On Sunday, June 23, join an intimate crowd of film lovers as they settle into Brooklyn Fire Proof and watch the documentary Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights. The film “focuses on black women’s marginalization between the male-dominated Black Power movement, and the white and middle class Feminist movements of the 1960s and 70s, as well as the resulting mobilization of black and other women of color into their own collective Feminist movement,” according to the director, Nevline Nnaji. The film is Nevlin Nnaji’s first feature length documentary and was first screened with Melissa Harris Perry in 2012, the MSNBC show host and producer.
Nevline Nnaji currently lives in Brooklyn by way of Northampton, MA. Her work uses experimental and nonlinear storytelling devices and focuses on the transformative experiences of black female characters. This past week, I sat down with Nev and asked her a few questions:
Why did you decide to make this film? Why is this film important?
I read Elaine Brown’s book, “A Taste of Power,” and was shocked at all the abuses Black Panther women endured in the organization. I was angry that I had studied Civil Rights in school for most of my academic career, yet I’d never heard stories from black women, and the unique struggles they went through. Also, as a black woman who receives discrimination in my own life, it was important for me to highlight these stories.
What type of films are you interested in making in the future? Any projects you’re currently working on?
I am inspired to create experimental and nonlinear films, and I definitely want to dabble more in animation. My next film will have a black female protagonist, and there will be some theme surrounding sexual assault and/or harassment.
I do not want to create works where the story harps on black female grief and loss, without some sort of redemption. I experienced redemption, and so the journey of my characters will reflect my own struggles and sense of empowerment. Hopefully that will empower and inspire others.
Did you participate in The Negress event?
I screened my short film The Watchers at the event, “I Am A Negress of Noteworthy Talent,” alongside four other talented and emerging black women filmmakers. I can honestly say that was one of the highlights of my journey in filmmaking, because I finally felt like my voice and my work fit in somewhere. I felt like I found community amongst other artists like me, as well as a place of belonging. That was important to me, because much of my journey as a filmmaker has been isolating.
What can people expect this evening?
At 6PM, we will begin screening the film, which runs for approximately 80 minutes. Afterwards, I will be hosting a Q&A and talkback with the audience to answer any questions or comments people may have about the film.