Julie Dash Receives Grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities

2017 Muse Award honoree Julie Dash


The Developing Film Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl explores the Gullah Geechee History and Cultures That Framed the Life Story of Vertamae Smart Grosvenor

The documentary film about the life and works of Vertamae Smart Grosvenor, which is currently in development with NYWIFT member and Muse Honoree Julie Dash as director, has been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl was selected as part of the NEH’s mission to support humanities exhibitions and documentaries, and the preservation of American history and cultural heritage.

The film is produced by NYWIFT Board member, Rachel Watanabe-Batton and Dash, with Patricia Williams Lessane, PhD. and Juanita Anderson as co-producers.

“Vertamae’s story is important to our history and culture as well as the international artistic, intellectual and social movements of which she was an active participant,” says Julie Dash.

“From the beginning, we knew Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl would be essential to American history and culture, and having received this grant right around Vertamae’s birthday felt like a blessing by the South Carolinian Geechee girl herself,” says Rachel Watanabe-Batton.

Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl will present Grosvenor’s story through her own unique storytelling style, as well as the voices of those who know her and those who have been influenced and informed by her work. Her culinary recipes for both food and living will punctuate this narrative, in conjunction with images and sounds from the various locales she experienced throughout her life.

In 2012, Julie Dash began recording preliminary interviews with Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, gathering several hours of videotaped materials and transcripts that have informed the research for this film. Interviews with seminal artists include South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, poets Sonia Sanchez, Quincy Troupe and Saul Williams, and culinary writers Rafia Zafar and Jessica B. Harris. Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor and family offered her full support and permissions access for the film.

More information can be found on Travelnotesofageecheegirl.com and IndieWire’s recent news story here: https://www.indiewire.com/2019/05/julie-dash-vertamae-smart-grosvenor-geechee-girl-1202131370/