Where Are The Brown Women Filmmakers?

A weekly spotlight on inspiring female directors of color and their latest projects.


Haifa al-Mansour
I have been hoping her film “Wadjda” would continue shining on the festival circuit ever since I saw the premiere at Telluride last year. It is a sweet, yet complex story of a young girl named Wadjda who simply wants a bike. Fun fact: al-Mansour’s first fiction feature is also the first feature to be directed by a female Saudi filmmaker and filmed in Saudi Arabia. Definitely a feat to be celebrated, folks. After playing last week at Beirut Film Festival, the film will screen next at Tribeca Film Festival in April.



Ava DuVernay
The Sundance award-winning director (and my hero) is currently a finalist for the Heineken Affinity Award sponsored by Tribeca Film Institute. You can vote once a day, evey day until March 29th. DuVernay recently tweeted 100% of the $20,000 prize would go directly to AFFRM if she won, which just adds to the long list of reasons why she’s got my vote. She is also putting the DIT  (do-it-together) power in the hands of film lovers everywhere who can now organize theatrical screenings of her film “Middle of Nowhere” through Tugg Inc. The first one happened this week in Austin, TX. Woot!


Chinonye Chukwu
Chinonye is a Philadelphia-based filmmaker I began following on Twitter through the production on her debut feature “Alaskaland”. The film follows a Nigerian brother and sister in Fairbanks, Alaska reconnecting after a family tragedy. I’ve enjoyed reading her updates and was so happy to learn the film will be released by New World Distribution. Congrats!


Deepa Mehta
I was first introduced to the powerful work of Deepa Mehta when I watched her “Elements Trilogy” (Fire, Earth, & Water) in my college film courses. Mehta’s latest Indian epic is an adaption of author Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children”, which I was also able to see at Telluride. It’s great to see more festival premieres announced: Dallas International Film Festival (April 4-14th), New York Indian Film Festival (April 10th) and Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (April 14th) plus a theatrical U.S. release beginning in NYC on April 26.

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