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Linda Goode Bryant

Filmmaker and nonprofit executive Linda Goode Bryant was born on July 21, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio to Floyd Goode and Josephine Goode. Bryant attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received her B.A. degree in studio art with a minor in drama in 1972. She went on to earn her M.B.A degree in management from Columbia University in New York, New York in 1980.

After graduation from Spelman College, Bryant moved to New York City and was a fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and worked in the education department of The Studio Museum in Harlem. In 1974, Bryan founded the Just Above Midtown gallery. The following year, Just Above Midtown gallery hosted the first New York solo exhibition for artist Davis Hammons. Bryant’s gallery also helped to launch the careers of artists such as Senga Nengudi, Maren Hassinger and Houston Conwill. In 1978, Bryant collaborated with Marcy S. Philips to write Contextures. In May 1982, Bryant and Janet Henry published the first issue of Black Currant, a publication that focused on the work of artists affiliated with JAM. From 1990 to 1991, Bryant worked as a senior policy analyst for economic development in New York under Mayor David Dinkins. In 2003, Bryant, with Laura Poitras, co-directed Flag Wars, a film about the gentrification of the Olde Towne East neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio during the late 1990s. The documentary won a Peabody Award in 2003 and its success led to Bryant receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship the following year. Apart from directing, Bryant was also a part of the film Colored Frames, a documentary that looked at the influences and experiences of black artists, over a fifty year period.

In 2003, Bryant founded the Active Citizen Project, which focused on the use of art and media to encourage teenagers to bring about social change. Through the Active Citizen Project, Open Caucus and Project EATS were established to engage teenagers in local political issues. Project EATS was founded in 2008, in the wake of the global food crisis, and focused on training urban communities to practice sustainable farming within their neighborhoods.

Bryant has one son, Kenneth Bryant, and three grandchildren.

Linda Goode Bryant was interviewed by The HistoryMakerson May 5, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.100

Sex

Female

Interview Date

05/05/2017

Last Name

Bryant

Maker Category
Middle Name

Goode

Organizations
Schools

Douglas Alternative Elementary School

Franklin Junior High School

Spelman College

Columbia University

First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

BRY05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any beach

Favorite Quote

Use what you have to create what you need.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/21/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Avocados

Short Description

Filmmaker and nonprofit executive Linda Goode Bryant (1949 - ) founded Just Above Midtown Gallery, was the co-director for the 2003 documentary Flag Wars, for which she won a Peabody Award, and was the founding director of Project EATS.

Employment

Active Citizen Project, Inc.

Zula Pearl Films

Asset Consulting Group

Just Above Midtown Gallery

Studio Museum in Harlem

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Favorite Color

Blues and browns

Lisa Cortes

Executive producer Lisa Cortes was born in 1965 in Milford, Connecticut. Although she was born in Connecticut, Cortes spent much of her youth on the streets of Harlem. She attended Milford Academy and then enrolled in Yale University where she majored in American Studies. After graduating she went into the music business where she worked with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, the founders of Def Jam. Cortes then joined the staff at Mercury Records. While at Mercury Records, she worked with stars such as Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight. In 1994, Cortes was offered her own label called Loose Cannon. Loose Cannon lasted for two years until it was shut down on October 31, 1996, shortly after Cortes sued Mercury records for sexual and racial discrimination.

After leaving the music industry, Cortes turned her interests to film. She enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York and later the New York Film Academy. A producer and close friend, Lee Daniels, was producing Monster’s Ball and Cortes and Daniels together subsequently collaborated on movies such as Woodsman (2004), Shadowboxer (2005), Tennessee (2008), and Precious (2009).

Cortes founded her own company, Cortes Films in 2010. Cortes Films has produced two films Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman: a Portrait of My Mother, a film about Mickalene Thomas’ mother and her struggle with aging and kidney disease, and Kwaku Ananse a film about West African fables of Kwaku Ananse and a young woman named, Nyan Koronhwea, attending her estranged father’s funeral while trying to come to terms with her father’s double life.

Heralded as a “disturbing masterwork of human survival” by The Hollywood Reporter,
Precious
won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Precious was also nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two; and was praised by publications such as Variety and The New York Times, and garnered multiple Golden Globe nominations.

Accession Number

A2013.188

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/14/2013

Last Name

Cortes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Maria Christina

Occupation
Schools

New York Film Academy

Yale University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lisa

Birth City, State, Country

Milford

HM ID

COR04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lamu Island, Kenya

Favorite Quote

Count it all joy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/24/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sancocho

Short Description

Filmmaker Lisa Cortes (1960 - ) began her career at Def Jam records, and then turned to filmmaking where she produced Precious (2009).

Employment

Cortes Films

K2 Pictures

Lee Daniels Entertainment

Magic Lantern Productions

Loose Cannon

Mercury Records

Def Jam/Rush Recordings

Favorite Color

Green

Orlando Bagwell

Documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Donald Bagwell, Sr. and Barbara Jones Bagwell in a family of seven. He attended Blessed Sacrament School in Baltimore. In 1969, his family moved to Nashua, New Hampshire, where he was a member of the Nashua High School football team. After graduating from high school, Bagwell pursued his B.S. degree in film at the Boston University. He completed his undergraduate studies in 1973 and furthered his education by earning his M.A. degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University in 1975.

In the early 1970s, Bagwell worked for the United South End Settlements (USES) and was active in the organization’s after school program. He later became a substitute teacher for the South Boston Public School District where he taught political science and history. Bagwell was contracted by Boston’s WGBH-TV to work as a film producer in 1975. In 1988, he served as a staff producer for the PBS weekly program Frontline. That same year, he produced a documentary on the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.’s presidential campaign entitled Running with Jesse. In 1989, Bagwell founded the Boston based media company, Roja Productions, Inc. and produced Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad. From 1991 until 1994, Bagwell was the executive vice president for the Eyes on the Prize PBS documentary series on the Civil Rights Movement. He produced episodes of the Blackside series entitled Mississippi: Is this America? and Ain’t Scared of Your Jails for which he received the Alfred DuPont Award and the Peabody Award. In 1995, Bagwell served as the executive producer for the not-for-profit WGBH Educational Foundation, and in 1999, he produced the six hour documentary called Africans in America: America’s Journey through Slavery.

Bagwell became the program officer for the Ford Foundation’s Media Arts and Culture unit in 2004. He works with the unit’s director and oversees international operations to accomplish the foundation’s goals.

Orlando Bagwell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.339

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/17/2007

Last Name

Bagwell

Maker Category
Schools

Nashua High School South

Blessed Sacrament School

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Orlando

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BAG01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

You Know.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/2/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Berkeley

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potatoes

Short Description

Documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell (1951 - ) made Peabody Award-winning films; served as a staff producer for the PBS weekly program, Frontline; produced a documentary on the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.’s presidential campaign, "Running with Jesse," in 1988; and served as the executive producer for the not-for-profit WGBH Educational Foundation.

Employment

United South End Settlements

WGBH-TV

WNET-TV

WETA-TV

Blackside, Inc.

Ford Foundation

WGBH TV

Harriet Tubman House

Blackside Productions

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Orlando Bagwell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell remembers St. Clair Bourne

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell describes his maternal great-grandmother and great-aunts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his extended family members

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell describes his community in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell talks about his parents' return to college, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell talks about his parents' return to college, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Orlando Bagwell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his daily activities in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell describes the Blessed Sacrament School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell recalls his teachers at the Blessed Sacrament School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell remembers the holidays with his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell describes the Civil Rights Movement in Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell describes the Wilson Park neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell talks about the political climate of his neighborhood

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell reflects upon attitudes in the black community during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell recalls the television and radio shows of his youth

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell describes his involvement in neighborhood sports leagues

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell recalls moving to Nashua, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell remembers Nashua High School in Nashua, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell describes his decision to attend Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his high school guidance counselor

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell describes his religious involvement in Nashua, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell remembers Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Orlando Bagwell describes his decision to pursue a career in film

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell talks about civil rights leaders

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell remembers the film program at Boston University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell describes his role at the United South End Settlements in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell recalls teaching film at the United South End Settlements

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell describes his coursework at Boston University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell recalls working with PBS and WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell describes his independent films

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell remembers pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his aspiration to become a filmmaker

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Orlando Bagwell reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Orlando Bagwell reflects upon his work at the Ford Foundation

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
Orlando Bagwell describes his decision to pursue a career in film
Orlando Bagwell describes his role at the United South End Settlements in Boston, Massachusetts
Transcript
I took my second semester, sophomore year, and I took off. And I think it was also that I was feeling that school wasn't--I couldn't make it connect with what I, I couldn't make it make sense or have a relevancy to me. And that was a tough year because I was, you know, kind of floating. I had an idea I was gonna work, you know, travel, and my sister and I were living together, and I was working and I lost my job. And, you know, it's just wasn't--trying to live in an apartment too and living in Boston [Massachusetts]. And my parents [Barbara Jones Bagwell and Donald Bagwell, Sr.], when I left school, they decided they weren't gonna pay anymore for me. So if I wanted to get back to school, I had to do it on my own. And, and it was the summer of the semester, and then the summer. And that summer, I had hooked up with this place [United South End Settlements, Boston, Massachusetts] and had, through a girlfriend, and said that I was gonna work at this camp for the summer. And it was with this Harriet Tubman House [Boston, Massachusetts] that was a community center in the South End of Boston. And that was a breakthrough for me because suddenly I was, I was with young people and what I believed in and everything. So I could make work and make sense, you know, on a work level. And so I started working there, and I decided I was gonna get myself back in school, and I had been--I had bought a still camera and had been taking pictures and doing some slide shows and things like that. And one of my, and my roommate in freshman year was in the school of communications [Boston University College of Communication, Boston, Massachusetts] and was in film school. And, not in the film school, the school of communications, and he said to me--and I had always worked with films in high school, teaching, using them for teaching things, for teaching with my CYO work, Catholic Youth Organization work, and had brought, done a presentation in my sociology class with films about conditions in schools in urban areas. And my friend said, you really under--you really seem to know something about movies, and when you talk about them, and I really didn't know that and feel that way because I didn't really go to movies and stuff, you know. But he got my attention, and I decided I'd try and get back in school in the film school, which was a very small program in the communications school. I think they had like ten students, and I got in.$How soon do you start working with children after school in film?$$Well, that happened immediately actually 'cause it was a funny thing. I came out of that summer as a counselor, and the center asked me to come back and work with their after-school program. And I started working there, and no sooner had I gotten there, that the woman who was running it quit. And they offered me a full-time job running the program, which meant that I would work most of my hours in the evening. But I would, the days when I didn't have classes at school [Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts], I would spend my after- my days there, you know, working through the planning and the preparation and the, you know, just all the things to kind of set up the program. And it was really working in a center that really didn't have a lot of programs coming out of it. But what had happened is, once they gave me the job to run the after-school program, it didn't have a lot of kids coming to it either. But when they asked me to do it, I noticed that there is a lot of new housing projects that were built by the church in the neighborhood--there was a church on the corner, and they built a lot of low-income housing on Columbus Avenue. And I started recruiting from those homes. And then I, I petitioned for a little bit of money from the settlement house organization [United South End Settlements, Boston, Massachusetts] that ran this particular house [Harriet Tubman House, Boston, Massachusetts], and we renovated the house. And, you know, sanded and cleaned all the floors repainted the whole place and fixed it up so that somebody would want to come and be there and upgraded our offices and we started recruiting kids in and started bringing in a whole group of new kids. And suddenly the place was full of kids and teenagers. And we started a teen program too, and we then built a stage down on the corner and, you know, and started working and built, transformed a lot of the lots that were empty there into playgrounds and stuff like that, and started turning it into a new place. And then I started, I worked through the schools to get, to work with all the different schools in the area to kind of work with them to get our statuses up as an employer of work-study students, so I could recruit students in work-study programs. And I started building a cadre of teachers who were doing after school classrooms, teaching in math and reading and then other kinds of arts and other kinds of things. And then I taught a, I built a dark room on the top floor and taught photography and started doing a video class there.

Shari Carpenter

Filmmaker Shari Carpenter was born on July 14, 1961 in Washington, D.C. She is one of the first African American script supervisors to join the film union Local 161. Her mother, Vivian Carpenter, was a homemaker and her father, Horace Carpenter, was an aspiring artist. As a child, Carpenter was a natural storyteller and wrote several short stories. The 1970s blaxploitation era films also inspired her. She received her diploma from McKinley High School in 1979 and her B.F.A. degree from New York University in 1984.

Carpenter’s career began in 1990 when she became the script supervisor on Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. She has worked on most of his films since then including Malcolm X in 1992 and Inside Man in 2005. As a filmmaker she has written and directed several short films including The Assistant and Since Lisa, which won several awards including Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and the Black American Cinema Society Awards. Her films were selected to appear on BET Jazz’s The Best Shorts. Carpenter’s debut feature film, Kali’s Vibe, won the Jury Award and the Audience Award for Best Feature in 2002 at the Denver Pan African Film Festival. It was also nominated for the first annual Gordon Parks Award and won the Martha’s Flavor Fest Screenplay Competition.

Carpenter has received grants from the Eastman Fund as well as the New York State Council for the Arts. She has appeared as a panelist on the Black Filmmakers in the Director’s Chair Africana.com Roundtable. She also teaches several seminars on directing actors, screenwriting and script supervision. In 2004, she won the Oregon Writers Colony fiction award for her short story, Ashes. Carpenter currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Shari Carpenter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.037

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/31/2007

Last Name

Carpenter

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

McKinley Technology High School

New York University

Jesse LaSalle Elementary School

LaSalle-Backus Education Center

Cedar Grove Preparatory Academy

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Shari

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

CAR12

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any age with an interest in film and television production, script supervision, and screenwriting.

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - 0 - $500

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Any age with an interest in film and television production, script supervision, and screenwriting.

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Greece

Favorite Quote

A Man's Reach Should Exceed His Grasp.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/14/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

French Fries

Short Description

Filmmaker Shari Carpenter (1961 - ) was one of the first African American script supervisors to join the film union Local 161.

Employment

40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks

John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:1571,18:2124,26:2519,32:5600,76:5916,81:6706,92:7575,108:8444,129:9155,139:12552,214:13342,226:24590,457:25640,483:26165,492:38270,739:38690,747:39110,754:40650,796:42960,856:49070,984:49556,994:50204,1093:50420,1122:56720,1275:59670,1364:61794,1432:62325,1443:65558,1461:65854,1466:86288,1881:91755,1997:92535,2012:95785,2092:96370,2108:96630,2113:98385,2135:99165,2153:100530,2177:119989,2578:122687,2649:123326,2672:124746,2707:127799,2769:129929,2826:130568,2844:133920,2855:136329,2883:137716,2966:138081,2972:143575,3079:155463,3255:171188,3660:174644,3746:175092,3755:175732,3770:183668,4028:188373,4053:189083,4066:191497,4147:195964,4199:196470,4209$0,0:1909,30:3486,52:4233,61:4565,66:17288,173:28694,351:29059,357:31103,423:34023,521:34315,537:34607,542:37308,596:44919,689:46671,711:55900,896:56355,904:56940,915:63275,1064:66890,1096:67195,1102:67683,1112:70611,1210:72563,1255:73783,1292:75491,1341:75796,1347:86896,1551:87858,1567:88154,1572:88450,1577:93650,1646:95375,1679:104260,1935:104810,1956:105030,1992:120316,2225:122610,2286:122858,2291:129940,2376:130772,2398:131812,2438:132904,2462:133112,2473:142038,2677:161710,3008:162158,3017:162670,3026:162990,3032:164846,3096:169350,3119:169766,3124:172486,3161:172790,3170:173550,3236:188966,3395:196262,3555:196718,3562:197706,3579:201900,3657:202275,3663:216672,3907:217092,3913:219108,3966:221292,4015:226610,4069
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shari Carpenter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shari Carpenter lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shari Carpenter describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shari Carpenter describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shari Carpenter describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shari Carpenter describes her neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shari Carpenter describes her father's involvement with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shari Carpenter recalls discrimination within her African American neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shari Carpenter describes St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Shari Carpenter remembers family holidays during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shari Carpenter recalls her early awareness of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shari Carpenter describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shari Carpenter describes her parents' professions

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shari Carpenter describes her experiences at Jessie LaSalle Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shari Carpenter recalls her influences in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shari Carpenter describes her experiences at Bertie Backus Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shari Carpenter describes her high schools in Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shari Carpenter remembers the movies that influenced her in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Shari Carpenter describes her decision to attend New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shari Carpenter describes her experiences at New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shari Carpenter remembers the theater program at New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shari Carpenter describes her appearance while attending New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shari Carpenter describes her work at John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shari Carpenter remembers how she came to work for Spike Lee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shari Carpenter recalls the impact of 'School Daze' on her career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shari Carpenter describes her first short film, 'Too Much Stuff'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shari Carpenter remembers working on Spike Lee's 'Do The Right Thing'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shari Carpenter describes her work on 'Mo' Better Blues,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shari Carpenter describes her work on 'Mo' Better Blues,' pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shari Carpenter reflects upon the portrayal of African Americans in film

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shari Carpenter describes her second short film, 'Since Lisa'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shari Carpenter describes her early work as script supervisor for Spike Lee

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shari Carpenter remembers working on Spike Lee's 'Malcolm X'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shari Carpenter describes her mentors in the film industry

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shari Carpenter describes her short film, 'Since Lisa'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shari Carpenter describes her short film, 'Kali's Vibe'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shari Carpenter talks about black female film directors

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shari Carpenter talks about her mentors in the film industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shari Carpenter reflects upon her role on 'The Fort of Saint Washington'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shari Carpenter describes the different styles of filmmaking

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shari Carpenter describes Spike Lee's film, 'Inside Man'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shari Carpenter talks about the ABC Writers Development Program

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shari Carpenter describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shari Carpenter talks about the black female directors she admires

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Shari Carpenter describes her hopes for the African American film community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Shari Carpenter talks about her family's support

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Shari Carpenter reflects upon her life

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
Shari Carpenter remembers how she came to work for Spike Lee
Shari Carpenter describes her short film, 'Kali's Vibe'
Transcript
It's 1985, you're writing short stories, trying to get a job at Conde Nast, what eventually becomes the job that puts you in the direction that you would, or puts you on the road?$$Well, it's not the job, it's the experience. Nineteen eighty-six [1986] I see a movie called 'She's Gotta Have It' and here is Nola Darling who's pretty much the same age as me, she lives in Brooklyn [New York], I live in Harlem [New York, New York] at the time probably, she looks sort of like me, we could be friends. They shot this movie in Brooklyn. I see this young black guy who I don't know, although, I should. I don't know him from NYU [New York University, New York, New York] but I should. And the first time I saw it, it just changed my life. It made me really think that you could actually live in New York [New York] and make films, I had never thought that or known that before. So I saw the film at least two times maybe three. And at that point, Spike [Spike Lee] was, you know, he's a marketing genius, he's standing outside the theater [Cinema Studio, New York, New York]. Its only playing at that theater that's not even there anymore where Barnes and Nobles [Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Inc.] is on 68th Street [sic. 66th Street] I think.$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): Broadway.$$Used to be whatever that theater was, that's the only theater it's playing at. Lines are around the block constantly, and he's standing outside peddling tee shirts and buttons. And so I come outside one day and there he is and I buy a tee shirt and he gives me--he doesn't have any more buttons so he gives me the button off his jacket and he's like, "Are you still at NYU?" And I'm like, "No, I graduated." I mean, I couldn't believe he still remembered me or that he did remember me. And I got it in my head, I wanna work--no, he wrote a companion book of 'She's Gotta Have It' called, maybe the book is called 'She's Gotta Have It' [sic. 'Spike Lee's Gotta Have It: Inside Guerrilla Filmmaking,' Spike Lee], and it's a journal of his experiences trying to get the film made and then getting it made, and then it's success. And at that point in 1986, it's a great guide to an independent film makers career. And I read it and I loved it, and I decided I wanna work with this guy. I'm gonna find a way to work with this guy. And I wrote him a fan letter which is kind of what was--$$No, go ahead you wrote him a fan letter.$$I wrote him a fan letter, he has--$$What did the letter say?$$The letter says, "I read your--I saw your movie, I read your book, you know, I just thought it was amazing. I know everybody and their mother must be coming out of the woodwork to wanna work with you and be a production assistant but I really, really would love to be a production assistant on any of your projects." And I knew he had a company in Brooklyn but I could not for the life of me find out the address for 40 Acres [40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, Brooklyn, New York]. And somewhere in 'She's Gotta Have It,' he mentions his father's [Bill Lee] name. So I looked his father's name up in the Brooklyn phone book and I mailed the letter to him care of his father. And time passes and Spike does--'School Daze' comes out, Spike does a book-signing at a bookstore for 'School Daze' the book ['Uplift the Race: The Construction of School Daze,' Spike Lee] that goes with 'School Daze' and I went to that. And I went up to him afterwards to get him to sign my book and I said, "I wrote you a fan letter, did you get it?" And he said, "No, where'd you send it to?" "Oh, I sent it to your father's address." He said, "Where did you get my father's address?" I said, "I looked it up in the phone book." And he got this look on his face. Spike likes ingenuity in a certain way and I think he thought it was interesting that I had gone that path. He said, "I didn't get the letter, go talk to Monty [Monty Ross], he'll tell you the address of the office." So they gave me the address of the office. I resent the letter, this time with a little picture in it so he'd remember me. And maybe a month or two after sending the letter, they called me and asked me did I wanna come work on a music video. And that was sort of the--that was the beginning.$After 'Since Lisa,' your next professional break in your own work comes, is it in 2002?$$In my own work? Let's see, in 1995 I wrote a script called 'Kali's Vibe' and it did well for me, I eventually shot it in 1999. But there used to be down at Nuyorican Poets Cafe [New York, New York], they used to do a screenplay reading series called, I believe, First Tuesdays [ph.]. And they would bring in--they would have a script reading, they would bring in professional actors and they would bring in a lot of independent New York [New York] film industry folks to come in and listen and possibly get attached. And that's sort of what happened for 'Kali's Vibe' for a little while. There was a company called Seneca Falls [Seneca Falls Productions], two white women producers [Kelley Forsyth and Sarah Vogel] who were interested and for a year we tried to get this (laughter) film off the ground with varying degrees of success. I mean, one of the things I think that I was influenced by then and I probably still am to some degree was what Spike [Spike Lee] had done, which was to find all these new black actors to work. And I always liked that and that's what I had originally envisioned 'Kali's Vibe' being, an opportunity to find new actors and give them jobs. But then when I got with these producers of course they're trying to, you know, raise money so then we--$$They're attaching names.$$That's what they wanna do. So, at one point we're having conversations, we find, we get connected to ICSM [ph.], the independent arm of ICM [ICM Partners] in California, and they have connections to Janet Jackson, Jada Pinkett [Jada Pinkett Smith], and someone else who's, Halle Berry. This is in the mid-'90s [1990s] before all these women are, Halle hasn't won an Academy Award [Oscar] yet so she's kind of trying make her way. So they're like, "Okay, Shari [HistoryMaker Shari Carpenter], well, this is how it goes. You can't approach all three of them at the same, you have to approach one at a time. So who's your favorite?" And I'm thinking, none of them (laughter), but I have to decide who do I want them to take my script to. And my script has a lesbian bent to it, so now we've got black actresses who are not notoriously great at wanting to do gay subject matter. And these are big name women who are not necessarily gonna wanna do gay subject matter. It was just--it was exciting for a minute because it looked like, okay, if one of these people says, yes, this movie will go. But it didn't work out and it was a lot of back and forth like that. At one point I saw an article about Lisa Bonet in a magazine and she was heavy into yoga and she looked beautiful and she had these long locks. She looked very much like my main character so I wanted to go after her. Well, Lisa Bonet wants to do bigger films, she doesn't wanna be the lead in independent films. She wants to be a supporting actress in a Will Smith film. MC Lyte wanted to be an actress so we went with her for a while. It just was all this back and forth of going with names and ultimately what we ended up doing was what I had originally wanted, was very grassroots, you know, penny-pinching here and there and everywhere and a crop of young actors from New York who were wonderful but it was a very, very crazy shoot. So--$$But that film is the one that then went to Denver?$$That film has gone all over the world.$$But it's received a certain number of--$$It won awards at Denver Pan African Film Festival, it won the Audience Award and the Jury Award at Denver Pan African, it won a Vision Award at the Los Angeles [California] Pan African [Pan African Film and Arts Festival]. It was under consideration for an Independent Spirit Award but I think the downside--the reason it didn't get an Independent Spirit Award nomination is because the films have to be theatrically release and it was not theatrically released. Yeah, I got some grant money for that, I mean, it's been certainly the most successful thing I've done.$$And you've made how many?$$I've made two features and four or five shorts.

Julie Dash

Writer, producer, and director Julie Ethel Dash was born on October 22, 1952, in Manhattan, New York, to Rhudine Henderson and Charles Edward Dash. After graduating from Jamaica High School, Dash received her B.A. degree in film production from City Colleges of New York in 1974, and her M.F.A. degree in film and television at the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to receiving her M.F.A. degree, Dash was a two year Conservatory Fellow (Producing/Writing) at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies.

Dash began her study of film in 1969 at the Studio Museum of Harlem’s Cinematography Workshop, with a special interest in foreign film. She was then accepted into film school at the Leonard Davis Center for the Performing Arts, where she wrote and produced a promotional documentary for the New York Urban Coalition called Working Models for Success. After Dash graduated, she moved to Los Angeles and attended the Center for Advanced Film Studies and the American Film Institute. In 1975, Dash directed Four Women, a “choreopoem” based on the song of the same title by singer Nina Simone. In 1977, Dash directed the film, Diary of an African Nun, which was shown at the Los Angeles Film Exposition and won her a Director’s Guild Award for student filmmaking.

In 1983, Dash directed Illusions, a short film about a young African American woman passing for a white executive assistant in 1940s Hollywood. The film won her the 1989 Jury’s prize for Best Film of the Decade by the Black Filmmaker Foundation.

Dash received her highest acclaim for the 1991 film, Daughters of the Dust, an original story and screenplay. The release of the film marked Dash as the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release in the United States. In 1999, the 25th annual Newark Black Film Festival honored Daughters of the Dust as being one of the most important cinematic achievements in black cinema in the 20th century. In 2004, The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust on the National Film Registry. This distinguished film joined 400 other American-made films that are being preserved and protected as National Treasures.

Dash's novel, Daughters of the Dust was published by Dutton Books in 1997. The novel is the continuing story of the Peazant family from the movie, and Dash wanted to have the novel titled Geechee Recollections. When going to press, however, the publisher chose to go with the well-known title from the original movie.

Dash has directed music videos, television commercial spots, shorts, and long form movies for cable and network television including the NAACP award-winning CBS network television movie, The Rosa Parks Story, Funny Valentines, Love Song, Incognito and “Sax Cantor Riff,” a segment of HBO’s SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground. She has directed music videos for music artists including Raphael Saadiq; Tony, Toni, Tone; Keb ‘Mo; Peabo Bryson; Adriana Evans; Sweet Honey in the Rock; and Tracey Chapman’s “Give Me One More Reason”.

Accession Number

A2006.147

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/20/2006

Last Name

Dash

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Jamaica High School

City College of New York

University of California, Los Angeles

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Julie

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DAS01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Mark D. Goodman

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tahiti

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/22/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Crab

Short Description

Filmmaker Julie Dash (1952 - ) was the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release in the United States with her film from 1991, 'Daughters of the Dust,' which the Library of Congress placed on the National Film Registry in 2004.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julie Dash's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julie Dash lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julie Dash lists her mother's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julie Dash describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julie Dash describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julie Dash describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julie Dash talks about her paternal ancestors

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julie Dash remembers her paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julie Dash describes the Dash family plot in Charleston's Humane and Friendly Society Cemetery

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julie Dash lists her father's siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julie Dash describes her childhood neighborhood in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julie Dash describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julie Dash describes her mother's childhood in Union, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julie Dash recalls her parents' employment upon arriving in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julie Dash talks about her older sister, Charlene Dash

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Julie Dash describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Julie Dash describes her grade school education in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Julie Dash remembers how she became interested in filmmaking

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julie Dash describes her early interest in foreign films

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julie Dash remembers her instructors at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julie Dash recalls learning to make films at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julie Dash recalls her early documentary film subjects in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julie Dash recalls her early filmmaking inspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julie Dash recalls her time in City College of New York's film program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julie Dash describes the rigor of City College of New York's film program

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Julie Dash remembers the limitations on her work at City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Julie Dash describes her film studies in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Julie Dash remembers her early film projects

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Julie Dash talks about showing her films internationally

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julie Dash recalls her instructors' discouragement at the Center for Advanced Film Studies at Greystone

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julie Dash remembers changing her career aspiration to filmmaking

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julie Dash reflects upon her education as a filmmaker

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julie Dash describes her short film, 'Four Women'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julie Dash talks about directing Hollywood films

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julie Dash recalls American Playhouse's decision to produce 'Daughters of the Dust'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julie Dash recalls her intention to shoot 'Daughters of the Dust' as a silent film

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Julie Dash reflects upon the creation of her film 'Daughters of the Dust'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Julie Dash talks about the reception of her film, 'Daughters of the Dust'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julie Dash talks about directing 'Subway Stories'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julie Dash shares her opinion of the Hollywood film industry, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julie Dash shares her opinion of the Hollywood film industry, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Julie Dash talks about her desire to assist emerging filmmakers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Julie Dash describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Julie Dash talks about the importance of independent filmmaking

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
Julie Dash recalls learning to make films at the Studio Museum in Harlem
Julie Dash remembers changing her career aspiration to filmmaking
Transcript
During that period, you were moving toward becoming a very serious filmmaker. And what were some of the things that were motivating you?$$It was a very hyper-political time. I was more interested in documentary film at the time, doing newsreels about the community, about and for the community. I wasn't really focusing on dramatic narratives back then.$$Okay, okay. And of course it was a very political time. We're talking about the Vietnam War going on.$$Yes, and you had the Black Panther Party office right up on--was it St. Nicholas Avenue, or there was one on Lenox [Lenox Avenue; Malcolm X Boulevard] too, yeah--$$Right, right.$$--opened, and right next door to the Studio Museum of Harlem [sic. Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York], [HistoryMaker] Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre [New York, New York]. Frank Silvera's Writers' Workshop. It was a very, a powerful, political, artistic time during--the Black Arts Movement was actually, you know --$$It was coming, coming to life (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) (unclear), yes, yeah.$$--at, at that time. Also of course people like [HistoryMaker] Douglas Turner Ward and so forth were talking--$$Oh, downtown, right, Negro Ensemble Company down--$$Negro Ensemble theater.$$--downtown, yeah.$$And all of these things were influencing you. Would you say that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Absolutely, absolutely.$$Okay, okay. And that sort of moved you to where you wanted to do documentaries, or would this come later?$$I think what moved me to do documentaries was it gave me voice, the power to, to tell a story and get, and, and to tell it your way. Also mastering the equipment. I, I was always fascinated by equipment ever since, you know, my Uncle Julian [St. Julian Bennett Dash] used to let us play with his recording machine, you know recording machine his Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder. At the Studio Museum of Harlem we were able to load the Bolex cameras, we were able to string up the old upright Moviola editing machines, which is, you know, a complicated feat. It wasn't digital video back then. And the video that was in existence was reel-to-reel heli-scan [helical scan] and there were no cassettes back then. So you had to string it yourself. And, and the Portapaks weighed a ton. So it was, it was, it was fascinating for me to be able to have such hands-on experiences with this--with the equipment and then make something from it and then edit it into something. Gil Noble used to come up to the class. He had a television program 'Like It Is,' and he would come up to the Studio Museum and talk to us. Madeline Anderson, the editor would come up and speak to us. It was a, it was a fascinating, vibrant time, very rich, fertile time.$$Absolutely. And there was a hope among a lot of folks (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) You know, in New York [New York], you know, yeah, yeah.$(Simultaneous) Let's go back a little ways because I'm interested in how a person who wanted to be a gym teacher ends up with all of these very fine talents of innovative filmmaking, writing skills and so forth. I mean those are things usually you either have or don't have, and they're not usually found in--well I guess maybe sometimes they are found in gym teachers.$$Well I think my choice, my early choice for being a gym teacher was an easy choice. Everyone could jump double-dutch, everyone could play volleyball, everyone could play basketball well, especially coming out of Queensbridge projects [Queensbridge Houses, Queens, New York]. Anyone could play handball. You know, we were all tomboys or a boy (laughter), you know. So I think it was a easy choice. And I think that once I started going to Studio Museum of Harlem [sic. Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York] and seeing foreign films and I was seduced by this medium. This medium of film, television and, and that coupled with the ethos, or the spirit of the times, of you know, having, hearing the voices from the National Black Theatre [New York, New York], you know, coming through the walls of the Studio Museum of Harlem, 'cause that's where it was located at the time. And all the ra-, political rallies on the streets, the Black Panthers [Black Panther Party], the Young Lords, the this or the that. The Asian group called (unclear), you know, leaflet and protesting. There's so much happening that I think I started growing up. And so threw the basketball away and said, hey, there's something else that I might be interested in doing here. And like I said, with my--I was always fascinated by equipment, mechanical equipment, electrical equipment. And perhaps it's because my Uncle Julian [St. Julian Bennett Dash] allowed me to, you know, use his, you know, recording machine and this and that and the other. And so the Studio Museum of Harlem was a place where they didn't say, don't touch it, you're gonna break it. Get back, don't touch. They'd say, "Yeah, string it up and see, let's see if you can do it, let's see if you can do it again. Let's--now let's see if you can test the levels as you're recording." We were working with--I started off working with a Nagra. First time I touched a machine, I started off working with a Bolex, spring-driven Bolex. And like I said, the upright Moviolas and the editing bench. And it was all very tactile and today it's very digital. You know it's all you know, computer driven. But we were able to touch it, string the film around our, our necks, hang it to the wall, splice and cut and hot splice and re- we had the cuts right here from the (unclear) splices, we were all cut up. We could taste the film, there's a taste (laughter), you know. It was, it was, it was wonderful.