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The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen
A film by Jennifer Abod
US, 2016, 73 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W161176
An inspiring film by award winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Abod, PhD (THE EDGE OF EACH OTHER’S BATTLES: THE VISION OF AUDRE LORDE).

THE PASSIONATE PURSUITS provides a window into the life of Angela Bowen who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era, and went on to become a classical ballerina, a legendary dance teacher, a black lesbian feminist activist organizer, writer and professor.

For six decades Bowen has influenced and inspired untold numbers, speaking out as strongly for the Arts, and Black and Women’s Rights as she has for LGBT Rights. Candid, compelling, and inspiring, PASSIONATE PURSUITS depicts Bowen's life across the decades, with archival footage, timeless musical selections, photographs and interviews.

Bowen’s stories reveal how the challenges of race, class, gender, age, and sexuality played into her decisions and strategies for survival. PASSIONATE PURSUITS is important to anyone who wants to know more about the experiences and complexities of black women’s lives and the emergence of Black Feminism.


Winner, Television Documentary Program, PBS' To the Contrary Film Festival
Winner, Sky TV-laF-Mix Milano Award
Best Documentary, Bologna Lesbian Film Festival
Acey Social Justice Feminist Award, The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Best Documentary, Audience Choice Award, Cinema Systers Film Festival
Runner Up, Jury Award, Tampa Bay Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Audience Award for Best Documentary Film, Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Audience Award, Best Feature Film, Nhdocs - The New Haven Documentary Film Festival
Winner for US History Category, PBS' To the Contrary Film Festival
Best Documentary Film on the Black Experience, XXXII Black International Cinema, Berlin

  • Arts & Ideas Festival
  • New Haven International Film Festival
  • The Roxbury International Film Festival
  • Outside the Frame: Radical Queer Film Festival
  • Mix Film Festival, Milan
  • North Carolina Gay/Lesbian Film Festival
  • London Feminist Film Festival
  • Festival MIX Milano Di Cinema
  • GayLesbioco E Queer Culture
  • Green Salon Short Film Festival

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    "A must see… a fantastic, informative and moving film that should be viewed by students in women's and gender studies, GLBTQ and Queer Studies programs and classes, African American and Ethnic Studies programs."
    Linda M. Perkins, Director
    Applied Women's Studies, Claremont Graduate University

    "A very powerful and informative documentary. Abod has done an incredible job of capturing the complexity of an unsung hero. A must see by every activist."
    A Billy Jones, Founder
    National Coalition for Black Lesbians and Gays

    "What struck me in the film was the hope for a second or even third life after dancing. This can be a problem for many dancers as they train so long and hard for a career that usually ends in their thirties or early forties. Your film "Passionate Pursuits" shows, no proves that anything is possible if one puts her/his mind to it."
    Jeff Slayton, Dance Professor,
    Emeritus, Cal State Long Beach

    “Passionate Pursuits is a compelling portrait of an important figure in the evolution of contemporary Black feminist history in the United States. The film highlights vital aspects of 20th century African American history, Women’s history & LGBTQ history.

    Abod's documentary film is inspirational, informative, complex, humorous, a must-see for Women's Studies, Black Studies, & Queer Studies classrooms.”

    Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Professor
    Women's Studies, Spelman College

    “Using stunning rare archival footage and photos, and an unflinching eye to a life’s journey through multiple identities, Jennifer Abod’s film conveys a vital authenticity in the telling of the life’s work and journey of an exceptional black feminist, dancer, mother and social justice organizer."
    Emery Grant
    Stonewall National Museum & Archives

    "THE PASSTIONATE PURSUITS OF ANGELA BOWEN, is an inspiring and illuminating film, one that should be honored and shared widely for generations."
    Emery Grant
    Stonewall National Museum & Archives

    "...the City presented a screening of the excellent documentary The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen on March 18, 2016 with Professor Bowen and filmmaker Jennifer Abod in attendance. The film was met with a rousing and sustained standing ovation and we were thrilled and honored to include it as part of the Lesbian Speakers Series. We applaud Ms. Abod for bringing attention to the extraordinary life of Professor Bowen and her significant achievements as a feminist, LGBT activist, teacher, mentor and performing artist."
    Corey Roskin
    Social Services Specialist, City of West Hollywood

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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