“Kiss Grandmama Goodbye” New York Restoration Premiere at BAM

Debra Robinson’s touching coming of age drama Kiss Grandmama Goodbye (1980) and her beloved documentary about black women in comedy, I Be Done Been Was Is (1984) will screen on April 24th, 2024, at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) with the filmmaker in attendance.

Date: Wednesday, April 24 2024
Time: 7 PM
Location: BAM Peter J. Sharp Building – 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn
General Admission: $16 (get $5 off with discount code GRANDMAMA)

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About the Films

A midwestern African-American community during the early 1960s provides the background for Kiss Grandmama Goodbye as a ten-year-old girl, Gail, resolves the death of her good friend and mentor… Grandmama. The script was adapted from a short story by Terry McMillan. This early work of Robinson’s tenderly explores multigenerational relationships and addresses the lives of Black people living in the Midwest before widespread integration. Beautiful new 4K restoration preserved by the Academy Film Archive and the Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television.

In her feature debut, I Be Done Been Was Is Robinson follows iconic black women comedians including Marsha Warfield, Rhonda Hansome, Alice Arthur and Jane Galvin James as they navigate the male dominated stand-up industry and deal with the stereotypes surrounding them as African-American women comedians. Robinson remembers, “During the time I developed the idea, I was working out my path as an African-American woman filmmaker. The road seemed to be one of pioneering and invention. Through the documentary, I was able to find my voice, and the comediennes collectively expressed my perceptions when they spoke about their lives.” Digitally restored by the Academy Film Archive.


About the Filmmaker:

Debra J. Robinson is an Ohio native, who earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Baldwin-Wallace College and has a graduate degree in Media Studies from the New School. From the start of her career as a filmmaker, Robinson’s focus has been on Black women as the primary subject of her films. I Be Done Been Was Is (1984), a documentary about African-American comedians is her feature debut. Robinson’s work has been profiled in Essence Magazine and The New York Times. She has presented her films at Harvard University, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Currently, a resident of Atlanta, GA, Robinson continues to enrich film studies programs in the Fulton County school district in Georgia, through hands-on training and lectures on film theory.


About the Women’s Film Preservation Fund:

The Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television is the only program in the world dedicated to preserving the cultural legacy of women in the industry through preserving films made by women. Founded in 1995 by NYWIFT in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), WFPF has preserved around 150 American films, across all genres, in which women have played key creative roles. The WFPF is rewriting the film history books, by saving one moving picture at a time. www.womensfilmpreservationfund.org

April 24 @ 7:00pm
7:00 pm — 9:00 pm (2h)

BAM Brooklyn
30 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.