The New Negress Film Society is a core collective of black women filmmakers whose priority is to create community and spaces for support, exhibition and consciousness-raising. The group is formed by Chanelle Aponte Pearson, Nuotama Bodomo, Dyani Douze, Ja'Tovia Gary, Stefani Saintonge and Yvonne Michelle Shirley.
We focus primarily on works that break boundaries in film politically and artistically. Womanist in their content and experimental in form, often these are some of the most challenging for a marginalized filmmaker to create and distribute. Active for four years, the collective is steadfast in breaking those barriers presenting at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, Anthology Film Archives, Hammer Museum, Black Radical Imagination, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Afrikana Independent Film Festival, NY Media Center, Indiana University Cinema and the South Dallas Cultural Center.
In May 2013 Kumi James (formerly Wendy James) organized a screening called "I Am A Negress of Noteworthy Talent" centering the work of black women filmmakers at Brooklyn Fireproof in Brooklyn, NY. This screening emerged due to her observation that the films and critical interventions made by black women filmmakers were seldom highlighted or discussed in public and private institutions. After a successful screening showcasing the works of Nevline Nnaji, Frances Bodomo, Ja'Tovia Gary, Kumi James, and Nikyatu Jusu, James convened the screening's participants to form the New Negress Film Society Collective in June 2013. The founding members of the collective were James, Nevline Nnaji, Frances Bodomo, and Ja'Tovia Gary.
The scope of our art, political thought, and process is diverse in nature. We recognize the importance of our collective strength as marginalized artists in the film industry. Core members of the NNFS hold creative space to workshop ongoing film projects, fundraise, and gain visibility for our own work.
We regularly exhibit quality works by both emerging and established black female filmmakers around the world through our website and screening events. It is our priority to provide opportunities to highlight quality works by black female artists. Additionally, we organize theme-based film screenings for new audiences.
The NNFS was originally formed out of a need to create community in an industry where black female voices and stories are often suppressed. We therefore aim to raise awareness and understanding of our challenges within the film world. This ranges from interesting behind-the-scenes media, to reflective vlogs, to artist spotlights showcasing their recent successes. We also regularly interview black women who work in the filmmaking community to highlight their unique stories.