The first film directed by an African-American woman to be released theatrically didn’t happen until 1991 with Daughters of the Dust directed by JULIE DASH.
Dash was first exposed to cinematography in an after-school program at the Studio Museum in Harlem where she and a friend believed they were enrolling in a class on still photography, not knowing what cinematography was. She went on to study at AFI with cinema legends such as Ingmar Bergman and UCLA at the tail end of the movement that became known as the LA Rebellion. Keep an eye out for Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl coming soon!
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Where to watch her films:
AMAZON (DVDs/BluRays for PURCHASE)
WOMEN MAKE MOVIES FILM CATALOG
Read more about her:
Find her on Twitter
Find her on Facebook
Watch her interview for the 2nd Sex
Julie Dash and the ongoing struggle of black women filmmakers
UCLA – Julie Dash & the LA Rebellion
FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):
When I knew I was going to interview Julie Dash I was incredibly nervous. I had written two papers on her at the Graduate Center and was a big fan of Daughters of the Dust when I was an undergraduate at UCLA. So needless to say I was thrilled at the possibility of speaking with her about her work. My nerves soon dissipated because she was so incredibly kind and charming.
Julie Dash made history in 1991 when she became the first African American woman with a theatrical release of a feature film with Daughters of the Dust. Before that, as a student at UCLA, she was part of a cinema movement now known as the “LA Rebellion.” The Outlaws, as they called themselves, included filmmakers such as Charles Burnett, Larry Clark, Haile Geima, Aile Sharon Larkin, and Barbara McCullough. When I was a student at UCLA I remember being exposed to the films of Charles Burnett and Larry Clark – but it wasn’t until much later that I became aware that Julie Dash was also a part of the group. Through Women Make Movies I was able to acquire a copy of her short film Illusions – and learn even more about the wonderful talents of Julie Dash.
Watch this short video of Julie Dash speaking to me about the LA Rebellion and the opportunities presented by the digital revolution (edited by me and camera by Robert Reber):
For more on Julie Dash:
http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/dashJulie.php (includes a full filmography and books by and about Julie Dash)
For more on the LA Rebellion:
Spirits of Rebellion – a documentary in progress on the LA Rebellion by Zeinabu Irene Davis
SPECIAL THANK YOUS
Kelvin Garvanne and Nanci Isaacs for introducing me to Julie Dash
Dan Watanabe for introducing me to his student Robert Reber who worked the camera during this interview (most interviews I haven’t had the luxury of having someone run camera so needless to say I was very grateful)