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Risk Takers and History Makers

25 Sep Posted by in Guest Writers | 1 comment
Risk Takers and History Makers

The moment a creative idea is birthed is always memorable one. Four years ago when I originally thought of making a feature documentary film on the life and art of writer, activist and poet Alice Walker, my excitement was palpable. Why hadn’t this occurred to me before?

The idea was conceived over a Christmas break when Shaheen (my partner and co-producer) and I were watching a stack of DVD’s in a cosy hideout in the hills of Mendocino, Northern California. These DVD’s were all biographies of ‘iconic’ men, such as the architect Frank Gehry and the artist Andy Warhol.

Later, walking along the rugged Mendocino coastline with the crashing Pacific waves, we wondered about the absence of cinematic visions of ‘iconic’ women. Where were the STACKS of films on women who have challenged, changed and shaped history as well as impacted on contemporary culture? I came to filmmaking from a passionate desire to see stories about women, particularly women of color who are rarely seen on mainstream television or cinema screens in all our/their complexity and nuance. So it is no surprise that my default position is to always ask questions.

Where are the in-depth explorations of women as thinkers and public intellectuals, women as history makers and shapers, women who are inspirational leaders and role models for upcoming generations? Where indeed was a film on Alice Walker who is rightly considered one of 20th Century’s most significant writers’?

So started an exciting journey that gave birth to Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth. This is the first comprehensive documentary film about Alice Walker, a prolific writer and poet whose human rights activism is central to her writing.

Alice Walker’s inspiring journey is also a story of a country and a people at the fault line of historical and political changes. By telling this compelling story of a unique writer activist, I want to offer audiences a nuanced look at a life lived with passionate commitment to truth and justice.

Community Support

Pesky funding challenges aside we are proud to say we have completed 80% of our filming with just a few small grants, some generous donations and maxing out on our personal credit cards. Along the way we have interviewed some amazing people including Gloria Steinem, Jewelle Gomez, Beverly Guy Sheftall, Danny Glover, Steven Spielberg, and of course Alice Walker herself.

Recently we were lucky enough to get some funding from ITVS, a major US public media service who support independent voices. But even with their support as well as a commitment to broadcast the film on PBS’s Emmy Award winning series, American Masters, we still don’t have enough to complete the film.

Thinking Outside the Box

Funding independent film is an uphill climb at the best of times but for women it is no picnic. If we look a the startling fact that only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female, it’s not hard to see what we are up against. Given such a dearth of female representation behind the camera, is it any wonder that we continue to struggle to find funding for female stories and voices?

We want all women and girls to be empowered around the globe, to believe in their own voices and their own truths. And this is why we need stories of women like Alice Walker who are fearless risk-takers and history makers.

Inspired by some amazing success stories, we have taken the plunge and started a crowd funding campaign for Beauty In Truth on Indiegogo.

Crowd funding is an exciting and potentially empowering way to raise money through micro giving. It’s also a way to build grassroots community support and have dialogue and discussions. We would like to release this film in 2012, the 30th Anniversary of The Color Purple. With your help we can.

$50,000 in 90 DAYS

I truly believe that there is a diverse and widespread community of people who want to see this film in the world as much we do. Especially women. Films like this do and can make a difference. We know this to be true. You know this to be true.

We need you! We can’t do this alone. It will take a global village to make a film about a Black woman, regardless of if she was the first one to receive the Pulitzer Prize or not, a celluloid reality. Please visit our page and watch the trailer which has already been described as “stunning” “breathtaking” and “beautifull” and not by us ! Be enticed by all the perks and rewards we are offering for your generous donations.

Help us spread the word and share our campaign with your friends, family, and networks.  Join us in this exciting adventure. I look forward to meeting you at one of our screenings in the future.

Filmmaker Pratibha Parmar has an exemplary track record for her passionate commitment to making films with integrity and illuminating untold stories with visual flair and imagination. Her award-winning work has been widely exhibited at international film festivals and broadcast globally. Pratibha’s dedication in bringing complex subjects into mainstream media has helped change the contours of popular discourse on race, feminism, sexuality and creativity. Pratibha’s credits include A Place of Rage, a documentary film on African-American women and the civil rights movement featuring Angela Davis and June Jordan. In 1993 Pratibha released her most challenging film Warrior Marks, which documented female genital mutilation at a time when the subject was taboo globally. This award-winning documentary was made in collaboration with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Parmar and Walker collaborated on the book Warrior Marks – Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women, which documented the making of the film (Jonathan Cape UK, Harcourt Brace US). Nina’s Heavenly Delights, Pratibha’s multi-award winning lesbian romantic starring Shelley Conn & Laura Fraser was released theatrically in the UK and US in 2006|7 and nominated for a GLAAD Award. Author and editor of several books, Pratibha was awarded The Visionary Award for her body of work from the One in Ten Film Festival in October 2007 and is a past winner of the Frameline Film Festival Life Time Achievement Award. Learn more about Pratibha at her website

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