Digital Moving Image Salon Film Showcase Explores Stories of Challenge and Triumph

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Four documentaries that chronicle the experiences of women of color as war veterans, reproductive rights activists, domestic workers, and job seekers in the midst of an economic recession will be the subjects of the Eighth Annual Spelman College Digital Moving Image Salon Student Documentary Film Showcase on April 26, 2012.

Presented by Spelman students, each of the documentaries were conceptualized, researched and filmed during the past two semesters. In keeping with DMIS’ focus on digital media platforms, the films were prepared for viewing on mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets, as well as for movie theaters and TV.

“This year, Spelman student filmmakers have taken on weighty subjects,” said Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., award-winning filmmaker, founder and director of DMIS.  “It’s an indication they are paying attention to the bigger world around them and stepping outside of their comfort zones. Unemployment among young African-American women, the military, a woman’s right to choose as it relates to her body, and true-to-life experiences as domestics are all hotly debated issues.”

In addition to the screenings, DMIS Achievement Awards will be presented to Atlanta’s griot photographer Sue Ross and film director Jessie Maple Patton in recognition of their pioneering contributions to African-American independent cinema.

The film screenings and award presentations will take place at 7 p.m. at Midtown Art Cinema (931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta).  The event is free and open to the public.

 For more information call 404-270-5625 or visit www.spelman.edu/dmis.

 Documentary Descriptions

African-American women have served in every U.S. war effort and yet they have never been the face of the hero. “Invisible Heroes: African American Women in the Military” features African-American women veterans who continue to struggle with the casualties of war upon returning home.  Featured in the documentary is Shoshana Johnson, the first African-American female prisoner of war.  Producers: Carina-Michelle Francis and Jamiere Smith.

“Policing Our Bodies” takes a riveting look at the Radiance Foundation’s 2010 anti-abortion advertisement campaign in Atlanta. Started in an effort to stop abortion, the ads ended up attacking African-American women and their right to choose. The film highlights how women banded together to fight for their reproductive rights. Producers: Joyya Baines and Thandiwe Gibson-Hunter.

“America’s Surrogate Mothers” explores the lives of African-American women domestic workers who work independently in homes and in commercial settings.  Their lives are juxtaposed with the portrayal of domestic workers in the media. Producers: Hope Harris and Talecia Tucker.

After excelling academically – graduating with honors – African-American women of the millennial generation try to understand why they are unemployed or underemployed in this documentary titled, “Labor Market Warriors.” The film highlights the inequities African-American women face while simultaneously depicting the impact of their being unemployed or underemployed. Featured in the film is the nationally-known economist, author and former president of Bennett College, Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D.  Producers: Brittany Fennell and Amber Watson.

DMIS Achievement Award Recipients
Although Sue Ross is known as the City of Atlanta’s official photographer, few realize she is also one of the first to bring African-American independent films to Atlanta. In the early 1980s, Ross was instrumental in making certain the City of Atlanta welcomed a generation of filmmakers, many of whom were making their first films.  She created and marketed a film festival, organized workshops, and worked as an advocate on behalf of filmmakers. Today, as Atlanta continues to build on its reputation as “Hollywood South,” DMIS wants to make certain Ross’ contributions are included as part of Atlanta’s film legacy.

Jessie Maple Patton was the first African-American woman to be admitted into the International Photographers of Motion Picture & Television union in 1974. Despite her membership, Maple Patton had to sue the union and the major television networks to get work. In 1981, she directed her first feature, “Will,” one of the first feature films directed by an African-American woman. In addition to her work as a camera woman and film director, Maple Patton, along with her husband, Leroy Patten, a director of photography, established a screening space in their Harlem brownstone in the 1980s to make certain African-American filmmakers would always have a space to screen their films.

About the Digital Moving Image Salon
The Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS) began at Spelman College in the fall of 2004.  Founded by internationally award-winning filmmaker and interactive digital media artist, Ayoka Chenzira, it is a mechanism through which the College encourages and supports the growing number of students interested in creating stories for digital media platforms. In 2012, DMIS was nominated for Best Fine Arts Program by The Center for HBCU Media Advocacy. For more information, visit: www.spelman.edu/dmis.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts an 83 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis; authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 85 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 11:1. Approximately 2,100 students attend Spelman. Spelman College has been ranked as the number one HBCU for five consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report; number 62 among Best Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report; and 12th for Best Career Services by The Princeton Review. For more information, visit: www.spelman.edu.


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