The Beaufort Film Society will present Julie Dash with the inaugural Robert Smalls Merit & Achievement Award at the 11th annual Beaufort International Film Festival on Sunday, February 19, 2017. The award has been named after Beaufort native and Civil War hero Robert Smalls, who rose from a slave to a United States Congressman, and is granted to filmmakers whose body of work has served as a catalyst for groundbreaking discoveries and societal change. Michael Boulware Moore, the great, great grandson of Robert Smalls and the President and CEO of the International African-American Museum (opening in Charleston, SC in 2018) will present the award.

For more information about the 11th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival, visit

Daughters of the Dust was acquired earlier this year by the Cohen Film Collection, and will be re-released in theaters on November 18.  This will mark the 25th anniversary of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Daughters is the first feature directed by an African American woman to receive general theatrical release.  Julie Dash is a legendary filmmaker who has paved the way for an entire generation of filmmakers who are pushing forward towards their artistic pursuits.  Daughters of the Dust is set at the turn of the 20th century among South Carolina’s Gullah community, descendants of slaves who settled on the coastal islands. Notably featuring heavy use of the Gullah dialect, the unconventional story, narrated by an unborn child, follows the women of an extended family who have long preserved their beliefs, language, and traditions, but face irrevocable changes as they prepare to move to the Industrial north as part of the Great Migration.

In 1999, the 25th Annual Newark Black Film Festival honored Dash and Daughters of the Dust as being one of the most important cinematic achievements in Black Cinema in the 20th century.  In December 2004, The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry where it joined 400 American films preserved as a National Treasures.  Daughters of the Dust went on to greatly influence subsequent black cinema and black culture, and most recently was referenced in Beyonce’s Lemonade special for HBO.

Dash is currently in production on a feature length documentary about Vertamae Smart Grosvenor, a world-renowned author, performer, and chef from rural South Carolina who led a remarkably unique and complex life. The film is based upon Grosvenor’s bestselling work, Vibration Cooking: or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl.