Filmmaker and Wayne State University Allesee Professor in Residence Julie Dash, director of the classic Daughters of the Dust, the first film by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release in the U.S., will introduce one of the many films from her remarkable career, Funny Valentines (1999), starring Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine and CCH Pounder. The film screening will be followed by a Q&A with Ms. Dash.
This event is free and open to the public, and is presented in partnership with Wayne State University.
About the Filmmaker
Julie Dash is a filmmaker, music video and commercial director, author and multimedia creator. Her landmark first feature — Daughters of the Dust (1991) — was the first film by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release in the U.S., and the Library of Congress named it to the National Film Registry in 2004. Set at the dawn of the 20th century, the film chronicles two pivotal days in the life of the Peazant family, descendants of enslaved Africans, as they prepare to leave their island home off the seacoast of the Southern U.S. and make their journey to the mainland. The emotionally charged drama explores the unique culture and heritage of the Gullah people as it brings to life the conflict and struggles that confront every family leaving their homeland for the promise of a better future.
Dash began her film studies at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1969, receiving her B.A. in film production from the City College of New York in 1974. She went on to become a fellow at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies before earning her M.F.A. in film and television production at UCLA in 1985. In 1977 she made The Diary of an African Nun, a film based on a short story by Alice Walker, which won a student award from the Directors Guild of America. Dash’s critically acclaimed short film Illusions (1982) won the Black Filmmakers Foundation Jury Prize for Best Film of the Decade. Her 2004 short film Brothers of the Borderland is on permanent exhibition at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Her roster of television films includes the romantic thriller Incognito (1999), the domestic drama Funny Valentines (1999), Love Song (2000) featuring R&B singer Monica Arnold, and The Rosa Parks Story (2002), starring Angela Bassett, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She has directed music videos for Tony! Toni! Toné!, Keb’ Mo’, Peabo Bryson, Adriana Evans, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Tracy Chapman. She is slated to direct the feature film Tupelo 77, which is scheduled to begin production in summer 2013.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
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