A film by Julie Dash

1983 | 34 minutes | BW | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99306

This critically acclaimed drama from filmmaker Julie Dash (DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST) takes place in 1942 at a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio.


The time is 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor; the place is National Studios, a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio. Mignon Duprée, a Black woman studio executive who appears to be white and Ester Jeeter, an African American woman who is the singing voice for a white Hollywood star are forced to come to grips with a society that perpetuates false images as status quo. This highly-acclaimed drama by one of the leading African American women directors follows Mignon's dilemma, Ester's struggle and the use of cinema in wartime Hollywood: three illusions in conflict with reality.

From the director of the critically acclaimed DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST.


"Mckee’s strong performance and growing awareness throughout the film makes it both dramatically satisfying and also richly nuanced with issues of cultural appropriation and cooptation of black music and culture for commercial gain… The film’s relevance to some of today’s mainstream film and music industries and the dismissal and appropriation of black stories is also telling."


“Illusion beats with a strong feminist heart: in the film Mignon Dupree learns to reject the Hollywood model but also to create her own.”

Anne Christine D’Adesky The Guardian

"One of the most brilliant achievements in style and concept in recent American filmmaking..."

Clyde Taylor Guest Curator Whitney Museum of Art

"Cleverly uses film itself as a metaphor for the myths fostered by whites and men about Blacks and women."

Marcia Pally Village Voice


  • Maysles Cinema


Julie Dash

Thirty-two years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke racial and gender boundaries with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography) Daughters of the Dust. She became the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film. The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust and her UCLA MFA senior thesis, Illusions, in the National Film Registry. These two films join a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures by the Librarian of Congress.

2023, Seeking: Mapping Our Gullah Geechee Story, written and directed by Dash and produced by the Ummah Chroma Creatives, opens in the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC. In this same connection, Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg presented Julie Dash with an award from the White House, Joseph R. Biden’s President’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award for a lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation.
Dash recently completed a film for the opening of the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC, and designed several rooms for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and VOGUE, In American: An Anthology of Fashion, featured at the NYC Met Gala 2022. She produced and directed a promotional fashion film for VOGUE magazine online with Chloe x Halle. Her recent television episodic work includes Reasonable Doubt for Disney+/ Hulu, the ABC limited series Women of The Movement, Our Kind of People for FOX/Hulu, and Queen Sugar for OWN TV.

Dash hosted The Golden Years, a series for Turner Classic Movies. Before that, she delivered the Rajiv Vaidya Memorial Lecture for the National Gallery of Art. She was a presenter with Angela Davis for the Princeton University Combahee Experiment and the Academy Dialogues with Ava DuVernay and Euzhan Palcy. She was the moderator for Conversations That Matter with Nikole Hannah-Jones and a panelist for The Directors Guild of America. Dash is the recipient of the Special Award at the 82nd New York Film Critics Circle, the 2017 Women & Hollywood Trailblazer Award, the 2017 New York Women in Film & Television MUSE Award, The Ebert Award, and inducted into the Penn Cultural Center’s 1862 Circle on St. Helena Island.

Dash has written and directed for CBS, BET, ENCORE STARZ, SHOWTIME, MTV Movies, HBO, and OWN Television. Her long-form narrative films include the NAACP Image Award-winning, Emmy, DGA nominated, The Rosa Parks Story, Incognito, Funny Valentines, Love Song, and Subway Stories: Tales From The Underground. Her work as a film director includes museum and theme park exhibits and design for Disney’s Imagineering, Brothers of the Borderland for The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum, and Smuggling Daydreams into Reality at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Her most recent museum installations include Standing at The Scratch Line at the Philadelphia Museum of African American History and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Shine a Light, a large-scale video mapping projection for the Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit.

Dash has several documentary projects in the works, including Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, a feature-length documentary in progress about Vertamae Smart Grosvenor, a world-renowned author, performer, and chef from rural South Carolina.

Julie Dash is a Fulbright Scholar who earned a BA in Film Studies from the City University of New York, an MFA in Screenwriting at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies, and an MFA in Theater Arts (Film & Television Production) at UCLA.

Julie Dash is a Diana King Endowed Professor in the Department of Art & Visual Culture at Spelman College. (1/24)


Shopping Cart