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Short biography of Julie Dash

Updated on November 30, 2015

Julie Dash biography

Julie Dash, born October 22, 1952, is an American filmmaker, author, and a member of the L.A Rebellion. Her father was a Gullah, descendants of enslaved Africans, from the Sea Islands of Georgia. Julie Dash was the first African American woman to produce a full-length, theatrical released film, Daughters of the Dust. It was in New York, where she was raised, that her uncle gave Julie her first camera which resulted in her studying film production in an after-school program in Harlem and in the College of New York. Several years before her first short feature she made other short films.

Julie Dash married Arthur Jafur who was a cinematographer. They had one daughter together before they separated. She and Jafur worked together on Daughters of the Dust. Dash’s earlier short films included Diary of an African Nun and Four Women. Illusions was said to be her best made short film. This film, like so many of her other work, revealed an acute sense of racial and sexual oppression and also the identities of black women.

Despite a Renaissance in black filmmaking, Julie received the cold shoulder from Hollywood executives when she first approached them with her first featured film, Daughters of the dust. She cited that she was dismissed in a manner that was consistent of a pattern that excluded black women from Hollywood. Julie notes that her films are about women facing pivotal moments in their lives which were the types of women who surrounded her in her childhood. Her work also reflects her belief that our identities are shaped by intersections of history and personal influences. In recent years she has directed music videos for Tracey Chapman and Peabo Bryson.

Her other work and films as a director include Working Model Success (Documentary), Breaking the Silence (Documentary; short), Preventing Cancer (Documentary; short), Relatives (Short for TV), and The Life and Lifework of Zora Neale Hurston (documentary). Some of Julie’s honors include Black American Cinema Society Award and Black Filmmaker Foundation Jury Prize for Illusions, Sundance Film Festival for Daughters of the Dust. The film, Daughters of the dust, was also awarded for Excellence in Cinematography. The Rosa Parks Story was named the Best Television Movie in the NAACP and it also won the Family Television Award. Julie is currently still alive and well today. Her latest film in which she has directed is entitled “Making Angels”.

With daughters of the dust, Julie Dash became the first female african-american director with a film.
With daughters of the dust, Julie Dash became the first female african-american director with a film. | Source

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