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Sista’s Are Doin’ It For Themselves

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) presents: the 16th Annual Sista’s Are Doin’ It For Themselves: See Their Images… Hear Their Stories… Saturday, March 28, 2009 starting at 6:00 p.m. Moderated by Ava DuVernay, Filmmaker of award winning documentary THIS IS THE LIFE. The Filmmaker Showcase and Discussion will occur at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue (650 Bronson Ave.), Hollywood, CA (Melrose & Van Ness / across from Paramount Studios) Chaplin Screening Room (Reception to follow). To RSVP – 310.284.3170. The cost is only $10.00 and parking is $4.00 or ample street parking is available.

Ava DuVernay is an active force in Hollywood and is both a Filmmaker and Film Marketer. Duvernay will interject her expertise about self-distribution of films and BHERC will screen the trailer of DuVernay’s documentary THIS IS THE LIFE. DuVernay made her screenwriting and directorial debut with the festival award-winning short, Saturday Night Life, which was selected for national broadcast by Showtime in February 2007. DuVernay’s feature script The Middle of Nowhere was a semifinalist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Nicholls Fellowship. DuVernay has worked in the world of film as a marketer and publicist for more than 14 years, forming The DuVernay Agency in 1999. Her award-winning firm has provided strategy and execution for more than 80 film and television campaigns for acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Condon, Raoul Peck, Gurinder Chadha and Reggie & Gina Bythewood. Her feature debut, THIS IS THE LIFE, offers a rare insider’s view of the underground urban music movement in Los Angeles. Winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, the film was released theatrically by Forward Movement in early March 2009 and debuts on Showtime in April 2009. BHERC is proud to have DuVernay host this year’s screening of Sista’s Are Doin’ It For Themselves.

Featured Female Filmmakers for 2009 include: PALM TREES DOWN 3rd STREET by Maria Judice (18 Min.); AFTER by Kiara Jones (8 Min.); SPENT by Phyllis Tobel and Angela Perkins (15 Min.); BASURA by Kiara Jones (4 Min.); LAYLA by Lydia Martinelli (33 Min.); WATERS by Billie Yana (8 Min.); and I WANT YOU by Nefertite Nguvu (13 Min.).

These Sistas' are daring to challenge the traditional conventions of “Hollywood.” These Sistas' aren't waiting to be recognized; they are writing, creating, filming, directing, editing, acting, promoting and doing it for themselves!!! “Sistas…” began sixteen years ago as a call to the entertainment industry to acknowledge that there is grand talent amongst African American women filmmakers. What began as a simple screening and discussion became one of the most recognized inspirational and emulated events of the Black filmmaking community. It is a clear-cut concept; a screening of short films written and/or directed by some of the nation's top filmmakers with a dialog following.

Past “Sista filmmakers” have included early works of Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball), Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou), Yvette Freeman (ER), and Dianne Houston (first Black Female to be nominated for an Academy Award / Short Film category) just to name a very few. Many of these filmmakers have received high honors and recognition for their achievements and breakthroughs in filmmaking.

Other BHERC Events for 2009 include:

• Sista’s Are Doing It For Themselves ~ March 28, 2009 – Raleigh Studios (Chaplin Theater) at 6:00 p.m.
• Reel Black Men ~ August 22, 2009 – Raleigh Studios (Chaplin Theater) at 6:00 p.m.
• 16th Annual African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase ~ October 22nd and 23rd for the evenings; 24th and 25th all day.
• First Weekend Club ~ announcements for screenings of Films by African American Artists are sent our via email weekly.

The Black Education and Resource Center was formed in 1996 as a non-profit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop and preserve the history, as well as the future of Blacks in film and television. The BHERC produces, organizes and funds diverse cultural art, film and theater projects in order to capitalize on our rich foundation established in Hollywood. We not only promote more African Americans as artists, but have begun a “New Era” in the documentation of African American images.

For event information, contact Program Director Ralph Scott at 310 284-3170, or email bherc@bherc.org.
# # #



MEET THE FILMMAKERS

BHERC Presents it’s 16th Annual
Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves!!!

Filmmaker and Film Marketer…Ava DuVernay, Moderates

Moderated by:
Ava DuVernay – Film Marketer / Filmmaker

Ms. DuVernay made her screenwriting and directorial debut with the festival award-winning short, SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE. The film was selected for national broadcast by Showtime in 2007 through the network's Black Filmmaker Showcase. Her feature script THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE was a semifinalist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Nicholls Fellowship.

DuVernay has worked in the world of film as a marketer and publicist for more than 14 years, forming The DuVernay Agency in 1999. Her award-winning firm has provided strategy and execution for more than 80 film and television campaigns for acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Condon, Raoul Peck, Gurinder Chadha and Reggie & Gina Bythewood.

Her feature debut, THIS IS THE LIFE, offers a rare insider’s view of the underground urban music movement in Los Angeles. Winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, the film was released theatrically by Forward Movement in early March 2009 and debuts on Showtime in April 2009.


BASURA – 4 Min.
A routine morning leads to revelations in relationships. A woman discovers the trash isn’t the only thing being discarded in her home. Don’t throw it all away!

Kiara Jones – Writer/Director
The daughter of a Bronx/Brooklyn love affair, Kiara began her creative career as a poet and hip hop artist. She transformed her love for storytelling into an award winning career in broadcast radio and television. After traveling the world exploiting her talents on and off camera, she settled under the bright neon lights of Las Vegas, producing live shows and events. Kiara is happy to return to her roots in New York and plant herself in the fertile soil of New York University where she is embracing her next evolution as a filmmaker.


LAYLA – 33 Min.
A father-daughter relationship turns business partnership in the world of survival, betrayal and murder. With a dictating father in Afghanistan, and an obedient daughter Layla in Los Angeles, they enter the dangerous dealings of drug smuggling. Layla’s loyalty is questioned when she betrays a local drug distributor.

Lydia Martinelli – Co-Writer / Director
Malcolm Johnson – Co-Writer
Ms. Martinelli was inaugurated into the entertainment world in New York at Broadway Video (NBC’s Saturday Night Live), and Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty Talent Agency. Martinelli continued her entertainment experience working at CAA, ICM and HBO. During her tenure, she gained in-depth knowledge about the business side of television, cable network series and motion pictures. She served as Chair of the Alliance of Women Directors Television Mentorship/Shadowing program. Lydia obtained her film education at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies in creative writing and UCLA's Entertainment Program for directing/filmmaking.


WATERS – 8 Min.
WATERS speaks to obsession and the need to confront personal violation for healing. What begins as a normal day turns into a woman’s ferocious attempt to cleanse herself of perceived contamination.

Yana Billé – Writer / Director
Ms. Billé is a native of Cameroon, Central Africa. She traveled to France in her adolescence to study. After college, and a rewarding stint with the popular theater group LA LUNE A SWAHILI in Paris, Billé moved to the U.S. to further pursue a career in screenwriting and film. After completing a writers' program at UCLA, she was sought after to write the Telesud TV Series, YaMa AFrika. Billé continued to write and later co-produced a TV movie, THREE MONTHS for the same network. She recently created a production company, eM1productions and has since produced her first feature film, Grand Slammed featuring Paul Calderon.


PALM TREES DOWN 3rd ST.- 17 Min.
Two half-sisters meet for the first time in San Francisco. Nikki searches for a father she's never met. At his last known address she meets her socially and economically opposite half-sister. Winter takes Nikki on a goose chase looking for their father and introduces her to strange characters and gives her an in-depth tour of San Francisco’s underbelly. Nikki not only learns about her father but the “other” side of the city. The film is not only about searching for identity and kinship but it’s also about San Francisco’s rapidly changing identity.

Maria Judice – Writer/Director
Maria is a native of San Francisco, California. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Creative Writing. She received her masters in Film Directing from California Institute of the Arts. She’s lived in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. She’s traveled to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nepal, India and Japan.


AFTER – 8 Min.
A woman discovers that her heart is in all the wrong places. Olivia is a smart, sexy, successful young woman who is trying to balance her professional goals with her personal desires. Unfortunately, she’s failed to nurture some elements of her personal life as she's focused on her career. Luckily, she has a housekeeper to help clean up the mess she’s making of her life. Behind every great woman, there is a great woman.

Kiara Jones – Writer/Director


I WANT YOU – 13 Min.
Set to soulful music, and told through poetry, I WANT YOU charts the emotional compass of young love when two New Yorker’s meet and fall hard for one another. A whimsical romance ensues, but falls short when high expectations meet discontent. After trouble erupts, time apart forces them to decide whether or not their love was meant to last.

Nefertite Nguvu – Writer / Director
Ms. Nguvu is a graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, where she obtained a B.F.A in Film. Her Thesis project at SVA won the award for Outstanding Screenplay. Having worked in numerous capacities behind the scenes in film, Nefertite has written, produced, and directed two short films: I WANT YOU, in 2007, which screened at numerous national and international film festivals, and her current film, THE END OF WINTER.

SPENT - 15 Min.
Cheryl Johnson is an up and coming real estate agent and a shopaholic in Los Angeles. She has realized the American Girl SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP fantasy and has done just that. Now this ambitious real estate agent is desperate to sell a house in order to stay afloat. Little do those around her know, her ship has already sunk.

Boris Schaarschmidt - Director
Angela Perkins – Co-Writer
Phyllis Toben – Co-Writer/Producer
Boris studied Film & Television Design at the University of Applied Science in Dortmund. Simultaneously he gained experience in film & television production, working on several projects as a writer, editor, and director.

Phyllis comes to us from the professional stage. She has worked as an actress, stage manager, director and producer. Phyllis is one of the original participants chosen to work with the Lincoln Center Director’ Lab. Ms. Toben holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University.

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Chatelin Bruno
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