Articles: Sisters in Cinema




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Sakari Alighandhi

In an industry that seems like it has no role models for many African American women to aspirer to, Yvonne Welbon proves perception wrong.

Sisters in Cinema, is an enlightening documentary of Black women filmmakers. Yvonne Welbon goes on a search to find other women filmmakers after only knowing of one other Black filmmaker besides herself.

This documentary tells about the struggles that many Black women filmmakers have faced and still face in a predominantly white male dominated industry. Welbon introduces us to Black women directors, producers and filmmakers from past to present.

With the average film costing $50 million to make, Welbon wonders how Black filmmakers are funding their projects. As these filmmakers are introduced, they tell their stories of trail and tribulation and discuss how, so many times, they are the ones who must produce, direct, market and distribute their films. These filmmakers also discuss how many gave up their rights and what images had to be changed just to market their film. Because of the lack of integrity when it comes to producing and marketing African American films, many of these women have preferred to raise their owe money so their messages about African Americans are not misconstrued. Some have raised funds for many years before starting productions.

This documentary is intriguing in that many African American women are and have been in the industry since as early as 1920. Zora Neal Hurston, Maya Angelou, Kasi Lemmons and Cheryl Dunye are just a few filmmakers featured in this documentary who relate their perspective on women in cinema. It gives light to filmmaking and the women who have worked in the dark for so long to tell their stories and be recognized as filmmakers.

This documentary takes you from inside the Hollywood system to those on the outside - independent filmmakers who relate their filmmaking experience despite the lack of help from Hollywood. This film doesn’t take away from the many struggles that African American males go through, but enlightens our awareness of Black women in the business. The thoughts and reflections on choices made, give an in-depth viewpoint into what it takes for African American filmmakers to get their work out to the public. Their regrets, mistakes and their triumphs are inspirational to anyone who has ever fought for anything.

The world premiere will air on Black Starz Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004.

Encore dates:
Mon, Feb 9, 7:00AM
Thr, Feb 12, 10:35AM
Thr, Feb 12, 8:00PM
Wed, Feb 18, 9:20AM
Wed, Feb 18, 3:45PM
Mon, Feb 23, 8:30AM
Sat, Feb 28, 12:40PM
Sat, Feb 28, 6:45PM
Sun, Feb 29, 5:20AM
Sun, Mar 14, 11:45AM


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