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)

Available Title(s):

Diary of an African Nun

A film by Julie Dash, 1977, 13 min, B&W

DIARY OF AN AFRICAN NUN (dir. Julie Dash, 1977), adapted from a short story by Alice Walker, follows a nun in Uganda consumed by doubt as she prepares to take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Her anguish intensifies night after night as she lies in her convent room and listens to the rhythmic, beckoning…

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Four Women

A film by Julie Dash, 1975, 10 min, Color

In FOUR WOMEN (dir. Julie Dash, 1975), one of the first experimental films by a Black woman filmmaker, dancer Linda Martina Young interprets the same-titled ballad by Nina Simone and embodies the spirits of four women — Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing and Peaches — who represent common stereotypes of Black women attempting to survive…

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A film by Julie Dash, 1983, 34 min, BW

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…

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Praise House

A film by Julie Dash, 1991, 25 min, Color

PRAISE HOUSE combines elements of theater, dance and music based on the rhythms and rituals of Africa. Julie Dash, director of DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, collaborated with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder and choreographer of Urban Bush Women, to explore the source of creativity and its effect on three generations of African American women. PRAISE…

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