Oscars 2017: 10 Black Women Directors To Keep On Your Radar
Filmmaker and writer Nilja Mu’min is currently directing her first feature film, Jinn, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign she launched in 2016. Jinn is a coming-of-age story that follows carefree teenager Summer, who has to confront her life and her identity after her mother converts to Islam.
Nefertite Nguvu‘s 2014 feature film, In The Morning, is a drama about four interconnected New Yorkers contemplating love, loss and friendship over the course of one day. It is beautifully shot (by none other than Arthur Jafa) and the cast features another black woman director, Numa Perrier of Black & Sexy TV.
Los Angeles-based Tchaiko Omawale is currently putting the finishing touches on Solace, a coming-of-age drama about two teenage girls, one of whom has an eating disorder, who bond over shared struggles. Solace, which began as a short film, boasts a stellar cast, including Lynn Whitfield and Glynn Turman.
Euzhan Palcy is a Martinique trailblazer in film who was the first black woman director to have her work produced by a major Hollywood studio. She is also the first black person to win the prestigious César, which is France’s equivalent of the Oscar, for her 1983 film, Sugar Cane Alley. Last, but certainly not least, Euzhan Palcy is the first and only woman to direct Marlon Brando in the anti-Apartheid film, A Dry White Season. Palcy, who still writes, produces and directs her own work, splits time between filmmaking and humanitarian work, and certainly busted down more than a few doors and cracked more than a few glass ceilings for black women directors who have come after her.
Dee Rees is the acclaimed director behind Pariah, a tender coming-of-age film about a black, queer teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality and Bessie, the riveting, Emmy Award-winning biopic about blues legend Bessie Smith, played to the hilt by Queen Latifah. Her next project is Mudbound, an adaptation of the Hillary Jones novel set in post-World War II Mississippi. Netflix acquired it for $12 million.
Danielle A. Scruggs is a Chicago-based photographer and writer who runs the website Black Women Directors and is also the Director of Photography at the Chicago Reader, an award-winning alt-weekly newspaper. Follow her on Twitter at @dascruggs and view her site at daniellescruggs.com.