October 16, 2006

Tahmineh Milani

Tahmineh Milani is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and producer. She was born in 1960 in Tabriz, Iran. She is arguably the best known female Iranian fimaker. In August 2001, she was imprisoned for her film The Hidden Half. She was accused of "supporting those waging war against God" and "misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armed opposition groups" even though her film had already received the necessary approval of the Ministry of Cultural Guidance. She continues to make films and defend her choices in those films.

She has multiple awards including;
Grand Prix for Best Film, Geneva Film Festival, 2003
Audience Award, 14th Annual Festival of Films from Iran, Chicago, 2003
Cairo International Film Festival, 2003
Festival of Films from Iran, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2003

Films she has directored include:
Children of Divorce 1989
The Legend of a Sigh 1991
What Else is New? 1992
Kakado 1996
Two Women 1999
The Hidden Half 2001
The Fifth Reaction 2003
The Unwanted Woman 2005
Atash bas 2006

I have seen Two Women, The Hidden Half, and The Legend of a Sigh. I suggest viewing all of her films. The films themselves offer unique windows to world we typically assign unrelenting stereotypes.

As I said, I had seen some her films before and have kept an interest in her and Iranian film in general. I think she is a fantastic director and a wonderful example of women of color directing film that portrays their realities.

Trying to find more information about Tahmineh Milani was difficult. I knew she had been imprisoned and released but any more recent information was lost.

Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye was born in Liberia and recieved her MFA from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Jersey. In her many of her films, she portrays her pride in being an African American lesbian and also the oppression she has experienced. She wrote, directed, and starred in her first film, The Watermelon Woman, which was the first African American lesbian feature film. Currently, she teaches at Temple University in the Department of Film and Media Arts.
Here is a list of the movies she has directed:
My Baby's Daddy (2003)
View Trailer
Stranger Inside (2000)
The Watermelon Woman (1996)
View Clip
Greetings from Africa (1994)
The Potluck and the Passion (1993)
Untitled Portrait (1993)
Vanilla Sex (1992)
She Don't Fade (1991)
Janine (1990)

I only found clips/ trailers on The Watermelon Woman and My Baby's Daddy. I found that My Baby's Daddy seemed pretty typical of a Hollywood blockbuster while The Watermelon Woman seemed to have a much deeper purpose. I was surprised at how different the two films were.

I found Dunye on the Sisters in Cinema website under filmmakers. I picked her because she had a variety of different films, all which seemed to be personal and honest films.

At first it was hard for me to find a WOC filmmaker, but once I got into a couple of good sites, such as Sisters in Cinema, I was able to find many more.

Kelly's W.O.C. Post

Here are three women filmmakers that I came across:
Lidia Estrada- Born and raised in Los Angeles. Attended USC and wrote, directed, and produced her thesis film "First Days." She received her Master's in Film Production.
Seema Shastri- Completed MFA in Film and Video at Columbia College, Chicago. Her largest production to date is a film entitled "Why is God...," which incorporates her personal themes of spirituality and ethnic identity in the US.
April Faith Hirschman- Opened Leap of Faith School of Middle Eastern Dance in Occidental, CA, her hometown. Her film "Blood and Monkey" brings together her love of painting, photography and dance.

Shereen Noon

shereen noon picture.jpg

Shereen Noon is an independent filmmaker who is of Swedish and Pakistani decent. She grew up in Illinois, Michigan, and Pakistan. She is the founder of Santa Fe's Tano Media Institute, an educational program that guides and supports women filmmakers and the International Women Filmmaker’s Organization (IWF) which is based in L.A. Noon attended CSULB and began her work on films in 1993.
She wrote, directed, and co-produced Body: The Value of Women, a documentary on body image and self-esteem of women in America. She also produced the indie film Paper, Rock, Scissors about a man who leads a very successful life but is depressed. She is in the process of writing a script on the relationships between women.

The website to Body: The Value of Women was down so I wasn’t able to view any clips for the film. Hopefully it will be up later.

It was harder than I thought it would be to find “Women of Color? filmmakers. Noon’s films are shown at festivals and screenings, but as much as I looked, unable to be purchased by the normal consumer. I found out about Shereen Noon at the website and at I did look at the top 25 list at the website for the magazine Filmmakers and was surprised of how few women filmmakers there were.

Lourdes Portillo

Mexico-born and Chicana identified, Portillo's films have focused on the search for Latino identity. She has worked in a richly varied range of forms, from television documentary to satirical video-film collage.
Portillo got her first filmmaking experience at the age of twenty-one when a friend in Hollywood asked her to help out on a documentary. Portillo says: " I knew from that moment what I was going to do for the rest of my life. That never changed. It was just a matter of when I was going to do it."
Click to Read More

As you can see below, Portillo has had an extensive career, and has won many awards for her efforts. By clicking on the link you can read more about her accomplishments.

2004 - Collaboration: My McQueen (20 min. experimental documentary) the legacy of Steve McQueen in San Francisco after "Bullit" with Kyle Kibbe and Vivian Hillgrove for the School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

2001 - Producer/Director Señorita Extraviada/ Missing Young Woman (74 min. Documentary film) on the mysterious killings of hundreds of young women on the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Funded by ITVS, MacArthur Foundation, Soros, and the NEA.

2001 - Video Producer Culture Clash: Mission Magic Mystery Tour (theatre performance at Brava Theatre) a satirical comedy about the Mission District in San Francisco. Funded by Flintridge Foundation, Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production Fund, The NEA, Fleishhacker Foundation.

1999 - Producer/Director/Writer Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena (47 min. video documentary) on the impact that Selena Quintanilla had on her fans, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film and Video Fellowship and Mexican Fine Arts Museum Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

1998 - This is Your Day Hoy es tu Dia Video installation funded by the U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture

1997 - Multi-Media Director for the Theatre Play, 13 Days a San Francisco Mime Troupe National Tour .

1994 - Producer/Director: The Devil Never Sleeps/EI Diablo Nunca Duerme (82 min. documentary ) Funded by the Independent Television Service and the National Latino Communications Center.

1994 - Producer/Director Sometimes my Feet Go Numb Experimental Video (2:23 min., performance video)

1993 - Producer/Director/Writer: Mirrors of the Heart (60 min. documentary ) Produced by WGBH in Boston PBS's series, "Americas" National Broadcast in 1993.

1992 - Producer/Director/Writer: Columbus On Trial (18 minute video). Funded by The National Endowment for the Arts Inter Arts . National Broadcast in 1992.

1989 - Producer/Director: Vida (lOmin. narrative) Producedby AIDSFILMS.

1988 - Director/Co-Producer/Writer: La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (60 min. documentary ) Funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.

1986 - Director/Co-Producer/Writer: Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (60 minute documentary ).

1979 - Director/Co-Producer: After the Earthquake/Despues del Terremoto. (27:00 min. narrative ) Funded by the American Film Institute Filmakers Award.

Although I have not had the pleasure of viewing any of her work, this research/blog post has conjured couriosity for her vision.

black female filmmakers

I found three black females that have left quite an unforgettable mark in the film industry. The first was Maya Angelou, most people know her as a famous poet but she actually directed the movie Down in the Delta in 1998. The second one is Gina Prince Bythewood who directed the film Love and Basketball in 2000 starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. And last but not least Kasi Lemmons who directed the film Eve's Bayou in 1997. Below is a link to the website for anyone who wants to find out more about these and other black female filmmakers

Continue reading "black female filmmakers" »

women of color

My first choice for a filmmaker of color was Tania Kamal-Eldin, because her work is really close to my heart. Her work is mostly about women in the Middle East, where I was born and raised. She is like me, Egyptian. I know we usually don't think of Middle Eastern people as people of "color" but they do have a different culture than the one we are used to; and since that they are located in mostly North Africa and western part of Asia; one can argue that they too are people of color. Tania Kamal-Eldin's work has been screened in several venues and festivals throughout the world. Her two videotapes "Covered: The Hejab in Cairo, Egypt" (made in 1995 and is 25 minutes) and "Hollywood Harems" (made in 1999 and is 24 minutes) both addressed women issues. Her film "Cairo Chronicles" (made in 2001 and 37 minutes long) was in the 2002 Women of Color Film Festival. The first one talked about wearing veils in Egypt and the second one took aim at Hollywood’s obsession and fascination with all things from the east. She is currently a lecturer at the University of California at San Diego in the Communications Department. She is also currently working on a personal essay documentary that takes place in Cairo, Egypt.

Jenni Olson

1. Jenni Olson was born and raised in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. She received her BA in Film Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1990. She was the founder of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Lesbian, Gay, Bi, & Transgender Film Festival in 1986 and went on to be co-director (with Mark Finch) of the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival from 1992-1994. She is the editor of The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video (1996, Serpent's Tail). Her feature-length collections of coming attractions trailers (Homo Promo, Neo Homo Promo, and Trailer Camp) have played at film festivals around the world, as have her two short videos (Levi's 501s Commercial and Sometimes). (From her personal summary found on

2.The Joy of Life (2005)
Afro Promo (1997)
Blue Diary (1997)
Trailers Schmailers (1997)
Trailer Camp (1995)
Homo Promo (1993)
She's Safe!: A Curated Package of Woman-to-Woman Safer-Sex Videos (1993)

These are the films she has directed

3. Her film The Joy of LIfe (2005) appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. I do know from looking at the synopsis of her films that they do deal with gay and lesbian issues a lot of the time. She also does work mostly on documentaries.

4. As I said earlier, I found her film The Joy of Life on the Sundance Film Festival website for the year 2005. The Sundance is a relatively big festival and certainly one where great independent films can become discovered.

5. I thought it would probably be easy to find a woman director on the Sundance Festival site because they deal with a lot of independent films. I have to admit however that I looked up about ten films on imdb from the list in Sundance before I came across a woman director. It didn't take very long, but like I said, I came across about ten male directors of films in the festival before I found Jenni Olson.

Deepa Mehta

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Deepa Mehta, who has been described as "Canada's most internationally renowned woman film-maker" (Levitin, An Introduction..., p 273), was born in 1950 in Amritsar, a city on India's border with Pakistan. Like many other Hindu families, Mehta's parents had fled the newly created Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947. Mehta's father was a film distributor and owned a number of movie theatres. As a child, Mehta watched hundreds of movies in her father's theatres but did not have an early interest in becoming a filmmaker. Mehta studied philosophy at the University of New Delhi.
After graduating from university, Mehta had her first experience in the film industry when she went to work for a company that made educational and documentary films for the Indian government.
1974 - At 99: A Portrait of Louise Tandy
1985 - Traveling Light
1987 - Martha, Ruth and Edie
1988 - Sam and Me
1995 - FIRE
1998 - EARTH
2000 - WATER - due to increased controversy, had to stop shooting this film.
2003 - Republic of Love
Mehta has developed a well-earned reputation as innovative and courageous filmmaker whose movies often address the universal issue of identity and tradition. Mehta herself notes: "If you think of Sam & Me, Fire, Earth, even Water, all of them were about where does one's own voice stop and the baggage of tradition begin. It's the conflict between the individual voice and the voice of tradition…I don't sit down to write a script with these ideas in mind, in as much as they always seem to come out in my films." (Wise, p. 36)

vivian price

1.vivian is a professor of GLBT studies at UCLA as well as of film and gender studies at various colleges in the uc system.
if you'd like to view her picture you can check out this website:
aside from a phd, vivian has worked in the film industry for over ten years and also has worked as a unionized construction worker, some of her work encompasses this aspect of her (highlighting females working non-traditional jobs). her films have screened across the world.

2. vivian produced "Faces of Tradeswomen", which was commissioned by the U.S. Women's Bureau.
"In My Own Words, Against All Odds", is a film about the first african american woman the l.a. electrician's union. this film was selected for the Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 1993.
"Gender in the Global Construction Site" was produced for the Beijing Women's Conference.
she also has a new film out called "Transnational Tradeswoman" and can be found through the WMM website.

3. unfortunately i can't really comment on any of these films because i haven't seen them, but i thought she was relevent because we are about to dig into documentary.

4. i found vivian price through the WMM website. after doing the reading i figured this was an easy place to start. and yes i do realize that she herself is not a "woc" but the gaze that she is projecting is an alternative one, and represents an aspect of feminist film theory that got left out in the initial understandings. isn't that what is important here?

5. this wasn't a very hard investigation, but by reading the course blog i realize how much about film makers i don't know. before taking this class the director (the gaze setter) never really mattered much to me. now i realize the importance of being informed on who is setting up the images. i see that it's not just a movie screen, but somebody's canvas.

Zeinabu Irene Davis

1. I researched Zeinbu Irene Davis. Davis was born April 13, 1961 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a producer, director of independant films who is most concerned with the depiction of women of African descent. She has worked in narrative, documentary and experimentat videos and films. She has recieved
numerous grants and fellowships from sources such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts to fund her films.

2. Some examples of her work:
1.) Compensation (1999)
2.) Cycles (1989)
3.) Mother of the River (1995)
4.) A Powerful Thang (1991)
5.) A Period Piece (1991)
6.) Kneegrays in Russia (1990)
7.) Trumpetistically, Clora Bryant (1989)
8.) Sweet Bird of Youth (1987)
9.) Crododile Conspiracy (1986)
10.) Re-creating Black Women's Media Image (1983)
11.) Filmstatement (1982)

3. I found Davis by googling women " of color" filmakers. Her name was listed on a Women's film festival site. I thought her name was the most interesting so I did some research on her and found information on Women Make Movies website.

4. I thought that it was fairly easy do find a woman "of color" to research on. All I had to do was google Women "of color" filmmakers and there was a list of websites related to women filmmakers "of color".

Photograph of Zeinabu Irene Davis:

WOC Filmmaker

The woman "of color" artist that I choose was the filmmaker or producer/writer Susan Racho. Susan Racho is a Los Angeles-based Producer/Writer, and her work reflects around the diversity of issues and themes that attract her attention. Her earliest work included the landmark Chicano television series "Reflecciones", in which she was a co-creator. The most recent and the largest work she has done is "The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood Cinema" which was a HBO/Cinemax presentation. The "Latino Image" presentation that she worked on was produced, wrote and directed by her.

Most of the other work Susan Racho was involved in includes production credits in such films as "Taking Back the Schools", from the series "Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement", and the "The Buried Mirror".

Along with her work with film she also was the co-author fo the recently published, “Yo Soy Chicano: The Turbulent and Heroic Life of Chicanas/os in Cinema and Television"

Susan Racho's work has also been featured at the San Sebastian Film Festival and was even screened at The White House. She has also recieved several awards for her work including EMMY as Producer of the Best Special Events Coverage, the IMAGEN AWARD as Producer of Most Outstanding Documentary, the PREMIO MESQUITE for Best Documentary and others.

Gina Prince-Bythewood

1 - Gina.jpg
Gina Prince-Bythewood is an African American filmmaker. She studied at UCLA Film School, where she graduated in 1991. Not only has she directed films and TV episodes, she always has written, produced and acted in them as well. Currently, she lives in California with her husband and two sons.
2 - Gina wrote and directed the very popular "Love and Basketball" in 2000, which she premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Other movies, or TV episodes include: Biker Boyz (2003), Felicity-episode-(1998), The Bernie Mac Show-episode- (2001), Disappearing Acts (2000), Friends-episode-(1999), CBS School Break Special "What About Your Friends" (2005), which landed her 2 emmy nominations for writing and directing.
3 - I loved the movie Love and Basketball when it came out and I know that many people were intrigued not only by the main characters relationship, but also because you got to see an inside glimpse of the struggles of a woman basketball player.bball.jpg

4 - I found Gina Prince-Bythewood's name off of the website "Sisters of Cinema" from our course blog. I also viewed clips of her videos from IMDb. Today, most of Gina's work is Hollywood, not Independent. For instance her first feature film as a producer was the film "Biker Boyz" (2003), a Dreamworks film, co-written and directed with her husband. However, I was very interested to know that her most highly acclaimed film, Love and Basketball, was premiered at Sundance Film Festival!
5 - Gina Prince-Blythewood was a relatively easy Woman of Color filmmaker to track down. One of the reasons it was easier, though, was because she is not anymore, an independent filmmaker. Instead, she does big budget, Hollywood movies, and TV episodes after the breakthrough success of "Love and Basketball".

Shaohong Li

1 - Filmmaker: Shaohong Li (Chinese)
Shaohong Li is the only woman in the Fifth Generation Chinese Filmmakers which include Zhang Yimou (Hero)and Kaige Chen (Farewell My Concubine). She attended the Beijing Film Academy and entered it's Directing Department in 1978 and graduated in 1982. Since then she has gone on to direct 8 feature length films and her films have won numerous awards from various worl film festivals. She is known for her strong visuals and colors.

2 - The Door (2006)
Stolen Life (2005)
Baober in Love (2004)
The Red Suit (2000)
Blush (1995)
Family Portrait (1993)
Bloody Morning (1992)
The Case of the Silver Snake (1988)

3 - I was not able to find her films available anywhere in the U.S. but there are plenty of stills from her works and I found this website which has a trailer for her film Baober in Love, only the trailer is in real media format. The trailer however is spectacular and the visuals are on par with the likes of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films and Zhang Yimou's films. Reading the reviews and the previews online made me really interested in her work especially her films, Stolen Life and Baober in Love. They sound really wonderful and interesting.

4 - I found her when searching for asian female director in google. Her name was mentioned many times in several articales. Since she is the only fifth generation director in china she really stands out. I really hope she is able to break through to the american audiences. I think it would be possible with the praise that Stolen Life has be recieving from the media in europe and asia.

5 - It was somewhat difficult to find a female director from Eastern Asia. I looked but there the film industry is male dominated and woman rarely make films apparently. An article I read said that there was a three year gap from the last time a woman made a movie there until now.

Christine Choy


Christine Choy was trained as an architect, receiving her Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Soon thereafter, her life took a different direction-direction. Christine crossed the country to Los Angeles, studying at the American Film Institute where she earned a Directing Certificate. Christine has produced and directed about seventy works in various forms, receiving over sixty international awards. Among them are numerous fellowships such as the John Simon Guggenheim, the Rockefeller, and the Asian Cultural Council, as well as an Academy Award Nomination for the documentary film, Who Killed Vincent Chen. Christine has an equally impressive history as an educator, teaching not only at NYU at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, this year once again as Chair of the former, but also at Yale, Cornell, and SUNY Buffalo. She was also a visiting scholar at Evergreen State College, as well as the Oslo and Volda Film Institute in Norway. (

Some of the films she has directed include:
1. Ha Ha Shanghai (2001)
2. In the Name of the Emperor (1998)
3. The Shot Heard 'Round the World (1997)
4. Wrongful Death: Hattori vs. Peairs (1997)
5. Best Hotel on Skid Row (1990)
6. Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
7. Permanent Wave (1986) (co-director)
8. Mississippi Triangle (1984)

I did not find any trailors to her films, but I did find a good background page of hers that also talks a little bit about her most famous films:

I found her by searching under google and women of color filmmakers. Her name came up under the african and asian group. She speaks at film festivals and also is a professor at a film school.

She was not very difficult to find. I thought that it would be harder to find someone, but she was one artist who came up right away.

Ann Hui

1. She was born in China in 1947 and moved to Hong Kong when she was young. She graduated from Hong Kong University with a degree in comparative literature. She attended film school in London for 2 years. She started as an assistant but soon joined TVB and directed some short documentaries and drama series. She made a few films in between but in 1979 she made her first feature film called The Secret. Sorry, couldn't find a picture.

2. She has directed 23 films in her life:
1 Yi ma de hou xian dai sheng huo (2006)
... aka The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (Canada: English title) (International: English title)
2 Yu guanyin (2003)
... aka Goddess of Mercy (Hong Kong: English title) (International: English title) (USA)
3 Laam yan sei sap (2002)
... aka July Rhapsody (Hong Kong: English title) (International: English title) (USA)
4 Youling renjian (2001)
... aka Visible Secret (International: English title)
5 The Making of 'Youling renjian - Visible Secret' (2001) (V)
6 Qian yan wan yu (1999)
... aka Ordinary Heroes (USA)
7 Boon sang yuen (1997)
... aka Half Life Fate (literal English title)
8 Gei diy chun fung (1997)
... aka As Time Goes By (Hong Kong: English title)
9 Ah Kam (1996)
... aka The Stunt Woman
10 Nu ren si shi (1995)
... aka Woman, Forty (International: English title)
11 Boy and His Hero (1993)
12 Jidao zhuizhong (1991)
... aka Zodiac Killer
13 Ketu qiuhen (1990)
... aka Song of Exile
14 Xiao ao jiang hu (1990)
... aka Swordsman
15 Shanghai jiaqi (1990)
... aka My American Grandson
16 Gam ye sing gwong chaan laan (1988)
... aka Tonight's Starlight Is Splendid (literal English title)
17 Shu jian en chou lu (1987)
... aka The Romance of Book & Sword
18 Xiang xiang gong zhu (1987)
... aka Princess Fragrance
19 Qing cheng zhi lian (1984)
... aka Love in a Fallen City
20 Tou bun no hoi (1982)
... aka Boat People
21 Woo yuet dik goo si (1981)
... aka God of Killers (USA)
22 Zhuang dao zheng (1980)
... aka The Spooky Bunch
23 Fung gip (1979)
... aka The Secret

3. Most of her work was done in Cantonese so it was hard to understand. I did however find one of her trailers on the internet and it seems that she does mostly murder/drama/suspense films. Here is a link that you can watch the trailer to her most recent film:

4. I found her by searching for wormen directors on google but most of the information I used came from

5. I found it very difficult to find a women filmmaker of color that someone in the class had not already used.

WOC Filmmakers

1. Mira Nair- film director/writer/producer. Mira was born in India, and attneded college at Delhi University and Harvard. She's worked on many films, such as Vanity Fair.
Biography =

2. Gurinder Chadha - Gurinder was born in Kenya and grew up in London. In 1990 she set up her own production company called Umbi Films. She has worked on many films, such as Bend it Like Beckham.
Biography =

3. Euzhan Palcy - Euzhan was born in Martinique and her films focus on social change and cultural issues. One of her most influential films is A Dry White Season.
Biography =

The Women of Color Film Festival

The first website that I found references the Women of Color Film Festival at the University of California, Santa-Cruz in 1992. The participants were independent women of color filmmakers, some of which are listed here:

Patricia Diaz
Mona Smith
Ngozi A. Onwurha

The website can be found here:

After further reasearch, I discovered that this film festival occurs each year at UC, Santa-Cruz. In 2006, it was celebrating it's eleventh year, and featured many more women of color filmmakers. Again, a few are listed here:

Christine Choy, Sparrow Village
Victoria Comune, Swimming in English
Angela How, Sleepwalking

The website on the 2006 festival can be found here:
This website also allows you to link to any previous festivals.

This website also produces a fact about women filmmakers each time you visit a new page on the site. This fact is one that I found particularly interesting:

Nearly half the top 100 films from 1997 had no women writers, producers, directors, cinematographers or editors.

By searching "Women of color filmmakers", almost of the hits produced on google led to this film festival at the Universtiy of California. This tells me about how popular the festival is and how much involvement there has been over the past eleven years. Many, many names of women of color filmmakers and their films produce hits that link to this festival - that there are too many to list on this blog post.

October 15, 2006

WOC by Jillian Schwantz

I happen to have found a very cool website at, and while the name really stands out, it has tons of information on Black film makers. This website has a huge list of film makers and also pictures included. The first name on the list under film makers was Maya Angelou. This really surprised me because I had no idea Maya Angelou had her hands in film. This website also really focused on independant films and documentaries, which is great!
The next website I checked out was, which is a website based upon latino film makers. This website was not as detailed as the sisters in cinema site, but it was more aimed at representing extremely local and independant female latino film makers. The highlight of the website was to reward the winners of contests, which seemed to be help by the nalip organization.
The third website I visited was This website was probabaly my favorite because it listed all of the asian filmmakers, and listed them by country. This website was very detailed, a little less pretty, but very informative. This website highlights on male and female filmmakers, and lists a section of names on the right hand side of the site. This type of categorizing made it fun and interesting to compare artists from country to country.

Julie Dash

Julie Dash.jpg

Julie Dash is a Black woman and was born and raised in New York. Her first film, "Daughters of the Dust" was placed in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. "Daughters of the Dust" was a film depicting the making of an African American Women's film and was released in 1992. Julie Dash was the first African American woman to have a full-length general audience film in the United States. Her second work is the short film called "Brothers of the Borderland" which plays at Ohio's National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum. She recently directed the TV movie, "The Rosa Parks Story" and won many awards for it. She has also created many short videos and music videos.

1975 - Four Women
1977 - Diary of an African Nun
1983 - Illusions
1992 - Daughters of the Dust
1996 - Give Me One Reason
1997 - Thinking of You
1998 - Funny Valentines
2002 - Rosa Parks
You can get more information on her fims and videos at:

I found Julie Dash in a review of Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's "Women Filmmakers of the African and Asian Diaspora". You can read it at:

I thought it was very difficult to find women of color filmmakers. I found a few women, but it was harder to find information about their films and their lives. Even with Julie, it was hard to find a decent biography.

Safi Faye

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1.) Safi Faye (born 1943), the Senegalese filmmaker and ethnologist who has made her home in Paris, is the best-known woman filmmaker in sub-Saharan Africa. Safi Faye was born in 1943 in Fad Jal, Senegal, a village south of Dakar, where she made the ethnographic films that brought her international acclaim. Faye's documentary films on Senegal were related to her training as an ethnologist. She was interested in showing the real problems of people's daily lives from their perspective, an advantage she had as a member of the society she filmed. Safi Faye is acknowledged as one of the most accomplished women filmmakers in sub-Saharan Africa. However, because she has lived and worked in Europe, far more Europeans have seen her films than have Senegalese and other Africans.

2.) Faye made her first films in France. Revanche (Revenge; 1973), made collectively with other students in Paris, is about a madman who wants to climb the Pont Neuf, a bridge in Paris. She acted in her second film, La Passant (The Passerby; 1972-1975), about an African woman in France, which reflects in part the solitude she felt in Paris at that time. This film has a soundtrack of music and poetry, but no dialogue.
Kaddu Beykat (Peasant Letter; 1975), the first ethnographic film Faye made in Senegal, brought her international attention through film awards at FIFEF (Festival International du Film d'Expression Française), FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma d'Ouagadougou), and the Berlin Film Festival and through receipt of the Georges Sadoul Prize in France. It remains her most widely reviewed and analyzed film.

Films as Director:
1972 La Passante (The Passerby)
1973 Revanche (Revenge)
1975 Kaddu beykat (The Voice of the Peasant)
1979 Fad'jal; Goob na ñu (The Harvest Is In)
1980 Man Sa Yay (I, Your Mother)
1981 Les âmes au soleil (Souls under the Sun)
1982 Selbé et tant d'autres (Selbe and So Many Others)
1983 3 ans 5 mois (Three years five months)
1984 Ambassades nourricières (Culinary Embassies)
1985 Elsie Haas, femme peintre et cinéaste d'Haiti (Elsie Haas, Haitian Woman Painter and Filmmaker); Racines noires (Black Roots)
1989 Tesito
1996 Mossane

3.) I was not able to view any of her work on-line and unfortunately I don’t think Faye has her own homepage (because I couldn’t find it).
4.) I actually found Safie Faye through an introduction of women’s work on movies about the third world and globalization and so I decided to click on her name. I read a couple of her profiles and thought she was extremely interesting.
5.) Because Safi Faye is pretty well known, it was pretty easy to find information on her through the internet; however, I couldn’t find any link that would direct me to any of her films.

Ann Kaneko

Ann Kaneko graduated with an MFA in Film and Television Directing from UCLA. She is an independent filmmaker and cinematographer in LA. She is of Asian descent, probably Japanese. I did not find much personal information on Ann herself.
Against the Grain: about political artists resisting censorship in peru; she was a Fulbright Fellow.
100% Human Hair: a 'musical extravaganza' set in a wig shop in LA while she was in the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women.
Overstay: documentary about foreign migrant workers in Japan, funded by the Japan Foundation, local and international screenings
Lucy Goes Shopping, A Shortness of Breath, and Displaced. She also has shot many short films and documentaries.
Her Website is

I found Ann's work just by searching in google for women of color independent filmmakers. I chose a random site about a film festival and read the discription of Against the Grain. I searched for a biography on Ann, but found little information. It seems that most of her work has shown at film festivals.
It wasn't that hard to find the women thanks to google, but i did have much trouble finding good background information. I don't really feel Ann Kaneko's work is easily available. If someone had no access to the internet or film festivals, they may never hear of her work. I did, however, find a few blurbs from magazines or newspapers, but they were very small and could be easily overlooked.

Ngozi Onwurah


1. Ngozi Onwurah was born in Nigeria and grew up in Great Britian, graduating from UK's National Film and Television School. Her first short film, entitled "Coffee Coloured Children" won first place in the BBC Showreel competition in the UK.

2. After searching multiple sites, these are her films that I found:
• Coffee Coloured Children (1988)
• The Body Beautiful (1991)
• And Still I Rise (1993)
• Monday's Girls (1993)
• Siren Spirits (1994)
• The Desired Number (1995)
• Welcome II the Terrordome (1995)
• Siren Spirits: White Men Are Cracking Up (1996)
• Mama Africa (2002)
• Who Stole the Soul
• Best Wishes
• Fruits of Fear
• I Bring You Frankincense

I was not able to find anywhere to view these films, although they are on sale for educational institutions. However, Coffee Coloured Children was described by the WMM website as a "semi-autobiography" which "conveys the experience of children of mixed racial heritage." Their summary of this 15-minute film is as follows:
“Suffering the aggression of racial harassment, a young girl and her brother attempt to wash their skin white with scouring powder. Starkly emotional and visually compelling, this semi-autobiographical testimony to the profound internalized effects of racism and the struggle for self-definition and pride is a powerful catalyst for discussion.?

3. I was unable to find a site which let me view any of her films, but the Women Make Movies site contains some information about her films, and this link has information about various awards she has won and where her films are shown, which is primarily in Britian.

4. I began looking for filmmakers with a simple google search, which led me to an article from “Literature Film Quarterly? that mentioned Ngozi, and from there I just googled her name and found lots of information.

5. It was a bit difficult at first to know where to look for women of color filmmakers, but once I got a name there was plenty of information and one site led to another.

Michelle Parkerson


1. Michelle Parkerson is much more than a producer. She is also a poet, writer and known as an activist. Michelle was born in Washington D.C. She Later attended Temple University in PA. There she studied filmmaking. Her first achievement came while at Temple when she received a "Student Oscar" for her film Sojourn. She then did many films for Public Television. On many sites it was said that her biggest hit so to say was But Then, She's Betty Carter, which came out in 1980. She now today is a professor at Temple University.
2. Michelle has a long list o f films she has worked on. It includes: But Then, She's Betty Carter- It is a documentary about Betty Carter who is a jazz vocalist. Gotta Make This Journey-Showed a story about a black womens capella ensemble. Urban Odyssey-This about a black biker and his journey. The newest is Odds and Ends- about black Amazon warriors in the year 2096 and their struggles. This is not all of her Films but a good chunk of them.
3. I tried to view some of her work but I could not find anything without purchasing it. There is alot of information on what the movies are about and their plot descriptions but I could not find a place where i could even view a short piece of any of her films.
4. I found all the information on Michelle Parkerson by typing in Independent women filmmakers into Google. It produced alot of information for me. I then Looked at many of the women and thought that Michelle was the most interesting because not only was she African-American she is also lesbian and she was working at a time where being both of those things was not accepted. However, I got most of my information from a site called Independent Women Filmmakers . I got Information about the films themselves from IMDB .
5. It was very easy to find women of "color" however since i chose someone from a little while back it was hard to find a place where i could view her work. I thought however, that this was the most interesting blog posts we have had to do. I enjoyed having to look at one of these filmmakers.
Erica Koby

Trinh T. Minh-ha

Name: Trinh T. Minh-ha
Short Bio: Trinh T. Minh-ha was born in Vietnam in 1952, and immigrated to the United States in 1970 after studying in both Vietnam and the Philippines. Trinh studied music composition, ethnomusicology, and French literature at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where she received M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees. She is currently Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and associate professor of cinema, San Francisco State University. She has also taught at Harvard, Smith, the University of Illinois, and the National Conservatory of Music in Senegal.
Background Info: She is a filmmaker, writer, poet, literary theorist, educator, musical composer, and (un/non)ethnographer.

2. Her works include:

•"The Fourth Dimension" (87 mins, 2001)- examination of Japan through its art, culture, and social rituals.
•“Night Passage? (98 mins, 2004)- tells the story of three young friends traveling for a brief moment together on the train between life and death. Their journey into and out of the land of ‘awakened dreams’ occurs on a long ride on a night train.
• "A Tale of Love" (108 mins, 1995)- follows the quest of a woman in love with ‘Love’. The film is loosely inspired by THE TALE OF KIEU, the Vietnamese national poem of love which Vietnamese people see as a mythical biography of their ‘motherland,’ marked by internal turbulence and foreign domination.
• "Surname Viet Given Name Nam" (108 mins, 1989)- a film on culture, art and politics in China
• "Naked Spaces: Living is Round" (135 mins, 1985)- a film on identity and culture through the struggle of Vietnamese women.
• "Reassemblage" (40 mins, 1982)- a complex visual study of the women of rural Senegal.
• “Shoot for the Contents?- is a unique excursion into the maze of allegorical naming and storytelling in China. The film ponders questions of power and change, politics and culture, as refracted by Tiananmen Square events.

3. I haven’t seen any of her films, but this is her homepage.

4. I went to the WMM site and just browsed through the filmmakers. I chose to look up more about Trihn T. Mihn-ha because her films sounded interesting.

5. It wasn’t very difficult for me to search because there was the link to the site on the assignment post.

Tomonari Nishikawa

1/ Born in Nagoya, Japan/San Francisco-based. Received a BA in Cinema and Philosophy, SUNY Binghamton, 2003, and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.

2 & 3/ Filmography includes: Sketch Film #3 (2006, super 8, US); Market Street (2005, 16mm, US); Sketch Film #2 (2005, super 8, US); Sketch Film #1 (2005, super 8, US); Apollo (2003, 16mm, US/Japan); Frame Work (2003, 16mm, US). Also, an installation entitled: A Pinhole Behind Fences (2005, mixed-media, filmstrips, screen, and projectors), which can be seen here:

This was the only piece I was able to view, and based on this piece, and the description of the “Thread, Frame, and Flicker? film (described below), I’m a bit upset that I’m unable to see them; the stills from the works screened at the avant-garde film festivals, alongside the descriptions of the visuals are intriguing because Nishikawa is not only using tenets of avant-garde film in her work (exploration of space, time, non-narrative, non-linear structures), but she is also exploring the role of film itself, and manipulation of actual film to achieve new ways of representing and experiencing film.

“The Ninth Annual Views from the Avant Garde? at Film Society of Lincoln Center featured Nishikawa’s work, Market Street, which appears to be available by DVD purchase (independent marketing means), it also featured a later work from her, entitled Clear Blue Sky(2006, 4m; US) in “The Tenth Annual Views from the Avant Garde.?

Her most recent work is being screened through San Francisco Cinematheque:
Sunday, October 22 at 7:30pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street (corner of Third)
Tickets: 415-978-ARTS
Thread, Frame, and Flicker
Angelina Krahn and Tomonari Nishikawa In Person

The art of cinema may be ultimately optical and auditory, but its processes are chemical, electrical and material. Two young Bay Area-based film artists, Krahn and Nishikawa refract landscape and gesture through the technology called cinema and orchestrate its traces into expressive nuance and delicate visual pleasure. They will each screen a selection of their work with rent and re-sewn 16mm film, hand processed emulsions, pinhole and slit-aperture videos and pixilated films. Nishikawa is currently an artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

4/ As stated above, it seems that Nishikawa’s work remains largely a part of either major avant garde screenings (such as The New York Film Festival), or she is actively working to promote her own work (as in the Microcinema website), as well as using local and community-based experimental projects (like SF Cinematheque) as sites for screenings.
I stumbled upon Nishikawa’s work somewhat haphazardly: I visited a filmmaker named Vanessa Renwick’s website, whose experimental work I enjoy, and followed a link of hers to a Cinema Project site, which alerted me to a program being presented by Irina Leimbacher, a curator and artistic director of San Francisco Cinematheque, entitled, “First-Person in a Globalized World,? which was a springboard for a new program entitled Women’s Perspective in Film. An excellent jumping off point, yes? Alas, I was unable to find anything but a negative review of two short films (written by a man, with little content description to go on), and with most leads failing, I visited the SF Cinematheque website and reviewed their calendar of upcoming films, where I found the description of Nishikawa’s collaborative film.

5/ It was actually rather roundabout finding Nishikawa’s work at all, and even more difficult to determine any personal biography, beyond birth and education (no age even); also, with the exception of the short installation film, it was difficult to view any of the films I was able to find for free, or any of the actual length films at all. However, a review accompanying a screening of Apollo in an academic quarterly in the last year cited Nishikawa as a “film artist to watch,? so hopefully I will be seeing more of her work available soon.

Fina Torres

To see a photo of Fina Torres

Fina Torres is a Venezuelan film director born in Caracas on October 7th, 1957. According to Wikipedia Fina Torres “studied design, photography and journalism in Venezuela and later on film at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques in Paris.? Fina Torres has worked as a film editor, camera operator, and script supervisor. After graduating, she made short films and documentaries.
Fina Torres’ major films are Oriana (1985), Luna Llena (1991), Celestial Clockwork (1993), Women on Top (2000), and Leap of Love (2005). For Oriana, Torres was the director and screenwriter, for Luna Llena, she was the producer, for Celestial Clockwork she was director, producer, and screenwriter, for Women on Top Torres was the director and executive producer and she wrote Leap of Love. For all the plot summaries of her movies I am using IMDb. Oriana is about a young girl is sent to a South American hacienda, where she learns about the life of her reclusive aunt and is a drama. Luna Llena is a 90 min film in Spanish and that is all IMDb has about it. The movies2 website says the filmis about two lovers that communicate their love despite being inmates in a Venezuela prison. Celestial Clockwork is a comedy about a woman who bolts from her wedding altar and flies from Venezuela to Paris to realize her dream of becoming a great opera star. Women on Top is a romance comedy about a Brazilian chef who moves to San Francisco when her husband, frustrated by her motion sickness, cheats on her. Leap of Love is a romance about a woman, who is a strong believer of the soul mate theory and rejects all men. To look at the plot summaries click on link to IMDb below.
Though I haven’t seen any of Torres’ films, after reading about the plot summaries I am happy to see that she uses women as her man characters. Luna Llena’s plot looks very interesting and unique. I would never have thought to make a movie about lovers in a prison.
Finding Torres was not that hard once I found the Wikipedia list for women filmmakers. Then I just went down the list and tried to find women that were outside of the USA. Then I just googled her name for images and other sites that had information about her and her movies. IMDb was also a great site that I have used before. It gives you a ton on information about all the movies out there. Here is the link to Torres on IMDb .

Lourdes Portillo


1. Lourdes Portillo is a filmmaker, producer and writer. She was born in Mexico, and has directed and produced a number of films. She has also written one film called “El Diablo Nunca Duerme?. Lourdes Portillo was first introduced to film making when a friend of hers asked for her help in making a movie. She was then 21. One of her most famous films that she directed has “Senorita Extravaida, Missing Young Woman?. This film is about an incident in Juárez, Mexico where hundreds of young women where raped and killed.
For a more on Lourdes Portillo visit
For more on “Señorita Extravaida, Missing Young Woman?, visit
2. List of her works from the Internet Movie Database (
a. Señorita Extravaida (2001)- This film is a documentary about and incident in Juárez, Mexico where hundreds of young women were and are still being raped and killed. Lourdes Portillo directed and produced this film.
b. Corpus (1999)- A home movie about Selena
c. Sometimes My Feet Go Numb (1996)- a short film interpretation of a poem by Wayne Corbitt. It discusses physical and psychological effects of AIDS drugs.
d. Diablo Nunca Duerme, El (1994)- A documentary about the murder of Portillo’s uncle. Lourdes Portillo directed, produced, and wrote this film.
e. La Ofrenda (1989)- A documentary about the Day of the Dead
f. Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (1985)- Lourdes Portillo directed and produced this film
g. Después del terremoto (1979)
3. I have not been able to see any of her work. Here is a link to her homepage where you can read about her and about her work:
4. I found Lourdes Portillo by going to the Women Make Movies website ( There is a long list of women filmmakers and I chose her because I am very interested in Central and South American culture.
5. It was easy for me to find this filmmaker only because I knew where to look. Before this class I didn’t know of the organization Women Make Movies and I would of never of thought to look on the web site. If I didn’t know of these links, then I think that it would have been extremely difficult to find information on colored independent women filmmakers.

Women Filmmakers

Wenonah Wilms

Pamela Mathews

Nicole Auginash

Continue reading "Women Filmmakers" »

Pratibha Parmar

1. Pratibha Parmar was born in 1967 in Nairobi, Kenya. She studied at Bradford University and did her postgrad studies at Birmingham University. She is now a Board member of Women in Film and Television in the UK and also a member of The Directors Guild of Great Britain.

2. She received a number of awards for her work, including the Frameline Award in 1993, the Pink Peacock Award in 1995, winner of the Public Prize in 1994, and the winner of the Public Prize for Best Foreign Film in 1992. Her films include Warrior Marks (1993), Khush (1991), and Sita Gita (2000).

3. I was unable to find a link to watch Warrior Marks, however I did read a summary of it. This film is a one-hour documentary about the female genital mutilation custom that is practiced around the world in a variety of cultures, including 25 African countries and parts of the Middle East and Asia. I feel that it is incredibly admirable for someone to bring this issue to the attention of the public, especially in such a public arena such as filmmaking, as it is a practice that needs to be stopped! It is not uncommon for women to die after having this excruciating procedure, not to mention to shame and degradation it is associated with.
Here is a link to Parmar's website, where you can read the summary

4. Parmar is a very well known filmmaker, so her works can be found quite easily. I did a search for her on and a variety of her films are available. She also presents many of her films at various film festivals.

5. This filmmaker was not difficult to find, mostly because she is so well known. She has had a very successful career, and was even featured in a tribute at the New Festival in New York in 1999.


1.) Christine Choy was born in 1954 (I couldn't find a definate place of where she was born, but one article mentioned that she was "half-Korean") and at age 14 moved to the United States. She originally graduated from college with a degree in urban planning from Princeton and didn't really get into filmmaking until she was studying architechture in St. Louis, where she took part in the production of an animated film called "Dead Earth." She went on to form Third World Newsreel and helped collect foreign films, civil rights films, feminist films, and other community activist documentaries.
2.) Some titles of her works include: Ha Ha Shanghai, In the Name of the Emporer, The Shot Heard 'Round the World, Best Hotel on Skid Row, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, and Mississippi Triangle. She recieved an Academy Award nomination for "Who Killed Vincent Chin?," which is a documentary about "the murder of Vincent Chin, an automotive engineer mistaken as Japanese who was slain by an assembly line worker who blamed him for the competition by the Japanese auto makers that were threatening his job" (from
3.) I couldn't find a website just about her, but there is a page in the faculty directory at NYU that you can view here .
4.) She was recently featured at the Women of Color Film Festival .
5. It was difficult to find a biography about her, even though I was able to find a list of her films at I think the fact that she was nominated for an Oscar and that she teaches at NYU made it a little easier to find out about her.

October 14, 2006

Ayoka Chenzira


1. Ayoka Chenzira is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, and the first African American woman animator. Born November 8, 1953 in Philadelphia (Penn.), Chenzira attended New York University and Columbia University/Teachers’ College. She is also an advocate for film education, and has taught countless individuals around the world—including special projects in Africa. Notably, Chenzira helped to develop the graduate program in Media Arts Production at City College in New York and was the first person honored with the William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Chair in the Arts at Spelman College. As of 2003, she is part of the faculty at Spelman where she runs their Digital Moving Image Salon.
2. Her films include: (from the Internet Movie Database)
1) Flying Over Purgatory (2007)—which is currently in production
2) Alma's Rainbow (1994)—a comedy/drama about a “good-mother? and her “sexually repressed? daughter
3) Zajota and the Boogie Spirit (1989)—an animated film that documents the origins of popular African culture while addressing the issue of slavery
4) The Lure and the Lore (1988) (V)—a short film that uses traditional Jamaican lore in order to dramatize performance artist Thomas Pinnok’s move to New York in the 60's.
5) Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People (1984)—a short animation/satire that addresses this personal hair issue among African Americans.
6) Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum (1979)—a short film that documents the famous African American concert dancer, Syvilla Fort
3. I have not yet seen any of her works, but she does have an amazing homepage that shows all of the work she’s done, the current projects she’s on, and a way to contact her at Red Carnelian Films. There’s also a cool trailer that features her Red Carnelian Films collection.
4. First of all, I would like to say that I was incredibly disturbed to find that I—a film major—could not really think of any indie-woman filmmakers. However, we are all still learning, and will all continue to learn about new and amazing things in life. It’s only disheartening when we choose NOT to be open. This results in both a loss and a growing cultural barrier in our world. For this blog, I followed the “Sister’s in Cinema? webpage. Although I seemed to have chosen Ayoka in a somewhat random fashion, I did learn a lot about this very talented woman. Fortunately, most of her films appear to be available—so I think that I’ll have to go and check them out some time.
5. After researching Ayoka, I thought that she was very well known in the indie/woman category, but not as much outside of that—however, being the first African-American woman animator does put her on a higher pedestal. Amazingly though, she appears to disprove the stereotype that only big-budgeted films get all of the awards. Overall, I believe that she is an incredible and highly respected professional in the film industry, who appears to make movies that actually mean something and inspire us on many different cultural levels.

Deepa Mehta

1. Deepa Mehta is a Indian filmmaker based out of Toronto. She graduated from the University of Delhi. In 1973 she moved to Canada.
2. Her most famous work is her elements triliogy, Fire (1996), Earth (1998) and Water (2005). The trilogy is set in India. Although the films often have the same actors, the films are very much seperate with each taking place in different time periods. They are more of a trilogy in tespect to their similar themes and subject (women in India).
3. Water
Another interesting thing I found was a article from an assistant on Water and the difficulty they had in making the film. That story is located here.
4. I remeber Water screening at the Landmark Theater chain last year. Her films are not the types you would see playing at the mall, so their distribution beyond that is limited.
5. It was easy for me to find her, when Water came out I wanted to see it but was too busy to make it to the theater. Its out on video now and I am planning on renting it.

Women Film Directors of Color

<> Hey group! I was browsing around on the Net looking for a good site for this blog and I came across this one. As I read about the different documentaries that were being shown on the site, including :"Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen", "Fire", "Nobody Knows My Name" and "BLack Women On: The Light, Dark Thang"....I noticed a familiar name! Ms. Rachel Raimist! Her documentary is about women of color that are connected through the music that they enjoy and love - hip-hop. Along with her documentary there is a brief overview of Deepa Mehta - the director of "Fire" which dipicts sexuality in India, a highly acclaimed, and highly controversial film. To learn more about Deepa Mehta visit
Grace Poore is another mentioned female director, her documentary is "Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen". To find out more about Grace Poore


As a woman born of Mexican Parents, Aurora Guerrero always had a strong desire to learn about her background and family's culture. Guerrero earned her Bacheolor's degree in Psycology and Chicano studies from the the University of California Berkeley and later recieved her Master's degree in Filmmaking from Cal Arts.

Guerrero uses her talents as a director in filmmaking to express her cultural roots to audiences everywhere. “I’ve been motivated to write from a personal place because there’s such a huge absence of Chicana/Latina/queer/female-centered stories in the film industry that resonate as real and that offer a smart, critical perspective on our communities,? she said.

Some of her most famous works include "Pura Lengua," a film which debued in 2005 at the Sundance Film festival and "Viernes girl," a film which won the 2005 HBO/New York Latino International Film Festival short film competition. Another of her more notible works is Mosquita y Mari. Guerrero wrote feature-length script for the film which won her the Sundance Ford Fellowship and Paul Robeson Development Grant in 2005 and was selected for this year’s Tribeca All Access program.

Aurora Guerrero has several articles on her in numerous film magazines and websites. She was recently voted #13 on Film Maker Magazine's list of the top 25 Faces of Independent Film in 2006. Although these sources talk about Guerrero's background, accomplishments and projects past and current, they don't actually tell you about the movies themselves other than a brief plot synopsis.

Guerros's work show at film festivals all around America, but none ever appear in major theaters.

If you do a search for "independent filmmakers," you'll have to dig a little deep, but you should run into articles that have been written about the latin Director/Writer. I found her listed on "Film Festival Today," "Hispanic Magazine," "Hispanic Business," and "Filmmaker Magazine."

October 13, 2006

Tahmineh Milani

Tahmineh Milani is an internationally renowned Iranian filmmaker. Born in 1960 in Tabriz, Iran, Milani graduated with a degree in architecture and began writing screenplays and doing behind the scenes work in 1980, a year after the revolution. She is now one of the most famous directors in Iran. On August 26, 2001, Milani was arrested and held by Iran’s Islamic judiciary for several weeks following the release of her film The Hidden Half. The film was the first that dared to deal with the events of the revolution.

Her Films (from the Internet Movie Database)
Atash Bas (2006) aka Cease Fire
The Unwanted Woman (2005)
Vakonesh Panjom (2003) aka The Fifth Reaction
Nimeh-ye penhan (2001) aka The Hidden Half: tells the story of Fereshteh, a wife of a Tehran judge who is charged with investigating a female political prisoner. Fereshteh slips a diary into his suitcase, disclosing her own history of political activism and romantic affair with a married man, hoping her husband will listen to her and the prisoner.
Two Women (1999)
Kakadu (1996)
Digeh che khabar? (1992) aka What Else is New?
Afsane-ye-ah (1991) aka The Legend of the Sigh
Children of Divorce (1989)

I have not seen any of her work yet. However, I have just found that several of her movies are available through Netflix so they are now in my queue.

I decided I would like to find an Iranian filmmaker so I simply entered “Iranian women film directors? into google. I found an article about Iranian women filmmakers and Tahmineh Milani was one of the directors discussed. I googled her name and found several interviews and articles written about her. Although I have not been able to view any of her work yet, it was quite interesting to read some of the interviews. This is a link to one of the better interviews. In it, Milani discusses among other things, the role that the government plays in the film industry and how she approaches her own films. Milani says, “As a person who thinks about the health of my society, I try to make films that will create a movement — for example Two Women — so there will be discussions and debates. I'm even willing to pay the price, really, even if they swear at me, make me look really bad, as long as the issues are talked about and the opponents and proponents exchange their opinions.?

So Yong Kim


So Yong Kim was born in Pusan, Korea in 1968. She moved to the United States when she was 12. She lived in Korea Town with her family until she was 17 when she moved. She met her husband while attending art school in Chicago and since meeting him, they have lived in London, New York, Tokyo, Iceland, and now reside in a secluded house in New York.

So Yong Kim's recent recognition has come from her involvment in the 2006 Sundance Festival where she was showing her film "In Between Days." Although I was unable to find clips from the film, I have learned it is a love story with unknown Korean actors and filmed mostly in Korea. It is a story that, even if you're not Korean or an immigrant you can still relate to it. I was able to find a video interview of So Yong Kim where she talks about her filmwork at the following website...

I originally found information on this director from the Film Maker magazine website. With her involvement in the Sundance Festival, however, I was able to find other information on her somewhat easily. Reading a few reviews on her work on "In Between Days" make it sound as though she could be someone to look for in the future. With her next film already being planned, it will be interesting to continue following her.

For another interview with So Yong Kim go to

Stephanie Scott's Women "of color" Filmmakers


1. Nielu Patekar is an independent filmmaker who also acts, writes, directs, and produces. Patekar noted on her website that she prides herself in coming up with creative concepts for films. She is active in the field of education and is currently writing plays and scripts. She completed her B.Sc. in Physics in 1975 and was awarded 'National Scholarship' a few years before in 1971. Her most recent short film was a film that she scripted and directed and was called "Life is Beautiful". This film was about the success story of a girl who had cerebral palsy. Another film that she has recently completed is a film entitled, "Hello, It's Us", which is about the work of the social activist Baba AmteIn. Patekar also scripted and directed this film. In her free time she practices solar plexus yoga and hattha yoga, which she has been doing since she was seven years old.


2. Nisa Jaie McCoy is a filmmaker, writer, producer, musician, and an actor. She has graphic design-multimedia degree, attended Gov. Magnet School of Arts where she focused on Performing and Visual Arts and is currently working on her B.A of international business in marketing and a minor in communication arts at Old Dominion University. McCoy created her own media and production company called Clear Rain Entertainment, which she is now using to establish new ways to enhance the artistic creativity of international entertainment. Currently she is working on film, writing, and music projects. One of the scripts that she is working on is a dark comedy called "Hollyweird".


3. Madeline Anderson is a film editor, producer, director, and documentary filmmaker. She made her first film in 1961 while she was working for Andover Productions. This film was called Integration Report 1, which documented the first year of American's sit-ins. Anderson produced this film on her own very small budget. Between the years of 1964-1969 she was the associate producer at WNET-TV in New York. In the early 1970's she was the supervising film editor, producer, and director on Sesame Street and The Electric Company. During this time she also founded her own production company called Onyx Productions. In the year 1977 she became the first African American woman to produce a television series called Infinity Factory, which was a math show that targeted inner-city youths. Currently Anderson is the Associate Director of the Office of Black Ministry in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

Mira Nair


1. Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair Was Born in India and Studied there and at Harvard. She began in acting and then switched to directing. Her first films were documentaries. Her films span many different genres including romance, drama and comedy. They also focus on many different cultures. She has worked with Denzel Washington, Uma Thurman Reese Witherspoon and many others including a host of talented actors from her home country of India.

2. Some noteworthy films include
Vanity Fair- an adaptation of the novel set in post colonial England starring Reese Witherspoon
Monsoon Wedding - the story of an upper middle class family in India and the traditions surrounding arranged marriages
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love- set in 16th century India it is a story that explore the caste system, friendship and love
11.09.01- A documentary following an Indian family in Queens and their suffering after a son is lost on Sep.11 and they are later accused of terrorism

3. I love this director. I own both Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair have seen Kama Sutra and are counting down the days till the Namesake comes to theaters. This post was really exciting for me because I never knew how extensive her filmography was, and now I have a very long list of movies I need to watch. Her films are always so incredibly beautiful and have made me fall in love with India. The colors she uses are always so rich and the stories are equally fantastic.
The Namesake

watch this trailer, I defy you not to fall in love with it :)

4. I fell in love with her films freshmen year in my 3rd World Lit class. We watched Monsoon Wedding after reading The God of Small Things (an amazing book everyone should read) I went out and bought it right away. Then I bought Vanity Fair without ever having seen it. I had no idea she directed Kama Sutra but I saw it several years ago when it happened to be on tv.

5. his one was easy for me because she all ready is one of my favorite directors. I really am pleased with her success and that her films are starting to be more publicized.

October 12, 2006


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1.) Yvette Smalls, is a African-American lecturer, folk artist, director, hair sculptor and historian. She has directed film nad music videos. She has done numerous presentations on hair and the culture of hair. She has done presentations of this kind across the country. She currently teaches at Temple University. She is also the current president of The Delaware Valley Chapter of The National Braiders Guild.

2.)"Hair Stories" 1998 40 Min. Color 16mm
This short film uses interviews with members of the African-American community to look at the culture of hair. The film discusses the cultural and historical aspects of beauty in African-American Culture. The main emphasis of the film is on hair and the standards that are set regarding hair in the African-American community. Smalls, interviews people such as Joe Lewis, and Erykah Badu.

3.) I was not able to view the piece. I can imagine that I would enjoy it though. I think that films on subjects like beauty and social norms that have been developed surrounding beauty are more interesting when it looks at multiple sides of the issue. I can imagine that the perspectives given by Lewis, and Badu differ making this a probably quite interesting film.

4.)I found Smalls on "The Women of Color Film Festival" website. I found her bio and information on the film under the category "Past Festivals". The film was screened in 2002, at the festival.

5.) I did not use any of the suggested links to start with so my journey seemed to take awhile. Even though I ended up at one of the recommenede sites I still started at Google and went from there. I was surprised that there was not more on the subject, or that the links I did come up with were not very useful. I found alot of information on the Women of Color Film Festival website. It was a valueable resource with lots of helpful and useful info.

Women of Color Make Film!

1. Since 1991, a Women of Color Film Festival has taken place annually at UCSC. This festival is free and anyone can attend. It features film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and music relating to or created by women of color. More than 300 films have been sceened at this festival over the past 15 years. Each year has a theme to which all of the festival materials relate, at least loosely. This festival, and others like it, are important in gender and racial struggles for equality because they create high visibility forums for women of color to share their art, speak their minds, and work together to create change.
2. One director that has been featured at the UCSC Women of Color Film Festival is Aurora Guerrero. Guerrero was born near San Francisco to immigrants from Mexico. She has created many films, most of them short. Her film Pura Lengua, about a girl who survives hardship by expressing herself through poetry and art, was screened at the 2005 UCSC Women of Color Film Festival, and went on to be a 2005 Sundance Film Festival selection. In 2005 Guerrero also won the HBO/NYILFF short film competition with another film entitled Viernes Girl. Guerrero co-founded Womyn Image Makers, and is still active in making film today.
3. Another director that has participated in the UCSC Women of Color Film Festival is Anita Wen-Shin Chang. Chang's films are generally shorts that tell political messages through the stories of people she knows or has met. She combines political content with aesthetic experimentation. Her most recent short that was screened at the UCSC festival was about how she discovered that her 100 year old Taiwanese grandmother had some radical ideas, and had been an activist when she was younger. As well as making films, Chang teaches university courses.

October 11, 2006

Grace Poore


1. Grace Poore is a South Asian lesbian writer and filmmaker who was born and raised in Malaysia and has been living in the United States for the past 20 years. Poore uses her films to advocate for the end of violence against women and girls. One area she focuses on is the sexual abuse seen in South Asian communities. Along with filmmaking, Poore has worked for the United Nations and the US-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Her films are used in battered women's programs, workshops for community and campus groups, as well as mental health agencies around the world.

2. The two films by Grace Poore that I found are:
The Children We Sacrifice, a documentary about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian child. Poore includes her own story, other survivors' stories, interviews with South Asian mental health professionals, art, and statistical data. The result is a personal as well as historical narrative of this violent aspect of South Asian communities.
Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen, a film about how survivors of domestic violence are trying to change the way the justice system treats victims of domestic violence trying to find help and safety. This is seen through personal narratives, poetry, and music.

3. I was not able to see any of the films, but after reading about her and her films I really want to find them. Here are two sites with her biography and information about her films: and

4. I started looking at the W.O.C festivals from the links on the blog, and dug from there finally ending at the Speakout! website.

5. Even though we had the advantage of the recommended websites, it was still difficult to find information about specific filmmakers and what their work was. I googled Grace Poore and found very little significant information. I had never really thought about the lack of female filmmakers in Hollywood, but after this assignment it is pretty obvious and frustrating. One thing that was helpful, however, is that Poore's films seem pretty well known, which helped the search for information about them.

Tracey Deer

tracey deer.gif

1. Tracey Deer. She is a documentary filmmaker and a Native American. She grew up in the Kahnawake reserve near Quebec. She realized she wanted to do documentaries after working for a local news show and found that there are many real stories that need to be told. She got hired by “Rezolution productions? and promoted to co-director for the film “One more River: The Deal that Split the Cree.? After the success of “One more River? she pitched her own idea, “Mohawk Girls? which deals with three Native American teenagers growing up in the 21st century. “Mohawk Girls? was released in 2006. Deer is committed to expressing the views of Native Americans and to make a difference in how others view Native Americans.
2. Two films:
-“One More River: The Deal that Split the Cree? (Co-director), a documentary that follows the events leading up to a vote on agreements between the Cree nation and Quebec.

-“Mohawk Girls? (Director), the story of teenage Native American girls and the struggles they go through. She focuses on three girls from Kahnawake (her home reserve).

3. I was not able to view either of these films. The Women Making Movies site had two pictures from “Mohawk Girls? but that was all.

4. I found Tracey Deer through on the Native Networks page . I then decided to see if she had any other work so I went to the WMM site and surprisingly she came up right away. A note about “Mohawk Girls? was on the home page.

5. I knew that I wanted to look up a Native American filmmaker so I google searched it. A search for “Native American women directors? did not work but when I took out ‘women’ I got one useful link to the “Native Networks? page. It was difficult to find any film or video clips from the movies. The only things I found were interviews with her. Her homepage is just a link to email her.

Iraqi Filmmaker

Amidst exploding bricks and death threats, Baghdad's Independent Film and Television College has sprung defiantly to life, teaching young Iraqis to wield cameras in place of guns. The school, established in 2004, is the first "free-of-charge film-training centre" in the city. Its goal is to train citizens in the art of video making, while providing access to equipment.

The first class of students to graduate has produced four films. I'll focus on a Kirkuk woman, Hiba Bassem's creation.

Bassem's 35-minute tale recites her experience in Baghdad after the war, when she returns to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. Through the year she tackles school, finding a home, dealing with her family, finding a job, and how "to come to terms with her position as a woman on her own."

The film won the Silver Prize at March's Al-Jazeera Film Festival.

Kasi Lemmons


Gina Prince-Bythewood


Gina Prince-Bythewood

Continue reading "Gina Prince-Bythewood" »

October 8, 2006

Assignment: Research Women "Of Color" (& Indie Women) Filmmakers

"Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, disabled women, lesbians, old women-as well as white, economically privileged, heterosexual women."

-Barbara Smith, ed., But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies, 1986.

Are you still wondering about feminism(s)?, read some quotes - here

Want to remind yourself about "Women of Color Feminisms", read here and here

Some great articles (available online) about Women of Color Feminisms - here

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Assignment Details:

For this blog post, you are to research women "of color" filmmakers (or independent women filmmakers (meaning no Hollywood $ to make their movies)). First, consider what you've seen/who you may know - search names, film titles, key words and see if there's something you have seen. Second, browse through the many links on this blog (right sidebar, scrolling down). There are links to feminist distributors (WMM), many w.o.c. film festivals, and some sites like "Sisters in Cinema" (about Black women filmmakers). Magazines like - Filmmaker often do "best of" lists and articles like this one (which includes a number of new/emerging filmmakers of color).

Post Requirements:
1 - name, short bio, background info on filmmaker (and image if you can find it)
2 - names, short summary of any of their work
3 - any reflections on their work (if you are able to view), and post link to the work and/or homepage
4 - where you've found them (and/or where their work shows)
5 - how easy/difficult it was for you to find these women (the where are the women ?)

* Post by NOON on Monday, 10/16!

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Rachel's W.O.C. Filmmaker Post - EXAMPLE

1 - Filmmaker: Eunhee Cho (Korean, US based)

Korean-born Eunhee Cho, 29, began her first feature, Inner Circle Line, as an MFA project at the Art Institute of Chicago. Blending an experimental narrative — the synchronous story of a man (a depressed subway operator) and a woman (a techno DJ), both named Youngju — with a melancholy DV-shot depiction of downtown Seoul, Inner Circle Line is an international hybrid. From its Chicago origins it went on to attract production funding from the Korean Film Council and postproduction funding in the U.S. after Cho met producer Alan Chan at the IFP Rough Cuts Lab.

2 - Inner Circle Line seems to be her only work listed anywhere. This is a student film and has screened at many film festivals like SXSW and AAIFF.

3 - Watch the trailer here


I found the trailer visually moving. I'm not clear on the narrative (story), beyond there are two characters - one male and one female - who share the same name. She's a DJ. What moves me most is the visuals (the cinematography), the movement, rhythm and pacing (the editing). I am a sucker for beautifully shot llandscapes and movement.

4 - I found Eunhee through Filmmaker magazine's "Top 25" to watch article. I read this magazine often and love to see who is coming out of film school. In this 25, I was excited to see one of my old students (Ham Tran) and lots of emerging women filmmakers. I chose Eunhee because her work sounded really intriguing so I went to her website to view. Unfortunately, most filmmakers in the festival circuit see little light of day. With alternative DVD rental houses (like Netflix), I'm hoping she gets picked up for some kind of distribution and I can see this film somewhere I can access.

5 - It was easy for me to find many "w.o.c. filmmakers". This is my professional field, my area of research and interest, and I am a w.o.c. filmmaker so I know where to find women making movies, like me!