Spotlight on Julie Dash

Spotlight on Director Julie Dash

August 5, 2020 An Eastern Directors Council Focus on Women Committee and Eastern Diversity Steering Committee Virtual Event

On August 5, DGA Award-nominated Director Julie Dash discussed her career during a special online event co-hosted by the Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women (FOW) Committee and the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC).

After an introduction from FOW Committee Co-Chair Maggie Greenwald, Dash spoke about her career; her creative process; and her influence on other filmmakers in a conversation moderated by Director Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim).

Asked about working in many different genres Dash replied, “That’s kind of the point of being a filmmaker. Right? People think you just want to an episodic television show or you want to do a feature film. No, we’re storytellers. We’re visual shamans. We want to make magic manifest on the screen. We want to tell our stories in that way, the new unique, fresh way that’s insightful meaningful inspiring. That’s the truth from our own voice. That’s what want to do. And it’s a great thing to do that – to make it happen.”

Recalling the making her seminal feature, Daughters of the Dust, Dash said, “Thank God for the WPA (Works Progress Administration) the research and the oral histories done in the 1930 with FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt). I was able to get firsthand primary sources of research. Everything within Daughters of the Dust is based upon actual events and issues and folklore and things told to me and things misunderstood. So, I’m just really weaving historical events and issues into a dramatic story. But a dramatic story that’s told in the way that an African or West African griot would tell the story. So, it rolls out in a different structure that’s a non-western structure that turns out and people are going like ‘what the heck?’”

The event concluded with a Q&A where Dash answered questions submitted by the online audience.

With her 1991 feature, Daughters of the Dust, Dash became the first African-American woman to have a film in general theatrical release in the USA. Her other directorial credits include the feature films, Praise House and Funny Valentines; the documentary feature, Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl; the movies for television, Incognito and Love Song; and episodes of the series, Women: Stories of Passion and Queen Sugar. She was nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television for her 2002 film, The Rosa Parks Story.

Dash has been a member of the Guild since 1996.

About the Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women Committee

The Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women Committee’s current Co-Chairs are Directors Maggie Greenwald and Annetta Marion. The Committee members are Directors Marilyn Agrelo, Laura Belsey, Sarah Brooke, Jan Eliasberg, Shanta Fripp, Nicole Kassell, Martha Mitchell, Sarah Pirozek, Lara Shapiro, Shari Springer-Berman, and Vivien Vitolo. The Committee would like to remind members that while their events are designed with a special focus on women directors, all DGA members are welcome to attend.

About the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility in the industry. The Committee’s current Co-Chairs are Directors Jono Oliver and Louis Venosta and Associate Director Joyce A. Thomas.

See video from this event in the gallery below.
Pictures & Video

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AASC Julie Dash Event
An African American Steering Committee Event