“It’s been 30 years since Julie Dash’s debut feature premiered at Sundance and subsequently became the first film directed by a Black woman to have a wide theatrical release. It’s a masterpiece that continues to challenge myopic and trope-laden depictions of the Black American South. Expansive in its scope and imagination, and innovative in its visual language and storytelling, Dash’s film highlights the plight of the Peazants, a Gullah family struggling to embrace the future without erasing their pasts. In light of Juneteenth’s significance as both a celebration of community survival and a reckoning with the legacy of slavery, Daughters of the Dust provides a valuable meditation on the Black diaspora and the breadth of our collective cultural histories. The majesty of this film should absolutely be experienced in a theater, so I hope you’ll join us for this extremely special screening.” —JBFC Film Programmer Saidah Russell
In honor of Juneteenth, we are celebrating with a screening of Julie Dash’s landmark film, Daughters of the Dust. The first feature directed by a Black woman filmmaker to receive a wide release, the film was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991. The film still resonates today, most recently as a major influence on Beyoncé’s video album Lemonade. Taking place at the dawn of the 20th century, the film follows a multi-generational family in the Gullah community–former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions–and their struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore. Initially restored for the film’s 25th anniversary, with proper color grading overseen by cinematographer Arthur Jafa, audiences will experience the film exactly as Julie Dash intended.