Saturday, September 3, 2011

EVENT: Daughters of the Dust / Screening & Talk with filmmaker Julie Dash / Nasher Museum of Art / September 8, 2011

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Julie Dash will discuss her film "Daughters of the Dust" on the 20th anniversary of its release during the film's screening on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

The film, which kicks off the Duke African & African American Studies (AAAS) department's "Seeing Black" film series, will be shown at 6 p.m. at the Nasher Museum of Art. A discussion with Dash and art history/AAAS professor Dr. Richard Powell will follow the screening. The event is free and open to the public.

"With the spirited public conversations about films like 'Precious,' 'For Colored Girls,' and most recently 'The Help,' it's clear that the moving image continues to be one of the critical sites of interest about the preservation and dissemination of images of black humanity," said Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, black popular culture professor and event co-organizer.

"Daughters of the Dust," released in 1991, was the first full-length feature by an African-American woman to gain national theatrical release and was named to the National Film Registry, a collection of films deemed by the Library of Congress to be national treasures.

The film draws on Dash's South Carolina heritage and focuses on three generations of women with roots in the Sea Islands and Gullah culture. Set in 1902, "Daughters of the Dust" grapples with slavery's legacy, migration, sexual abuse and sexual freedom, and maintaining tradition amid modern pressures. The film was critically acclaimed for its lush visuals of the Sea Islands, its use of language and unique narrative voice.

Dash's visit will also include classroom and other student-centered screening of her short film, "Praise House," a collaboration with the founder and choreographer of Urban Bush Women.

"Daughters of the Dust" is the first film of the 2011-12 African American Studies film series, curated by Dr. Mark Anthony Neal and graduate student Cynthia Greenlee-Donnell. In October, the series will show "Handsworth Songs" (1986), an experimental film documenting the 1985 racial unrest in Britain.

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