Black Arts, Black Artists: Short Films

Sponsored by Time Warner Inc.
Program total running time: 75 mins

Black Art, Black Artists

Dir. Elyseo J. Taylor. 1971, 16 mins. 16mm. With Van Slater. As the only Black faculty member at UCLA’s film school, Taylor was an influential teacher and advocate for students of color. With voice-over dialogue with the woodcut printmaker Van Slater, Taylor’s film is a visual survey of Black art since the nineteenth century, punctuated with jazz and blues selections.

Four Women
Dir. Julie Dash. 1975, 7 mins. 16mm. With Linda Martina Young. Set to Nina Simone’s stirring ballad of the same name, and with kinetic camera work and rich visual design, Dash’s dance film features Young as the strong Aunt Sarah, the tragic mulatto Saffronia, the sensuous Sweet Thing, and the militant Peaches.

Dir. O. Funmilayo Makarah. 1988, 5 mins. Digital projection. Oblique, episodic meditations on the semiotics and ethics of ethnic female identity are accompanied by a blandly cynical narrator explaining how to “win an invitation to the dominant culture.”

Bellydancing—A History & an Art

Dir. Alicia Dhanifu. 1979, 22 mins. Digital projection. With Dhanifu. Dhanifu constructs a rigorous and beautifully rendered history of belly dancing—its roots and history, forms and meanings.

Festival of Mask
Dir. Don Amis. 1982, 25 mins. Digital projection. With Carmen Stetson. Amis was one of the few Black student filmmakers at UCLA working in documentary. In this film, preparations for and performances at the Craft and Folk Art Museum’s annual Festival of Mask illustrate the city’s diverse racial and ethnic communities.

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