Bite-sized blog post: Barbara Stepansky

Barbara Stepansky

BARBARA STEPANSKY received a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. She has studied filmmaking at UCLA, USC and AFI.

Her first feature film Hurt (2009) was a thriller released on DVD by Monterey Media.

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Where to watch her films:



Read more about her:


Her Website
Find her on Twitter
Find her on Facebook
PODCAST Interview – Chicks Who Script
Master Class Alumni Barbara Stepansky Becomes a Nicholl Fellow!
Are You Kidding Me Right Now? Woman Didn’t Get Job Because “Lead Actor Hates Female Directors”
Barbara Stepanksy To Direct Thriller 6 FIGURES

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2014/ISubstance (Short)
 2013/VIFirst Date (Short)
 2012Awkward Sunrise (TV Series short)
 2011My Own Private Demon (Short)
 2011I Hate L.A. (segment “Downtown”)
 2011Assassins (TV Series)
 2010/IRoad Rage (Short)
 2006Die trojanische Kuh (Short)
 2002Vacation (Short)
 2000Blueberry Pancakes (Short)

Bite-sized blog post: Grace Lee

Grace Lee

GRACE LEE directs both documentaries and narrative fiction films. She started out as a journalist before deciding to share stories via film.

Lee then attended UCLA to study film. She is  a 2016 Sundance Institute Women’s Initiative fellow.

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Where to watch her films:





Find her on Twitter
Find her on Facebook
Her Website
American Revolutionary Website

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2015Off the Menu: Asian America (Documentary)
 2014Makers: Women in Politics (Documentary)
 2014P.O.V. (TV Series documentary) (1 episode)
 2005The Grace Lee Project (Documentary)
 2004Best of the Wurst (Documentary short)
 2002Barrier Device (Short)
 2000/IIThe Ride Home (Short)
 2000Girl Meets Boy (Short)

Bite-sized blog post: Zeinabu Irene Davis

Zeinabu Irene Davis

ZEINABU IRENE DAVIS teaches film at UC San Diego and can boast an eclectic range of films, having made narrative, experimental and documentary.

Her most recent feature is a documentary about the UCLA film movement now known as the LA Rebellion (the group included filmmaker Julie Dash) – Spirits of Rebellion: Black Film at UCLA (2011).

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Where to watch her films:



Read more about her:


Find her on Twitter
Find her on Facebook
Spirits of Rebellion website
Black Silence: Films By Zeinabu irene Davis and Charles Lane
Indiana University
UC San Diego

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2009Passengers (Video short)
 1995Mother of the River (Short)
 1990Kneegrays in Russia (Video short documentary)
 1989Cycles (Short)
 1989Trumpetistically, Clora Bryant (Video short)
 1986Crocodile Conspiracy (Short)
 1983Re-creating Black Women’s Media Image (Documentary short)

Bite-sized blog post: Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen

DEBBIE ALLEN, a well-known dancer and choreographer, began directing regularly for television when starring in the series Fame in the eighties.

She continues to direct for television and the stage.

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Where to watch her films:



Read more about her:


Find her on Facebook
Find her on Twitter
Debbie Allen Dance Academy Website
Debbie Allen To Serve As Executive Producer/Director On ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2015Survivor’s Remorse (TV Series) (1 episode)

Guts (2015)

 2014-2015Jane the Virgin (TV Series) (2 episodes)

Chapter Twenty (2015)
Chapter Four (2014)

 2014-2015Scandal (TV Series) (3 episodes)

Flesh and Blood (2014)

 2015Empire (TV Series) (1 episode)

Who I Am (2015)

 2014How to Get Away with Murder (TV Series) (1 episode)

He Has a Wife (2014)

 2014Witches of East End (TV Series) (1 episode)

Boogie Knight (2014)

 2013Let’s Stay Together (TV Series) (3 episodes)

The Other Doctor (2013)

 2013Army Wives (TV Series) (1 episode)

 2013The Client List (TV Series) (1 episode)

 2010-2011Hellcats (TV Series) (2 episodes)

Pledging My Love (2010)

 2009-2010My Parents, My Sister & Me (TV Series) (3 episodes)

Starting Over (2009)

 2008The Game (TV Series) (1 episode)

Oh, What a Night (2008)

 2005-2008Girlfriends (TV Series) (9 episodes)

Adapt to Adopt (2008)
Baghdad, My Bad (2007)

 2003-2007All of Us (TV Series) (44 episodes)

 2006I Was a Network Star (TV Movie documentary)

 2004-2006That’s So Raven (TV Series) (5 episodes)

Be Prepared (2006)
The Four Aces (2006)
A Goat’s Tale (2004)

 2003The Parkers (TV Series) (1 episode)

 2003The Twilight Zone (TV Series) (1 episode)

 2002Cool Women (TV Series documentary) (1 episode)

 2001PBS Hollywood Presents (TV Series) (1 episode)

The Old Settler (2001)
 2001The Old Settler (TV Movie)
 1998Linc’s (TV Series)

 1997-1998The Jamie Foxx Show (TV Series) (2 episodes)

 1997Between Brothers (TV Series) (1 episode)

The Big Three-Oh (1997)

 1988-1993A Different World (TV Series) (83 episodes)

College Kid (1993)
 1993Sinbad: Afros and Bellbottoms (TV Special documentary)
 1992The Boys (TV Movie)
 1992Stompin’ at the Savoy (TV Movie)
 1990Polly: Comin’ Home! (TV Movie)

 1990The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (TV Series) (2 episodes)

 1989Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (TV Series) (1 episode)

Polly (1989)
 1989The Debbie Allen Special (TV Movie)

 1987-1988Family Ties (TV Series) (2 episodes)

Higher Love (1987)

 1984-1987Fame (TV Series) (11 episodes)

Stagefright (1986)
The Inheritance (1986)

 1987The Bronx Zoo (TV Series) (1 episode)

Lost and Found (1987)

Bite-sized blog post: Anita W. Addison

Anita W. Addison

One of the first African American women to hold a senior producer position at a major television network ANITA W. ADDISON directed television for major television shows in the eighties and nineties.

Before taking on the network career she took film classes at NYU and attended UCLA at night in order to get her Masters – after she obtained a Masters in journalism from Columbia and analyzed data for Nielsen ratings for a small independent station. Her short film Savannah was nominated for an Academy Award in 1984.

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Where to watch her films:




Read more about her:

L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema by Allyson Field

Encyclopedia of Film and Television Directors by JerryRoberts


Los Angeles Times obituary

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2004Copshop (TV Movie) (segment “Blind Date”)
 2000Judging Amy (TV Series) (1 episode)
Zero to Sixty (2000) … (as Anita Addison)
 1999Deep in My Heart (TV Movie)
 1997EZ Streets (TV Series) (1 episode)
One Acquainted with the Night (1997)
 1995The Great Defender (TV Series) (1 episode)
Camille (1995)
 1995ER (TV Series) (1 episode)
 1993Sirens (TV Series)
 1991-1992Quantum Leap (TV Series) (2 episodes)
Ghost Ship – August 13, 1956 (1992) … (as Anita Addison)
Dreams – February 28, 1979 (1991) … (as Anita Addison)
 1992Homefront (TV Series) (1 episode)
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles (1992) … (as Anita Addison)
 1991Sisters (TV Series) (1 episode)
Some Tuesday in July (1991) … (as Anita Addison)
 1990-1991Knots Landing (TV Series) (2 episodes)
My Bullet (1990)
 1990Freddy’s Nightmares (TV Series) (1 episode)
Life Sentence (1990) … (as Anita Addison)

Bite-sized blog post: Catherine Hardwicke


Director CATHERINE HARDWICKE on the set of the motion picture TWILIGHT. Photo by Deana Newcomb, Summit Entertainment (Via MerlinFTP Drop)

CATHERINE HARDWICKE was the first woman to launch a billion dollar movie franchise when she directed Twilight, the first in the series of mega-successful films based on the book series about teenage vampires and werewolves. All sequels of the series have been directed by men.

Hardwicke began her career as a production designer where no doubt skills gained from her degree in architecture gave her insight that she was able to utilize when attending film school at UCLA and entering the professional arena. She continues to direct films and television.

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Find her on Facebook
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Catherine Hardwicke’s Website
Catherine Hardwicke: Despite ‘Twilight’ Success, It Hasn’t Been an Easy Road
The Hard Lessons Catherine Hardwicke Learned From “Twilight”

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2015Til It Happens to You (Short)
 2015Eye Candy (TV Series) (1 episode)
 2014We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss (Documentary)
 2014Reckless (TV Series) (1 episode)
Pilot (2014)
 2013Low Winter Sun (TV Series) (1 episode)
There Was a Girl (2013)
 2012Hell on Wheels (TV Series) (1 episode)
Scabs (2012)

Bite-sized blog post: Nina Menkes

Nina Menkes

NINA MENKES studied film at UCLA where she first began collaborating with her sister Tinka Menkes who served as her actress and muse on several projects. As a director she has worked in all areas of production, writing, editing, working camera and sound on her projects.

Menkes’ films have been known to challenge the viewer (especially the male viewer) nonetheless films including Phantom Love (2007), The Bloody Child (1996) and Queen of Diamonds (1991)  have found a home at mainstream festivals such as Sundance because of their boldness and craft. Sundance also embraced her New Media project The Crazy Female Bloody Center (2000).

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Where to watch her films:





Read more about her:

Find her on Twitter
Nina Menkes Website
A Cinematic Sorceress of the Self
Fandor’s Fix gives female directors a vital platform
Director Nina Menkes on Knowledge, Film and Faith

FILMOGRAPHY (from imdb):

 2005Massacre (Documentary) (co-director)
 1983The Great Sadness of Zohara (Short documentary)

Julie Dash & The LA Rebellion


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: (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 

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)