20133701 Chestnut StreetInternational House12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Howard University has long been referred to as “The Mecca” for many reasons. Its illustrious alumni fill the highest ranks in almost every profession. Over the past several years, film department alumni have been steadily winning awards and gaining recognition most notably for cinematography but also in directing and producing. This small department—the only of its kind at an HBCU—now celebrating the 30th year of offering the MFA, has become known for a specific politically-charged aesthetic in which students are encouraged to push beyond the boundaries of conventional cinema to re-present Black bodies masterfully and beautifully. In this panel participants will discuss the legacy of the program, the philosophy of their work and the future of Black film.
Haile Gerima is an independent filmmaker and professor of film at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Gerima emigrated to the United States in 1967. Following in the footsteps of his father, a dramatist and playwright. Gerima studied acting in Chicago before entering UCLA film school, where his exposure to Latin American films inspired him to mine his own cultural legacy. After completing his thesis film, Bush Mama (1975), Gerima received international acclaim with Harvest: 3000 Years (1976), an Ethiopian drama that won the Grand Prize at the Locarno film festival.
After the award-winning Ashes & Embers (1982) and the documentaries Wilmington 10—U.S.A 10,000 (1978) and After Winter: Sterling Brown (1985), Gerima filmed his epic, Sankofa (1993). This formally ambitious tale of a plantation slave revolt was ignored by U.S. distributors, but Gerima tapped into African American communities, and booked sold-out screenings in independent theaters around the country.
In 1996, Gerima founded the Sankofa Video and Bookstore in Washington, DC., a cultural and intellectual space that offers opportunities for self-expression, interaction, discussion and analysis through community events such as film screenings, book signings, scholar forums and artist showcases. Gerima continues to distribute and promote his own films, including his most recent festival success, Teza (2008), which won the Jury and Best Screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival. He also lectures and conducts workshops in alternative screenwriting and directing both within the U.S. and internationally.
Bradford Young graduated from Howard University, where he studied under the tutelage of filmmaker Haile Gerima.
For filmmaker Dee Rees, he has been cinematographer on the short films Pariah and Colonial Gods; the documentary feature Eventual Salvation; and the feature Pariah. Mr. Young’s work on the latter earned him the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s [U.S. Dramatic Competition] Excellence in Cinematography Award
He had earlier been cited as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” for 2009, reflecting his work on Tina Mabry’s Mississippi Damned and Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza’s Entre nos. Mr. Young was recently cinematographer on another independent feature, Andrew Dosunmu’s Restless City, and he is currently prepping to shoot Sebastian Silva’s Second Child.
He has also been the director of photography on television commercials and music videos, including for Seu Jorge.
Loren Hankin is a proud graduate of Howard University where she spent her years between the Film Department in the School of Communications and the Department of Theatre Arts. Loren’s passion for film and theatre has led her to careers in editing and acting.
Her editing career began at the legendary Roland House post-production facility in Washington D.C., where Loren began as an intern and rapidly rose to assistant editor within two months. As an editor at Roland House, Loren worked on a range of projects from promos and short films to long-form documentaries. As a freelancer, she edited award-winning filmmaker Haile Gerima’s feature film TEZA which won Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival. Loren also worked on several independent films and with clients such as The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BET, TBS and VH1.
As ‘Loren Lillian’, she made her feature-acting debut in the critically acclaimed film PARIAH; which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is winner of the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and was released theatrically by Focus Features. Most recently she was seen in Nickelodeon’s “How to Rock” and has a lead role in the new romantic-dramedy web series, “Entangled” – about two women who become roommates after separating from their partners.
In addition to on-screen roles, Loren has performed in numerous theatre productions in both New York and Los Angeles. She portrayed the famous writer, Zora Neale Hurston, in “The Forgotten” at the Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles and has performed staged readings with The Classical Theatre of Harlem.
Loren currently resides in Los Angeles.
Najma Nuriddin of Nsoroma Films is a native Californian with a B.A in Speech and Communications from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Fine Arts in Film from Howard University. While in her masters program, Najma has shot, directed, edited and produced various film projects.
Shaw Speaks (2008) Najma’s first short documentary to shoot, edit, write and produce as a graduate student that won best documentary at the Howard University Paul Robeson Awards; focuses on a neighborhood in Washington D.C. that has and is experiencing gentrification. Art of Life (2009) An independent project written, directed and edited by Najma was a personal story about balancing work as an artist and life in regards to our personal relationships with our significant others. Brotha -N- Arms (2010) This experimental documentary, a complete one woman production by Najma is a glimpse into the lives of two best friend artists and their journey in this world as they continue to work towards their goal of full time professional artists but remaining true to themselves all the while. Najma’s most recent film, A Lovers Call (2012) directed, written, edited and produced by Najma, is a short poetic narrative about a potential love between two persons on two different spiritual paths.
Dr. Montré Missouri, Moderator
Professor Missouri is a filmmaker and film studies researcher who has recently completed her Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London where her work centered on the intersection race, sex and Afro-religiosity in the cinematic construction of national identity. She has also produced documentary and narrative films in England, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Ghana and the U.S.