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Daughters of the Dust

  • Directed by Julie Dash
  • United States, 1991, 112 mins., English

The first film directed by an African-American woman to receive a theatrical release, Daughters of the Dust is one of the cornerstone works of the L.A. Rebellion movement and with it’s Sundance Film Festival premiere signaled Dash as one of American cinema’s most incisive voices. The film follows the Peazants, a Gullah/Geechee (coastal Georgia) family, who navigate a crucial generational divide—the younger family members long to move north in search of opportunity, while the matriarch (Cora Lee Day) implores them to stay, in hopes of carrying on their way of life into future generations. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Arthur Jafa, and featuring a poignant cross-generational voiceover that delves deep into the minds of the family, Daughters of the Dust, inducted into the National Film Registry in 2004, has influenced subsequent generations of strong individual voices. “I think independent filmmakers, black or white, at that time we were exploring new ways of telling the stories that we already knew. We were re-framing it . . . Can we change up now? It’s been 60, 75 years of the same thing over and over again.”—Julie Dash.

Please join us after the April 8 screening for an intimate panel discussion about the film and Julie Dash’s work with Ariella Tai and Kalimah Abioto. The discussion will take place in the Stevens Room, adjacent to the Whitsell Auditorium, and will run from roughly 6:30-8pm. Light refreshments will be available.

Ariella Tai is a Portland-based film scholar and programmer from Queens, New York. Their research stretches across the Black Diaspora, focused particularly on agency through aesthetics in representations of gender and queerness. They programmed the 2015 Portland Black Film Festival and “they said don’t bring her home,” a film and performance series supported by a 2015 Precipice Fund award. Most recently they curated the film and performance series “Resistance on Film” for the Cascade Festival of African Films.

Kalimah Abioto is a filmmaker and performance artist who makes films centered around dreams, sexuality and the nexus between Black people, freedom and the natural-spirit worlds. Kalimah recently completed “Sight”, an experimental film about three friends who travel across dimensions. She is currently working in Portland, OR, Memphis, TN and the unknown places.

Genres: Drama