Ghanaian filmmaker Frances Bodomo‘s lo-fi, sci-fi short, Afronauts, tells the story of a group of Zambian exiles who try to beat America to the moon in 1969. Afronauts was recently screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of the “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1095-2016” exhibit.
Unfortunately, Kathleen Collins passed away quite young in 1988 at the age of 46. However, she left a lasting impression with two films: Losing Ground, an intimate comedy-drama about a philosophy professor and her artist husband who are having a marital crisis, and The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy, an adaptation of a series of short stories by Henry H. Roth about three young Puerto Rican men whose lives are watched over by their father’s ghost.
Julie Dash is best known for her seminal 1991 film, Daughters of the Dust, which follows a family in the Gullah community of South Carolina as they prepare to migrate to mainland America in 1902. Daughters, which also has been restored and redistributed on DVD, was the first film directed by a black woman to be theatrically distributed in the United States. Dash is also a part of the L.A. Rebellion — a collective of radical black filmmakers at UCLA including her, Charles Burnett (The Glass Shield) and Haile Gerima (Sankofa), who worked on each other’s movies and created critically acclaimed work throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s. Her influence can be seen on screens to this day.
Nailah Jefferson‘s 2014 documentary, Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache, was an immersive project that followed the struggles of Gulf Region fisherman trying to recover from the tragic Deepwater Horizon Spill of 2010. A powerful and much-needed exploration of the effects of environmental injustice—especially in light of the ongoing Flint Water Crisis and the #NoDAPL movement being led by Native Americans trying to protect their land.
Toronto native Stella Meghie made a splash in 2016 with her wry comedy, Jean of the Joneses, which followed the ups and downs of the Jones Family after one of their own dies on their doorstep. The film was picked up and later aired on TVOne. Stella also directed the soon-to-be released Everything Everything, an adaptation of the novel about a teenaged girl who is allergic to everything which stars Anika Noni Rose and Amandla Stenberg.