The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts will present five short films by five women filmmakers on October 23 at 7:00 p.m. in a screening titled, SHE BAD: Women in Film. Curated by Princeton filmmaker Danielle Eliska Lyle, the screening will feature short works by Eliska Lyle, Carolynn Cecilia, Bree Gant, Nikyatu Jusu, and Stacey Muhammad at the James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street on the Princeton University campus. A talkback with Eliska Lyle and Cecilia will follow the screening. This event is free and open to the public.
Eliska Lyle’s film, Shield (2019), tells the story of Zoe, who was put in foster care after the death of her brother, who was her sole guardian. She latches on to the only thing that reminds her of him — a blanket. Trauma has alienated her from everyone and has made it difficult for Zoe to find a permanent home. That is, until Rachel decides to become her caregiver. Rachel’s creative use of comic books is just the thing to help Zoe let go of her pain in this story about facing our fears, finding our inner strength and being brave enough to embrace the scars that make us beautiful.
In Carolynn Cecilia’s Woodford County (2019), a young woman sprints from the back door of her farmhouse and disappears into the woods on a snowy winter morning in north Texas. When Paul, a policeman from a neighboring town, comes to investigate, he finds the young woman’s mother, Adelaide, tending to the mess and the chaos that spurned her daughter’s breakdown. Through their conversation we learn of a tumultuous past between mother and daughter, between Adelaide and Paul, and how the line between wrong and right is often drawn thin by the ghosts of our past.
Riding with Aunt D. Dot (2018) by Bree Gant combines the director’s radical imagination, real-life woes, and experiences on the city bus to tell the story of a disillusioned Detroit artist struggling to ground herself mentally while fighting back against what may or may not be figments of her own imagination.
Nikyatu Jusu’s film Suicide by Sunlight (2018) tells the story of Valentina, a day-walking Black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, who finds it difficult to suppress her bloodlust when a new woman is introduced to her estranged twin daughters. In a near-future New York City, Black vampires walk among us.
For Colored Boys, Redemption (2013) by Stacey Muhammad is a soul-stirring dramatic web series about a father’s attempt to repair his broken family after being released from prison.
Eliska Lyle hails from Detroit and received her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing for Film, Television and Theatre from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to her work as a screenwriter, she has directed documentaries, short films, music videos and theater productions with notable recognition. She is the founder of MERIAKI Society, a multimedia production house committed to telling stories about powerful women, the Black Diaspora and Black Culture. She was named one of the inaugural grant recipients of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and New York Foundation for the Arts ‘Made in NY’ Women’s Fund in Film for Shield.
Cecilia, based in New York City, is a writer/director who works on drama, comedy, and conceptual music films that tell stories prioritizing emotional connection and humanizing characters who are often their own worst enemy. In 2015 she was hired by David Bowie and Sony Music to write and produce an Instagram-based episodic interpreting the emotion of Bowie’s last studio album, Blackstar. Since then she has built a career as a script supervisor, directed a horror comedy series, and was named writer-in-residence for the highly successful performance art exhibition, The Mic, while also helming the productions of her own narrative films. She is a faculty member at the New York Film Academy, where she teaches screenwriting and directing to 10- to 18-year-olds, and at the Miami Ad School, where she lectures on video storytelling for advertising students.
For more information about the screenwriters and their films, visit arts.princeton.edu/she-bad.
To learn more about Princeton’s Program in Visual Arts, and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings and lectures presented each year at the Lewis Center visit arts.princeton.edu.