whatever they may be.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

CG: There was so little that got in our way. Chavela blessed this project from day one, 26 years ago. I believe Chavela felt comfortable, different, and engaged by the circle of young lesbians who carried on that conversation with her while I filmed in 1991. She had a reputation for being blunt and cranky, but to us, she expressed her magic, her spirituality, her truth as she spoke about feminism, identity, aging, and love.

Her generosity, brilliance, and candor stuck with me through to the end of the filmmaking process. In fact, I feel like she kept appearing: guiding, sometimes dictating, laughing, promising, consoling, saving me again and again. Full gratitude and recognition to Chavela for making this film with me!

Dk: In terms of the creative process, Chavela lived such a full, fascinating life and accomplished so much that it was challenging to decide which aspects of her story should be left out of the film. For example, we were convinced from the very beginning that her participation in the movie “Frida” with Salma Hayek would be a crucial element in the film, but we wound up discarding it completely.

This process of “killing our babies” was sometimes painful, but since the film is 90 minutes long and Chavela lived to be 93 years old there was no way we could focus on every aspect of her life. Once we decided to make a 12-year jump from her triumph at Bellas Artes in Mexico to her being confined to a wheelchair, it made the entire process easier. In hindsight I think it was a wise choice because by that time we had firmly established how solitary and fiercely independent she was which made the impact of her forced immobility even stronger for our viewers.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

CG: I wish there were a more promising answer, a more sustainable road towards making docs that matter, but as usual, we ground out the foundation with grant applications. We received grants from, among others, the Nea, Women and Film, and Frameline.

We also were blessed with angels early on, executive producers Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. Their seed investment was pivotal. We have co-producers and individual donors.

We opted not to do Kickstarter this time — although I did that for “Born to Fly” — because although it was excellent for community building, the funding-to-time ratio was out of balance.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Dk: The best feedback we received came from our composer, Gil Talmi, who saw an early rough cut and said that he was moved by the way we presented the light and dark aspects of Chavela’s persona and story without judgment. Those words solidified something we’d be striving to do somewhat unconsciously and became a guiding principle.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

CG: Find a nugget that you don’t totally understand. Let the tiny fascination grow with your work and your collaborations. Discover something new so that you can share the power of revelation with your viewers. If it doesn’t interest you, it won’t interest anyone else either. Stick with it.

Find mentors. Work with people who’ve done the work before and never stop yourself from imagining bigger than they do. Without the confines of convention and tradition and reality, your vision will be creative and persistent and beautiful.

If you find any old footage pre-2000, anything shot before we all carried video cameras in our pockets, see what you can do with it — where you can take it, and where it can take you. Cinema is not a very old art form in the scheme of things and there is so much left to be made of it, in form and structure, but also in terms of content and understanding the power of the image and the power of representation.

Dk: Trust your instincts and surround yourself with people with similar aesthetic sensibilities who understand and support your vision. Also, hire as many women as possible! We have to support each other in this male-dominated industry.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

CG: My favorite woman-directed film is still Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust,” because she invented a form. With that film, Julie generously released into the film world her creativity and vision. She moved us further away from enumeration of dominant facts or chronology and towards a magical dimension where we are all freer to participate, understand, communicate, and revel in our humanity.

Dk: I love different films for different reasons and find it almost impossible to narrow it down to just one! However, there are two films that stand out in my memory, Mira Nair’s “Kama Sutra,” which I loved for the depth of sensuality it captures and Kasi Lemmon’s “Eve’s Bayou,” whose mystical portrayal of a section of black life that is rarely seen I found very inspiring.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

CG: “Daughters of the Dust” was the very first film directed by an African American woman to be inducted into the National Film Registry — and that was not until 2003. Fewer than six percent of the films in the Registry are by women.

We need to stop worrying about playing by the rules and nurture women through every step of being able to tell our own stories. When women tell our stories, when we express our truths, the world will break open. We’re not there yet, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

Dk: As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” It is up to women to drive the change we need within the industry. As they climb the ladder of success, women in positions of power simply must bring other women along for the journey by mentoring and — even more importantly — employing them.

I am particularly inspired by women like Ava DuVernay, who seems hell-bent on creating as many opportunities for other women directors as possible. In the fight for equal representation and equal pay we must agitate, agitate, agitate!


Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi on Celebrating a “Badass Butch” in “Chavela” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Tribeca’s First-Ever TV Festival Reflected Changing Tides for Women in TV

Queen Sugar”: Own

At least some women directors working on the small screen have packed slates. That good news came out at Tribeca’s first-ever, TV-only festival that ran from September 22–24 in New York City. Kyra Sedgwick, whose new ABC series “Ten Days in the Valley” had its premiere at the fest, told the audience that the opportunity to work with women drew her to the project, created by Tassie Cameron and executive produced by Marcy Ross, Jill Littmann, and Sedgwick. Having women directors on board was very important to her, too.

“When you hear the numbers [of female directors], you can’t help but feel responsible,” said Sedgwick. “The statistics are staggering and depressing. You need to make choices based on that knowledge.” So she and her creative team reached out to female directors, only to discover that they could not get as many as they wanted because the female directors they knew were all booked up. Four of the ten episodes ended up being directed by women, far better than the industry average.

A similar point was made about Own’s hit series “Queen Sugar,” which had its mid-season premiere at the festival. Creator Ava DuVernay, along with fellow executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Monica Macer, committed from the outset to hire only female directors for the family drama. Though none of the seven directors DuVernay hired for Season 1 had the opportunity to direct for television before, an Own-tc spokesperson reported that all of them went on to direct episodes of other TV series following their gigs on “Queen Sugar.” That opened up the opportunity for eight new directors to come on board for Season 2 (along with “Daughters of the Dust” director Julie Dash and returning director Kat Candler, for four episodes), which had been DuVernay’s goal all along. “We always committed to a whole new slate of directors in Season 2,” DuVernay wrote in an email. “But it’s also true that all the Season 1 directors are very busy.”

The screening of “Queen Sugar” was packed. The saga of the Bordelon siblings — uber businesswoman Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), prickly investigative reporter Nova (Rutina Wesley), and new parolee Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) — as they carry on the legacy of managing their family’s Louisiana sugar plantation addresses pressing contemporary issues including police brutality, sexual assault, and Southern racism.

Asked in the panel discussion what it’s like to work with all female directors, Wesley said that women bring a special sensitivity, but added that should not imply weakness. “These women directors are fierce, they know how to run a set, too,” she emphasized. For Gardner, “It does something immediate, something physical to your system. It changes the game, creates an inclusive environment so that people open to ideas differently, listening differently, not assuming. It’s not a frat boy environment.”

“I don’t even remember how it feels to be directed by a man,” Siriboe admitted. “With women,” he said, “there’s meticulousness, an emotional resonance; they understand. And they want to talk about it — they want to get into the details, [and] want to make sure you’re good. It feels like a relationship.” Noting that he’s worked on 29 episodes so far, Siriboe added, “I feel like I’ve had 29 relationships.”

A fraught mother-daughter relationship figures prominently in “Queen Sugar’s” new season, as Charley’s mother, who we’ve heard about a lot about — and not in a good way — finally appears. Turns out, she’s white. The portrayal of their relationship is powerful not only for Charley, but for Gardner as well. “I’m biracial,” Gardner told the audience. “There’s an assumption about biracial and multiracial folks since Obama, that we’re all fine.” But growing up biracial wasn’t “all fine” for Charley or for Gardner. “It was a complicated experience around belonging, feeling apart from, [and] othered within your own family, and doing what you can to integrate yourself and reconcile yourself and being completely alone in that, even with your mother,” she revealed. For Gardner, “bringing that part of Charley’s story to the fore, it felt very, very vulnerable.”

A mother-daughter relationship also figures into the gripping, fast-moving thriller “Ten Days in the Valley.” The idea for the show about a driven TV producer and single mom Jane Sadler came out of creator Cameron’s recurring nightmare. In her dream, she would be working in her writing shed while her daughter was asleep — which Cameron assured us, she never, ever does when her daughter is asleep — and when she came back into the house, she’d have to get through a locked door and her daughter would be gone. That’s exactly what happens to Jane.

In the panel discussion, focus went to Jane’s moral character (she’s not averse to snorting some coke), especially as a mother. “I had to go through a lot of soul searching to write a character this complicated,” said Cameron, who found herself judging the character and herself. “It’s easy to write a male character with all of these flaws,” Cameron observed, “but it’s harder even for women to write women this way.” The other panelists defended flawed female characters like Jane, especially the tendency to judge a woman by her parenting skills. “Did we ever ask if [“Breaking Bad’s”] Walter White was a good father?” asked Sedgwick.

TruTV’s “At Home with Amy Sedaris” also screened at the fest. The series sees the “Strangers with Candy” actress playing different characters and showing off her wildly variable talents — like making “potato ships” out of paper, glue, sour cream, and potatoes — and entertaining guests, including Paul Giamatti, Jane Krakowski, and Justin Theroux. Think of it as a how-to, hospitality, cooking, and crafts show with what co-creator Sedaris described as a “Lawrence Welk-feel.”

An international perspective was represented in the Vr premiere of “Look But with Love,” a five-part documentary live-action series created by two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Tribeca made two episodes — both about women working for change in Pakistan — available. Tazzy Phe, one of three YouTube “Creators of Change” whose work was shown at the festival, also brought an international focus in her clever visual essay chronicling her journey to make peace with being a Muslim living in America and an American-Muslim visiting Pakistan.

As for how participants in this weekend festival felt about playing roles in the second — and more inclusive — Golden Age of television, the question was put most pointedly by an audience member during the “Queen Sugar” panel. “This is a very important show,” she said. “How does it feel to be a part of this revolution in TV with women and people of color, bringing fullness and realness to the screen?”

Gardner responded, “As an actor you yearn to see yourself, to have an opportunity to speak to your experience, your family’s experience, your neighborhood’s experience…to shine a light on what you find unendingly beautiful and dimensional…You miss it for so long, you’re hungry for it for so long, it’s almost a shocking experience [when you finally have it].” She added, “Thank you Ava, thank you Oprah …They are absolutely revolutionizing an industry, with no apology.”

Tribeca’s First-Ever TV Festival Reflected Changing Tides for Women in TV was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

They'll be back: are reissues of familiar favourites crowding out hard-to-find classics?

Terminator 2, Dirty Dancing and The Silence of the Lambs are all set for cinema runs – but are brilliant older films in danger of permanent eclipse?

The Terminator dies. Baby pulls off a perfect 10 lift. Hannibal Lecter escapes (albeit wearing a giveaway wig that screams psychopath-on-the-lam). No spoiler alerts are necessary for the endings of Terminator 2, Dirty Dancing or The Silence of the Lambs. You’ve either seen them umpteen times already or you know them by osmosis, from the memes and the YouTube clips. I’m sure even Jacob Rees-Mogg can do a fair to middling “Hasta la vista, baby”. So why is this trio of old faves getting cinema comebacks in 2017?

Rereleases have always been a fixture on the calendar. They give audiences the chance to see gold-plated masterpieces back on the big screen where they belong. As a teenager, I watched my dad’s VHS tape of The Shining
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Julie Dash to Direct Biopic of Rosa Parks

Parks: Usia / National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group/ Ebony Magazine/ Wikimedia Commons

Writer-director Julie Dash made history with 1991’s “Daughters of the Dust,” the first feature directed by an African-American woman to be distributed theatrically in the U.S. Now she’s turning her camera on another trailblazing woman of color. Deadline reports that Dash has inked a deal to direct an upcoming biopic about civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who died in 2005. Production is expected to kick off in 2018.

Hailing from Invisible Pictures and Audrey Rosenberg (“I Am Not Your Negro”), the project takes place during the decade before her famous moment refusing to move on a Montgomery bus, when she “sought justice for 24-year-old wife and mother Recy Taylor, who was brutally gang-raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944,” the source summarizes. (Nancy Buirski’s new doc about the case and its legacy, “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” is making its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 1.)

The Parks film is based on Danielle McGuire’s award-winning 2010 nonfiction book “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance — A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power.” Lisa Jones (“Disappearing Acts”) penned the screenplay.

Dash previously helmed a 2002 CBS TV movie about Parks starring Angela Bassett, “The Rosa Parks Story.”

“I jumped at the opportunity to dive head first back into the Rosa Parks story,” Dash told Deadline. “Doing the CBS movie, I realized that there was so much more to her life, legacy, and her activism that we didn’t have time in one [movie]. It was fascinating and just as dramatic as the Montgomery bus boycott, which is what she’s known for, but there is so much more.”

“Per Dash, the film will not only center on Parks’ efforts, but also the many other female activists who banded together to defend Taylor and demand justice for the crime (the perpetrators were never arrested, and Taylor’s case was dismissed),” the source writes.

“This is a great opportunity to revisit Jo Anne Robinson, Claudette Colvin, Recy Taylor, all the people who never really make it into ‘The Rosa Parks Story,’” Dash observed. “It’s an ensemble cast of feisty activists who changed the course of history” and laid the foundation for future civil rights demonstrations.

Dash also emphasized the significance of perspective in telling stories — that it matters who steps behind the camera to depict these events. “It’s important that black women, who know these stories and have intimate knowledge, that we tell these stories in the manner that they were meant to be told… It’s time to see theses stories in a new light and through a female lens.”

The “Queen Sugar” director added, “One of the reasons this story is being told is so that people can connect the dots and see that there’s a continuum. Maybe it’s not the back of the bus, but the hypocrisy is the same, the racism is the same, the systemic oppression is the same, and the rape cases are absolutely the same.” She hopes that audiences will be inspired “with what has been accomplished in the past” and inspired to “understand the bigger picture.” “There so many things that are happening today that run parallel,” she observed.

Dash was honored at last year’s Mill Valley Film Festival. She was the recipient of a Tribute program, which featured an onstage conversation with Dash, a clip reel of her work, and a screening of a restored version of “Daughters of the Dust.”

Julie Dash to Direct Biopic of Rosa Parks was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

7 Movies That Donald Trump Should Be Forced to Watch — IndieWire Critics Survey

7 Movies That Donald Trump Should Be Forced to Watch — IndieWire Critics Survey
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: If you could force Donald J. Trump to watch one movie for any reason (whether to educate him, torture him, amuse him, etc.), what would it be and why?

Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly), Film Journal, Film School Rejects

Can you really educate Trump through cinema? I think not. Put this year’s devastating trio of Syrian documentaries in front of him, and he’d say, “those people, including children, get what they deserve.” Make him watch a climate change film, and he’d call it fake news. For crying out loud, expose his eyeballs to “Finding Dory” and he’d probably mock poor Dory
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New to Streaming: ‘T2: Trainspotting, Bong Joon Ho, ‘Mimosas,’ ‘Daughters of the Dust,’ and More

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash)

That there’s a fair chance you’ve never seen Daughters of the Dust — full disclosure: I am among these people — should be taken as a failure of distribution and exposure, not the film’s quality and impact. There’s also a fair chance that the closest you’ve really come to Julie Dash‘s 1991 film is Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which paid a direct visual tribute that,
See full article at The Film Stage »
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