Beginnings: Black Female Cinema (1977 – 1981)

First show: May 19

Curated by Semaj for Staff Picks, this exciting 16mm program brings audiences the rarely seen short films of black female luminaries Julie Dash, Fronza Woods & Monona Wali. 

A can’t miss this opportunity to experience revolutionary artists at work — using film to intertwine the political philosophies and visual language of black women’s lives & history. You will be amazed by how groundbreaking these four shorts remain today!

DIARY OF AN AFRICAN NUN – Adapted from a short story by Alice Walker, this early short by Julie Dash anticipates DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST in its intensity, graphic simplicity, and the remarkable, pantomimed performance of star Barbara O. Jones. Directed by Julie Dash. 1977. 13min. 16mm

KILLING TIME – This offbeat, wryly humorous look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going. “…very simply, one of the best short films that I’ve ever seen.” – The New Yorker. Directed by Fronza Woods. 1979. 10min. 16mm

FANNIE’S FILM – A 65-year-old cleaning woman performs her job while in voiceover she tells of her life, hopes, goals, and feelings. A challenge to mainstream media’s ongoing stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seeminglysimple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual. Directed by Fronza Woods. 1979. 15min. 16mm

GREY AREA – Monona Wali’s short film title refers to the spaces of compromise that seemingly have to be made to survive in white society. The film revolves around an African-American woman reporter for a local television station who must compromise her political principles to keep her job, just as a former Black Panther Party member gets out of prison, only to realize that the old comrades in the struggle have moved on with their lives. Directed by Monona Wali with Haskell V. Anderson III, Eve Holloway, Lance E. Nichols. 1981. 40min. 16mm




Beginnings: Black Female Cinema (1977 - 1981): Upcoming Showtimes