STATELESS by Michèle Stephenson

STATELESS by Michèle Stephenson
Thursday, Feb 25th at 6:30 PM

Stephenson explores the complex history and present-day politics of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in a film that premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.  Feb 27th is the anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s controversial “independence” from Haiti. Presented by Spelman College Documentary Program with Third World Newsreel, the Documentary Forum at CCNY, Atlanta Documentary Society and Dominicans Love Haitians Movement.

RSVP to: 

The Apollo Documentary

Internationally renowned for having influenced American and pop culture more than any other entertainment venue, the Apollo Theater created opportunities for new talent to be seen. It has also served as a launchpad for myriad artists including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and more. From Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, “The Apollo” chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of the New York City landmark. It premiered in November on HBO.

Following the  screening, switch over to zoom for the post-screening Q&A. Anjanette Levert, a lecturer for the documentary film program at Spelman College, will moderate a live post screening Q&A with Lisa Cortes, an Academy Award- nominated producer of the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary “The Apollo.” She will be joined by Kamilah Forbes, an esteemed award-winning director and producer for theater and television who currently serves as the executive producer at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. 

The film screening, which is free and open to the public, is co-hosted by Third World Newsreel, the Documentary Forum at City College of New York, the AUC Camera Collective.   and the Atlanta Documentary Society are serving as partners. 



Al the Ladies say

I moderated this talk about the film ‘All the Ladies Say’ and B Girls in Hip Hop on September 18, 2020 with Ana Rokafella Garcia, Melissa Ulto, Aiko Shirakawa and Lady Champ.

A presentation of Third World Newsreel, the Documentary Forum at CCNY and Full Circle Productions, and media partner Family Pictures USA.

All the Ladies Say is a groundbreaking documentary about the Bgirls in Hip Hop – made by the filmmaker, breakdancer, enterpreneur, educator and activist, Rokafella.

All the Ladies Say highlights the lives of 6 iconic female Break dancers- Bgirls- and the challenges and triumphs of carving a niche in a male dominated genre from 2006 to 2011. Dancers from the global scene make cameos as well as female Graffiti writers, MC’s and the late DJ Pam The Funkstress/RIP.

Watch the full video here:

Filmmakers of Color: Distribution and Exhibition now

I moderated this last May 5, 2020 featuring Jessica Green, Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Society, and curator for the film/speaker series “The Afro Future’s So Bright I’m Pessimistic” for the Museum of the Moving Image; Carlos A. Gutiérrez, Co-founder and Executive Director of Cinema Tropical, the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the United States that produces festivals, presentations and streaming services; and DeShuna Spencer,  founder of kweliTV, a subscription video on-demand service that curates and creates content that reflects the global black experience. We discussed how does the pandemic change the prospects for independent filmmakers of color.

On this talk, we will hear from some distribution and exhibition folks who have been dealing with our changed reality and have some ideas that may help filmmakers going forward.

This is an online presentation from Third World Newsreel and the Documentary Forum at CCNY.

Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs with the City Council, the Peace Development Fund and individual donors.

Watch the full discussion here:

A Love song for Natasha

Wednesday March 18, 2020


Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Ed.D.

Academic Center Lower Level 32

Screening of the Award-winning short film, “A Song for Latasha” With Q&A
Free with RSVP:


Sophia Nahli Allison is an experimental documentary filmmaker, photographer + dreamer. She disrupts conventional documentary methods by reimagining the archives and excavating hidden truths. Her work is a meditation of the spirit, exploring the public and private spaces of black women through alternate histories, erased and lost archives, and the entry point of the metaphysical. Sophia conjures ancestral, personal, and collective memory to explore the intersection of fiction and non-fiction storytelling.

She is a 2020 United States Artists Fellow in Film and has held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, The Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France., The Center for Photography at Woodstock, and POV Spark’s African Interactive Art Residency. She is a recipient of a 2014 Chicago 3Arts Award and has received grants from the Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs, Glassbreaker Films, and Getty Images. In 2017 she was named the Student Video Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association She has a Master’s Degree in visual communication from UNC.

Past projects have been featured in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Root, with Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA, and more. Her short documentary A Love Song For Latasha premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and received the Grand Jury Documentary Prize at AFI Fest, along with Best Documentary Short awards at the New Orleans Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival, and more including an IDA Documentary Awards Nomination.


Burning Cane

BURNING CANE tells the story of a deeply religious woman’s struggle to reconcile her convictions of faith with the love she has for her alcoholic son and a troubled preacher. Set in rural Louisiana, the film explores the relationships within a southern black protestant community, examining the roots of toxic masculinity, how manhood is defined and the dichotomous role of religion within the black community.

Director Phillip Youmans is an NYU film student and the first African American director to win Tribeca’s Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature. BURNING CANE also won Best Actor for Wendell Pierce (CLEMENCY, SELMA) and Best Cinematography for Youmans.

Clickable RSVP Eventbrite Link:

Dream Hampton

The documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly” reveals young women emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices against singer R. Kelly.

Celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, R. Kelly’s career has been plagued with rumours of abuse, paedophilia, and predatory behaviour toward women. Now, survivors are stepping forward to detail new allegations about his physical, mental, and sexual abuse. More than 50 interviews with those who include civil rights activist Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk show host Wendy Williams, and R. Kelly’s family members shed light on the singer’s controversial past.

Executive Producer Dream Hampton comes to Spelman for a one-on-one conversation with Documentary Film Program Director, Dr. Ayoka Chenzira.

See the series here on Lifetime TV:

Agents of Change

From the well-publicized events at San Francisco State in 1968 to the image of black students with guns emerging from the takeover of the student union at Cornell University in April, 1969, the struggle for a more relevant and meaningful education, including demands for black and ethnic studies programs, became a clarion call across the country in the late 1960’s. Through the stories of these young men and women who were at the forefront of these efforts, Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country that led to these protests. Today, over 45 years later, many of the same demands are surfacing in campus protests across the country, revealing how much work remains to be done.

The filmmakers will be present for post-screening Q&A.

Vaya by Akin Omotoso


Three people board the train bound for Johannesburg. Strangers each on their own mission with a simple task to complete and in search of family to help them. But when they are betrayed by the very people whose protection they sought, they find themselves trapped in the city- invisible and alone. VAYA interweaves three separate plots that intersect and intertwine in a gripping, deeply moving narrative about struggling for survival and dignity in the city.

Director Akin Omotoso studied drama at the University of Cape Town where he won the Fluer du Cap for most promising student. He also won the Standard Bank Artist of the year award in 2007. Television works includes directing on A Place Called home, (for which he won best director at the south african film and television awards) and the number one drama on South African television Soul City. Akin has Produced and Directed four feature films God is African, the award winning Man on Ground (official selection Toronto and Berlin), Tell Me Sweet Something and most recently Vaya.


Chavela by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi

Tuesday May 1
Spelman College
Science Building
Room 134 (NASA Auditorium)
Chavela was a bad ass singer who went onstage wearing pants and a poncho, smoking cigars, drinking tequila and carrying a pistol while she sang love songs to women in macho, Roman Catholic 1950s Mexico.  

For more info on film:
Post-Screening Q&A with Co-Director Daresha Kyi

C-Director Daresha Kyi

Free with RSVP on Eventbrite