The Watermelon Woman (1996) - News Poster


‘Black Women’: New Screening Series Spotlights 81 Years of Trailblazing African American Actresses

  • Indiewire
Coming to Film Forum in New York City is “Black Women,” a 70-film screening series that spotlights 81 years – 1920 to 2001 – of trailblazing African American actresses in American movies.

Scheduled to run from January 17 to February 13, the series is curated by film historian and professor Donald Bogle, author of six books concerning blacks in film and television, including the groundbreaking “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films” (1973).

“Last year, Bruce Goldstein, the repertory programmer at Film Forum, asked me if there was something I was interested in doing, and this was a topic that I had been thinking about, because I recently updated my book on the subject, ‘Brown Sugar,’ which dealt with African American women in entertainment from the early years of the late 19th century to the present,” said Bogle. “That’s really the way it came about, and it just developed from there.
See full article at Indiewire »

Berkeley Film Foundation To Honor Trailblazing Filmmaker Cheryl Dunye

  • Deadline
The Berkeley Film Foundation is set to honor the trailblazing filmmaker Cheryl Dunye with the inaugural Award for Justice & Inclusion in Film. She will be given the award at the foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, the Gala for Justice & Inclusion in Film at Sfjazz on November 23.

The Award for Justice & Inclusion in Film was established to recognize visionary local filmmakers whose careers have paved the way for future generations of Bay Area filmmakers, especially filmmakers of color, women, students, people with disabilities and Lgtbq filmmakers.

Dunye emerged during the “Queer New Wave” of young filmmakers during the ’90s. Her debut feature film The Watermelon Woman won the Teddy Award for Best Feature at the 1996 Berlin International Film Festival. The film was re-released and restored in 2016 for its 20th anniversary. The film has cemented itself as a groundbreaking classic and is now part of the permanent cinema collection at the Museum
See full article at Deadline »

Watch at Home: Tales from Captain Marvel's City, Mother

Nathaniel R giving you the heads up on what's available to you now to screen at home.

New on DVD/Blu-Ray

Captain Marvel - The year's second biggest hit, and less of a prequel of Avengers Endgame than we were expecting given Carol Danvers itty-bitty part in that ensemble behemoth, is now available in a physical copy if you're into those. Also out today: the hit indie The Mustang starring Belgium's golden perfection Matthias Schoenaerts, the sci-fi drama Captive State, and the romantic drama Five Feet Apart.

Notable iTunes 99¢ Deals

It's a weak week this time for those special deals with not much in the way of exciting pictures. But if you've never seen David Cronenberg's masterful Dead Ringers (1988) or the lesbian indie classic The Watermelon Woman (1996) now is as good a time as any.

New to Streaming

[Laughing] Oh this is surreal!

Tales of the City (2019) on Netflix

See full article at FilmExperience »

‘Dear White People’: Justin Simien Reveals Season 3 Directors, Including Cheryl Dunye and Kimberly Peirce

‘Dear White People’: Justin Simien Reveals Season 3 Directors, Including Cheryl Dunye and Kimberly Peirce
“Dear White People” is returning for its third season later this year with a slate of directors that pays homage to its indie film roots. Ranging from the returning Kimberly Peirce to relative TV newcomers like Justin Tipping, the show continues to give gifted filmmakers a platform to shine.

“I’m so proud of how many female directors we have this season. It’s amazing,” said cast member Ashley Blaine Featherson during a Television Critics Association set visit. Series creator Justin Simien added, “I don’t need the mandate. It’s in the way I live my life. It’s a given to me that black women need to be telling these stories because black women make up the majority of our audience. “

Simien was excited to swoop in on two directors that some people may not have heard of. “Tiffany Johnson, who is amazing — you will be very aware of her.
See full article at Indiewire »

Outfest Awards Celebrate the Legacy of Gay Film

  • Variety
In the summer, Outfest celebrates the latest Lgbtq movies and short films in downtown L.A. During the fall, the non-profit organization turns its attention to legacy: It honors key entertainment figures working today, while raising money to help ensure that past landmark Lgbtq movies do not vanish before our eyes.

The annual Outfest Legacy Awards serve as the key fundraiser for Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, a preservation initiative in conjunction with UCLA Film & Television Archive. UCLA’s archive contains more than 40,000 Lgbtq pieces — from fiction to nonfiction films, home movies and news reports. Among the project’s restored films: “Different From the Others,” the earliest known movie with a gay protagonist.

The German silent feature from 1919 was nearly destroyed by the Nazis, who objected to the story about two male musicians whose love is threatened by blackmail. Within a year of its release, the movie was banned from public
See full article at Variety »

'A Deal With The Universe' set for UK theatrical release with Peccadillo (exclusive)

The film will form part of a programme released by Peccadillo to time with Lgbt History Month 2019.

Jason Barker’s feature doc A Deal With The Universe will receive a UK theatrical run via Peccadillo Pictures, which is planning to time the release with Lgbt History Month in February, 2019.

Peccadillo is curating a selection of Lgbt-themed films to release that month. The provisional list also includes a 2k restoration of Greta Schiller’s Beyond Stonewall and a 20th anniversary 2k restoration of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman. The films will receive event-style releases across the UK, in cinemas and beyond,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Own’s ‘David Makes Man’ Adds Five To Cast, Sets Directors For Season 1

  • Deadline
Own: Oprah Winfrey Network is rounding out the ensemble cast of its upcoming coming -of-age drama series David Makes Man, from Oscar-winning Moonlight co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, and has named the directors who will helm Season 1.

Joining the cast as a series regular is Alana Arenas,, while Gillian Williams (The Girlfriend Experience), Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Elvis Nolasco (American Crime) and Randy Gonzalez (Bloodline) are set for recurring roles. They join previously announced cast Phylicia Rashad, Akili McDowell, Nathaniel Logan McIntyre, Isaiah Johnson, Ade Chike Torbert, Jordan Bolger, Cayden K. Williams and Travis Coles.

Directors joining the hour-long drama include Michael Francis Williams, Kiel Adrian Scott, Daina Reid and Cheryl Dunye.

The series, currently in production in Orlando, Florida, is set for a 2019 premiere on Own.

David Makes Man centers on David (McDowell), a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by
See full article at Deadline »

NYC Weekend Watch: Sylvia Chang, ‘2001’ on 70mm, French Melodrama, Fox Restorations & More

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.


The best retrospective of 2018 thus far is the Sylvia Chang series, which in its first weekend along offers Edward Yang, Johnnie To, Tsui Hark, and the woman herself.

More Kubrick films screen this week.

What did Hitchock and Jarmusch have in common? Birds, it turns out.

Godard’s underseen A Film Like Any Other plays on Friday.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Cheryl Dunye to Write and Direct Adaptation of “The Wonder of All Things”

Dunye: Teddy Award/ YouTube

The groundbreaking writer-director of “The Watermelon Woman” has a new project in the works. Cheryl Dunye will write and direct female-led supernatural story “The Wonder of All Things” for Lionsgate, Deadline reports. Based on a 2014 novel by Jason Mott (“The Returned”), the story centers on Ava, a 14-year-old who “discovers her healing powers after saving the life of her friend Wash following a plane disaster at an air show.”

Best known for 1996 Lgbtq story “The Watermelon Woman” — which made her the first black lesbian to direct a feature — Dunye’s recent credits include episodes of “The Fosters,” “Claws,” and “Queen Sugar.” “Valencia,” “Mommy Is Coming,” and “The Owls” are among her feature films. She’s currently developing a feature version of her short film “Black Is Blue.”

The Watermelon Woman” won the Teddy Award at the Berlinale, and was digitally restored and re-released in 2016 in honor of its 20th anniversary.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

How Lily Tomlin and Gloria Steinem Helped Fund the Lesbian Film Classic ‘Desert Hearts’

How Lily Tomlin and Gloria Steinem Helped Fund the Lesbian Film Classic ‘Desert Hearts’
In the early ’80s, Donna Deitch was a recent film school grad with no feature credits looking make a lesbian romance — one that didn’t end with killing its heroines. Without the help of Kickstarter or industry backing, she launched an unorthodox grassroots campaign that eventually gained the support of Gloria Steinem, Lily Tomlin, and Stockard Channing. The result was a hit at Sundance in 1986 that went on to become a groundbreaking lesbian classic that still resonates today.

Read More‘Desert Hearts’ Trailer: Donna Deitch’s Groundbreaking Lesbian Classic Restored — Watch

Adapted by Natalie Cooper from the 1964 Jane Rule novel “Desert of the Heart,” Deitch’s 1985 film is a poignant romance set in 1959, when straitlaced Columbia professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives at a ranch in Reno, Nev. to get a divorce (the only place one could at that time). She meets the rancher’s daughter, Cay Rivvers (Patricia Charbonneau), an open and self-assured lesbian,
See full article at Indiewire »

Barbara Hammer Announces Lesbian Filmmaking Grant

Barbara Hammer: The Seventh Art/YouTube

Trailblazing lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer is paying it forward. The former Guggenheim Fellow is teaming up with NYC-based non-profit Queer Art to launch The Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant, Out reports. Hammer, who first started working in the medium in the ’60s, told the mag that “lesbian film really calls out for experimental work” because “working as a lesbian filmmaker in the ’70s wasn’t easy in the social structure educational institution [she] was in.” The “A Horse Is Not a Metaphor” director is hoping to make that path smoother for the next generation. “I want this grant to make it easier for lesbians of today,” she said. “So you can make work that you want to make.”

The $5,000 grant “is application-based and will be awarded to benefit projects in any stage of development, from concept to exhibition,” according to Out. “Animation, documentary, narrative, cross-genre will all be considered, as long as they fall within the experimental genre.”

Hammer said that when she first picked up a camera, she “couldn’t find any” lesbians on-screen. There are certainly more portrayals of Lgbtq characters on the big and small screen than decades ago, but the numbers are still surprisingly — and disappointingly — low. A study from USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative found that “not one lead or co lead was Lgbt identified across the entire sample of 100 top films of 2015” and “82 of the 100 top movies of 2015 did not depict one Lgbt speaking or named character.”

Applications for the first year will open August 1 and will be accepted until September 30. This year’s judges include Cheryl Dunye (“The Watermelon Woman”) and artist Dani Leventhal. The winner will be announced on December 4.

You can find more information about the grant on Queer Art’s site.

Hammer’s credits include “Welcome to this House,” “Nitrate Kisses,” and “Tender Fictions.”

Barbara Hammer Announces Lesbian Filmmaking Grant was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

“Queen Sugar” Season 2 Premiere Scores Series-High Ratings Among Women Aged 25–54

Queen Sugar

All hail the “Queen.” The second season premiere of Own’s “Queen Sugar” drew 2.3 million viewers as well as a 0.7 18–49 rating and a 2.09 rating among women 25–54 on Tuesday night. As Deadline points out, that means the series scored a new ratings high among female viewers aged 25 to 54, a core demographic for Own.

The premiere episode, “After the Winter,” was watched by 14 percent less viewers than last year’s series premiere. However, the number of viewers in the coveted 18–49 were the same as the series’ debut.

Created by Ava DuVernay, “Queen Sugar” follows the three Bordelon siblings (Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and Kofi Siriboe) as they try to revive the family sugar cane business after their father’s death. It is based on Natalie Baszile’s novel. DuVernay served as showrunner on the first season; Monica Macer has taken on the role for Season 2.

The drama series has set itself apart in the Peak TV era by employing only women directors to helm its episodes. Tanya Hamilton (“Night Catches Us”), Victoria Mahoney (“Yelling to the Sky”), So Yong Kim (“For Ellen”), and DuVernay were among the first season’s directors. “After the Winter” was directed by Kat Candler. Other helmers working on Season 2 include Cheryl Dunye (“The Watermelon Woman”), Aurora Guerrero (“Mosquita y Mari”), DeMane Davis (“Lift”), and Amanda Marsalis (“Echo Park”). DuVernay will helm an episode this season if her production schedule on “A Wrinkle in Time” permits.

For us, [hiring only women directors] is not a trend, this is not a publicity stunt. This is our choice,” DuVernay has said. “Just like it’s their choice never to think about hiring a woman,” she added, referencing series like “Game of Thrones” that are helmed entirely by men.

Queen Sugar” airs Wednesday nights on Own.

Queen Sugar” Season 2 Premiere Scores Series-High Ratings Among Women Aged 25–54 was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Trailer Watch: The Bordelon Legacy Is at Stake in “Queen Sugar” Season 2

Queen Sugar

“We are a family,” Violet Bordelon (Tina Lifford) tells her nieces Nova and Charley (Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner) in the trailer for Season 2 of “Queen Sugar.” “Somehow, someway, we will figure this out.” Judging from that exchange, it appears that the promise siblings Nova, Charley, and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) made to honor their late father’s legacy is one they are struggling to keep.

The trailer hints at legal troubles for Ralph Angel, red tape and racist micro-aggressions getting in the way of Charley’s bid to be Louisiana’s first black woman to own a mill, and family strife amongst the siblings. But, no matter their issues with one another, the Bordelons stick together when it counts. “If you come after one of us, you come after all of us,” Charley vows.

Based on Natalie Baszile’s novel, “Queen Sugar” was created by Ava DuVernay, who served as showrunner on Season 1, which was helmed entirely by women (including DuVernay). The drama’s finale ranked as the number one cable telecast for women when it aired, delivering 2.76 million total viewers. Women will be directing all of Season 2’s episodes as well. Helmers working on the show’s sophomore season include DeMane Davis (“Lift”), Cheryl Dunye (“The Watermelon Woman”), Aurora Guerrero (“Mosquita y Mari”), and Amanda Marsalis (“Echo Park”). Monica Macer has taken over as showrunner, while DuVernay is expected to helm the season finale.

Queen Sugar” will have a two-night premiere June 20 and 21 on Own.

Trailer Watch: The Bordelon Legacy Is at Stake in “Queen Sugar” Season 2 was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

New Shonda Rhimes Show & Season 2 of “Queen Sugar” Get Premiere Dates

“Still Star Crossed”: ABC

Your summer TV watchlist just got longer. Premiere dates have been announced for Shonda Rhimes’ newest show, “Still Star Crossed,” and the second season of Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s family drama “Queen Sugar.” “Still Star Crossed” is set to debut May 29 on ABC. “Queen Sugar” will have a two-night premiere June 20 and 21 on Own.

Based on Melinda Taub’s book, “Still Star Crossed” is a continuation of “Romeo and Juliet.” Per Variety, the series will trace the “treachery, palace intrigue, and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.” Rhimes serves as exec producer alongside Shondaland partner Betsy Beers and Mark Wilding, Michael Goldstein, and Michael Offer. Offer directed the pilot.

“Still Star Crossed” stars Ebonee Noel (“Eye Candy”), Medalion Rahimi (Ry Russo-Young’s “Before I Fall”), Lashana Lynch (“Brotherhood”), Zuleikha Robinson (Mira Nair’s “The Namesake”), Wade Briggs (“Please Like Me”), Torrance Coombs (“Reign”), Sterling Sulieman (“Veep”), and Anthony Head (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

Rhimes’ other upcoming TV projects include a cable comedy series based on Luvvie Ajayi’s first book, “I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual,” and an untitled legal drama for ABC.

Meanwhile, news of “Queen Sugar’s” premiere date was accompanied with information about some of the women directors helming episodes of the new season. According to Deadline, DeMane Davis (“Lift”), Cheryl Dunye (“The Watermelon Woman”), Aurora Guerrero (“Mosquita y Mari”), and Amanda Marsalis (“Echo Park”) have all signed on to direct. Like its inaugural season, the new episodes of “Queen Sugar” will all be directed by women.

The season will reportedly be split into two parts. The first eight eps will air this summer, while the remaining installments will broadcast in the fall. DuVernay is expected to helm the season finale.

Deadline adds that Season 1 of “Queen Sugar” will be released on Hulu April 21. The streaming giant will also be home to future seasons after they’ve been broadcast on Own.

Queen Sugar” stars Rutina Wesley (“True Blood”), Dawn-Lyen Gardner (“Luke Cage”), and Kofi Siriboe (“Awkward.”) as siblings Nova, Charley, and Ralph Angel, respectively. Based on Natalie Baszile’s novel, the series centers on the Bordelon siblings’ struggle to revive their late father’s Louisiana farm. Its first season finale ranked as the number one cable telecast for women when it aired, delivering 2.76 million total viewers.

Queen Sugar” is exec produced by DuVernay, Winfrey, and Monica Macer. Macer will also be the second season’s showrunner.

DuVernay’s most recent project was “13th,” an Academy Award-nominated documentary examining the U.S. prison system and its racist policies. DuVernay’s adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” hits theaters April 6, 2018.

You can catch Winfrey next in the HBO movie “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” The adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s nonfiction book premieres April 22.

New Shonda Rhimes Show & Season 2 of “Queen Sugar” Get Premiere Dates was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Writer-Director Cheryl Dunye Signs With Echo Lake Management & Apa

Writer-director Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman, Stranger Inside) has signed with Echo Lake Management and Apa. Dunye, who is currently directing episodes of Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar for Own, emerged as part of the “New Queer Cinema” wave of young filmmakers in the 1990s. Dunye has made over 15 films including Mommy Is Coming, The Owls, My Baby's Daddy, and HBO's Stranger Inside, which garnered her an Independent Spirit award nomination for Best Director. Her debut…
See full article at Deadline TV »

5 Must-See Feminist Films From Women Directors at the Top of Their Games

Inspired by similar feminist film weeks in London and Berlin, the co-founders of Woman With a Movie Camera are bringing New York Feminist Film Week to the city’s Anthology Film Archives. Designed to illuminate cultural and cinematic approaches to feminism — intersectional, transnational and everything in between — the first annual Nyffw features a hearty slate of films directed by filmmakers both known and rising, but you don’t have to be in attendance to catch up on some of the most seminal screenings on their calendar.

Read More: Female Filmmakers Are ‘Grossly Underrepresented’ When It Comes to Directing Opportunities, New Study Finds

The inaugural Nyffw has divided its slate into a series of thoughtfully curated programs which tackle topics as wide-ranging as “Dismantling Islamophobia,” “Trans/Action” and “Bodies,” along with a special tribute to Barbara Hammer and an entire program dedicated to “feminist film genealogies.” Animation fans and those who
See full article at Indiewire »

Cheryl Dunye on Making History with ‘The Watermelon Woman,’ Representation, and Performance

Twenty years ago, Cheryl Dunye made history as the first African-American lesbian to direct a feature-length film. Now that film, The Watermelon Woman, has finally been given a proper DVD release, courtesy of First Run Features. To mark the occasion, we spoke on the phone with Dunye about the film, history, performance, and authenticity.

The Film Stage: Both The Watermelon Woman and the short that’s included on the new DVD, Black Is Blue, express a high level of commitment and detail in the recreation of documentary form. What documentaries and / or mockumentaries influenced you?

Cheryl Dunye: I’ve been working in this practice since the late ‘80s. I went to Rutgers and had a studio practice there, got my Mfa, and that’s where I discovered what was becoming the queer film world. There was a lack of identity, representation — in the work that was being seen — by,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Recommended Discs & Deals: ‘The Watermelon Woman,’ ‘Carol,’ ‘The Reflektor Tapes,’ and More

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

Arcade Fire: The Reflektor Tapes (Kahlil Joseph)

A list of things The Reflektor Tapes comes close to being but doesn’t quite end up as: a concert film stitching together Arcade Fire‘s work on a worldwide tour supporting their most recent album, Reflektor; a travelogue of said tour; a sense-memory visual essay tracing the years-long life of songs, tracing from hashing-out and recording to a presentation for thousands of screaming, jumping fans; a channel-futzing sonic exploration
See full article at The Film Stage »

Melbourne Queer 2017: Trailblazers and Award Winners in the Latest Mqff Program

The Mqff (Melbourne Queer Film Festival) has been telling engaging and important Lgbtiq stories since its inception, and in its latest year, Program Manager Spiro Economopoulos will revisit what sparked queer cinema; more after the bump. Announcing the first eight films in the 2017 Mqff program, Economopoulos said: “There’s so much to be excited about; a stand out program of international award winning features, another Australian Centrepiece this year, Pulse, from an Mqff alumni, and I’m particularly excited about our queer classics, including the 21st anniversary screening of the trailblazing lesbian indie comedy, The Watermelon Woman.” Certain to be one of the most talked about films of the festival, Tomcat shocked audiences at the Berlin International Film Festival where it took out Teddy Award for Best...

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See full article at Screen Anarchy »
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