Pioneer filmmaker Julie Dash’s classic Daughters of the Dust has been acquired by Cohen Media Group’s Cohen Film Collection (maintains a library of classic films). The film will be re-release and fully restored to theaters in Fall 2016. This will be the 25th anniversary of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I’m excited about the restoration of Daughters of the Dust being made available to the public, and delighted to have the opportunity to engage with a new generation of people who have never seen the film.” – Julie Dash
Daughters of the Dust 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.
“Daughters of the Dust is a powerful and moving work of art that showcases an important period in America’s history. We are thrilled and honored to be able to celebrate the talented Julie Dash and to bring this film to theaters across the country for a new audience to see.” – Tim Lanza, Vice President and Media Archivist for Cohen Film Collection
The restored version is set to screen at the Cannes film market on May 11th. Following the Cannes screening, the film restoration will have its domestic premiere May 20 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Dash will be in attendance for the screening and a post-screening Q&A which will be moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry.
Dash will also be at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland the weekend of April 29–May 1 to discuss a retrospective of her work and the evolution of independent filmmaking, crowd sourcing and the preservation of indigenous religions and cultures of the African Diaspora.