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Michelle Materre in Black Camera

Michelle Materre

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Capture and Release: Curating and Exhibiting the East Coast Black Independent Film Movement, 1968-1992

Vol. 10, No.2 (Spring 2019), pp. 149-158

This article examines the unique points of view of two film series that played a major role in documenting and exhibiting independent Black film's artistic development during a distinctive time period. The rationale behind “Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York 1968–1986” co-curated with Jake Perlin at Lincoln Center Film Society, was to highlight the work of New York-based Black independents, activists, one and all, who were creating high-quality work at a time when minority film production was not supported and frequently suppressed.

While the critically acclaimed work of Kathleen Collins, Madeline Anderson, and Carolyn Johnson were included in “Tell It Like It Is,” there were considerably more women directors of that era who were not adequately represented while producing equally as important and unique work, hence the development of the series “One Way or Another: Black Women's Cinema 1970–1991” co-curated with Nellie Killian at BAMcinématek. “One Way or Another” was designed to bring attention to the marginalization of Black women filmmakers due to institutional racism and sexism. It remains obvious that Black women filmmakers have struggled to gain a foothold in the film industry for decades.

Both these series are critiqued, defined, and examined from the standpoint of their importance in bringing the important work back to life from the amazing filmmakers of this noteworthy era.