In honor of Women’s History Month, NYWIFT looks back at some of the remarkable women who have shaped the film, television and digital media industries through the decades.
By Mellini Kantayya
In 2000, writer, director, and past NYWIFT Writers Lab mentor Gina Prince-Bythewood blazed a trail with her film Love and Basketball. Not only was the film a critical and commercial success, it won the Humanitas Prize and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. The film was produced by Spike Lee with a $14 million budget. According to Indiewire, “it was – at the time – one of the largest scale and most high profile projects yet undertaken by a black woman.”
Amongst many other projects, Prince-Bythewood went on to write and direct The Secret Life of Bees.
Love and Basketball was included on the NYWIFT blog’s #SummerHours series celebrating Women in Sports movies and 45th anniversary of Title IX.
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It may seem Black Girl Magic in film is everywhere these days. But NYWIFT Board Member Leslie Fields-Cruz will share a secret with you: That “magic” isn’t really magic at all. It’s the result of more than a century of hard work, perseverance, and phenomenal endurance by black women media makers who’ve paved the way for a future that demands inclusivity, parity, and equal representation.READ MORE
Twenty years ago a young artist set out to make a documentary about women like herself: black queer filmmakers. She found nothing but homophobia and omission, and then… inspiration. The resulting film The Watermelon Woman marked Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 debut – a hybrid of autobiography, documentary, and comedy. It defies categorization and was the first feature film directed by an African American lesbian.READ MORE
Black History: The New York Times offers a list of 28 Films for the 28 Days of Black History Month, including our recent Muse honoree...READ MORE