Longtime NYWIFT Member Véronique N. Doumbé has roots in Cameroon and Martinique. She was born in France and raised in Cameroon, France, and Ivory Coast. She is both a narrative and documentary storyteller who wears multiple hats as producer, director and editor. Her first feature documentary Denis A. Charles: an interrupted conversation about Free Jazz drummer Denis Charles won Best Documentary Production at the XVII Black international cinema in Berlin and the Audience Award at Detroit Docs in 2002.
Her first short Luggage, which she wrote, directed, and edited, was screened at the Short Film Corner in Cannes in 2007. The Birthday Party, written by Sherry McGuinn, won the Best Micro mini Award at Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival in 2009 and the Dikalo Award 2009 for Best Short at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes. She co-directed Woman to Woman (2013), a conversation between New York mothers and their teen daughters, with her own daughter Malika Franklin. She was the editor and co-producer of Imbabazi: Le Pardon, Rwandan genocide survivor Joel Karekeziís first feature, which won the Nile Grand Prize at the 2014 Luxor African Film Festival. She is currently developing Raising Zuly, a feature length documentary about a girl growing up with Down Syndrome in Barcelona with her mother, tap dancer Roxane Butterfly.
Doumbé comes to the 2022 Tribeca Festival as the editor of Carrie Hawks‘ short film Inner Wound Real, which was supported by Black Public Media (BPM Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz is on the NYWIFT Board of Directors). The 15-minute experimental animated short relays the story of three BIPOC folks who self-injure, then find new ways to cope. It appears in “See Me, Feel Me,” Tribeca’s special LGBTQIA+ program of seven short films that span the queer experience with humor, heart and hope, showing characters navigating emotionally intense terrain in their search for connection and compassion.
We spoke to Doumbé about her experience working on this powerful project.
How did this project come to you – and how did you meet filmmaker Carrie Hawks?
I met Carrie several years ago at Reel Sisters in the Diaspora Film Festival. I was immediately drawn to their work and told them I would love to work with them in the future. Thankfully, it happened, and this is our second collaboration. The first one was black enuf ( NY Emmy-nominated 2017).
black enuf* trailer from Carrie Hawks on Vimeo.
Inner Wound Real presents three narratives of BIPOC folks who self-injure, each with its own distinct visual style and medium. How did you approach this as an editor, to give them their own style but also weave them together into one cohesive narrative?
Actually I was brought into the project before any animation was done. I was tasked to weave the narrative based on the audio recordings of the three protagonists. The animation was done based on that.
A significant portion of the short film is animated. Have you worked with animation before? How did animation offer the freedom to present these stories?
The first time I worked with animation was on black enuf which was a hybrid of live action and animation. Animation opens up a wealth of possibilities to change the pace of the story, and insert humor when a moment is loaded with emotions.
What was your favorite part of editing this film? And the biggest challenge?
Finding the emotions in the voice was a great moment for me because it is the way I check the emotion in the films I edit. I close my eyes and listen. Do I feel you? Do I believe you?
Yet the biggest challenge was to not to see the animation because after closing my eyes, I need to see how it feels.
What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?
This film gives permission to BIPOC people who self-harm (and any one suffering in silence) to realize they are not alone. There is a way out.
What’s next for you?
I am currently editing a documentary called Fear and Now about hypnobirthing directed by Liat Ron.
Learn more about Véronique N. Doumbé on her website: www.veroniquedoumbe.com.
And read about the NYWIFT Members at the 2022 Tribeca Festival here.
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