...But Then, She's Betty Carter

A film by Michelle Parkerson

1980 | 53 minutes | Color | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99075


This lively film is an unforgettable portrait of legendary vocalist Betty Carter, one of the greatest living exponents of jazz. Uncompromised by commercialism throughout her long career, she has forged alternative criteria for success — including founding her own recording company and raising her two sons as a single parent. Parkerson's special film captures Carter's musical genius, her paradoxical relationship with the public and her fierce dedication to personal and artistic independence.


"An exciting film from which the audience walks away exhilarated."

Dare Thompson Kirkland Arts Center


  • Berlin Film Festival
  • Films de Femmes, Creteil, France
  • Maysles Cinema
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Black Independents Film Festival, Paris
  • Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


Michelle Parkerson

Michelle Parkerson is an award-winning independent film/video maker based in Washington, DC. Her work has been shown widely in festivals and on public television including the documentaries "A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde", "But Then, She's Betty Carter" and "Gotta Make This Journey: Sweet Honey in the Rock". Ms. Parkerson has received grants from the Independent Television Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the American Film Institute as well as a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation. Her work has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and "Gotta Make this Journey: Sweet Honey in the Rock" was nominated for a Local Emmy in the category of Public Affairs Documentary. She was awarded the Prix du Public at the Festival International de Creteil Films de Femmes and the Audience and Best Biography Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Michelle Parkerson has served on the faculties of Northwestern University, the University of Delaware, Howard University and Temple University. She has also lectured at Yale University, the National Film Board of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Flaherty Film Seminar, Harvard University, and the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the DC Mayor's Office of LGBTQI Affairs. (7/19)


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