Filmmaker and Director of the Center for the Study and Research of Women in Cinema Beti Ellerson will discuss the work of African women film directors and the challenges for contemporary women's filmmaking across African states.
About the Filmmaker:
Beti Ellerson has a Ph.D. in African Studies (Howard University) with a sub-specialization in African Cinema Studies and Women Studies. As a Fellow during the 1996-1997 Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship year, she focused her research on African women in cinema, which culminated with a book entitled Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television (2000) and the film documentary, Sisters of the Screen: African Women in the Cinema (2002). Realizing the relative fixity of the book and film project, as many more women are emerging, and films continue to be produced, she followed the trend of new media and social networking to continue the African Women in Cinema Project, thus having a means to constantly update information. She launched the Center for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema in 2008, as a virtual environment in which cultural producers, scholars, students, and the general public may research information relating to African women in cinema: filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. As social media and video-sharing have become a central component of the Internet, the Center extends to include the African Women in Cinema Blog, and a presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion.
As a feminist she has always been interested in critically engaging women's issues, and academically wanted to make a critical inquiry into African women's experiences through the medium of the moving image. This inquiry led to her interest in forging an African Women Cinema Studies, which encompasses research in historiography and spectatorship as well as the hands-on work of advocacy and production. Before producing the documentary, Sisters of the Screen, she was involved locally in community television and video production in Washington DC, and was executive producer and host of the 27-episode series, "Reels of Colour", which aired from 1997 to 2000 in the Washington DC area.
Beti Ellerson has published extensively and spoken widely on the topic of African women and the moving image. She currently teaches courses in Africana studies, visual culture and women studies in the Washington, DC area.
This is the first installment in the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and Africana Studies' Film and Speaker Series, Spring 2012 that is being offered as part of the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS) Critical Inquiry Lab's "Theorizing Diasporic Visuality", an innovative series of linked courses. This year’s lab links Prof. Tina Campt’s (Barnard Africana/Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies [WGSS]) Africana Studies colloquium, AFRS BC3110 Theorizing Diasporas, with May Joseph’s (Pratt Social Science and Cultural Studies) WGSS course, WMST BC3117 Film and Feminism.