The Revival: Women and the Word produced by Jade Foster and directed by Sekiya Dorsett will be screened at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series on Saturday, October 22 in Brooklyn, New York.
This critically acclaimed documentary captures the adventure of an unforgettable road trip of five young women as they journey across America in a cramped minivan traveling 2,500 miles to become poetry rockstars and reclaim their space in the world of poetry and spoken word. With moments of humor, rage, conversations on sexuality and gender identity and sisterhood, the film documents a full range of experiences and tells a never-before-seen story of queer women of color. The film features interviews with leading black feminist thinkers like Nikki Finney and Alexis DeVeaux along with conversations on gender and race, and is told through the lens of THE REVIVAL, which toured Brooklyn, Toronto, Detroit, Oberlin, Chicago, Atlanta, Durham, and Washington, D.C. in October 2012. Tickets for this film can be purchased HERE.
HBR Media had the pleasure of speaking with Dorsett about her experience in making this film and the impact that this film will undoubtedly have on generations to come.
HBR: In your own words, what is The Revival: Women and the Word about?
Dorsett: At its core, this film is a story about survival. We have five queer women of color – who are artists living on their own terms. This is a story about triumph and sisterhood. Throughout the film, the audience is able to see how each of the women confront various issues in their lives surrounding family, racism, etc . It’s a really well rounded story.
HBR: What was the inspiration behind this film?
Dorsett: I met Jade, who also produced and stars in the film, a few years ago and she asked me to sponsor her with fifty dollars, and I gave it to her because I knew then, that she was a force to be reckoned with. I had the opportunity to sit down with the team, and felt a strong sense of community for the first time in a long time..I’m originally from the Bahamas, it was the first time that I felt a sense of family amongst colleagues and friends since I moved here.. It’s similar to when black person who attends a predominantly white college finds a black space within, and it’s an eye opener. As a queer woman, alone in New York, finding this space and this group of creative was just an amazing experience.
HBR: That’s a great analogy! Regarding the production process of the film, what were some of the challenges that came along with getting this film made?
Dorsett: Quite honestly, I think it’s the same challenges we have now. People often ask, “Why would I go see a film about 5 queer women who are poets?” “What could these women be saying for me?” This type of thinking is not only narrow, but it leaves out humanity. The purpose of film as a whole is to expose audiences to a different way of living and a different way of being, and to experiences cultures and people who you normally wouldn’t come into contact with. This in itself is a beautiful thing as it deepens our perspective, and increases our knowledge for those who are different than us.
HBR: How did you choose the women who were featured in your film?
Dorsett: Jade actually chose the women for the tour that year, and all of these women with these dynamic stories were assembled. We didn’t even know we were going to be making a film at the time, this was just something Jade did every year.
HBR: Wow! So you didn’t really have a story prepared? The story formed itself over the course of production?
Dorsett: It really did. We just turned the camera on and continued to record and tried to stay awake. We were making the film and trying to maintain our sanity at the same time the women were on tour and doing their thing.
HBR: I’m sure being on tour and being together 24/7 inspired a lot of stories! What was the most rewarding part of telling this story?
Dorsett: Queer women of color are often erased, and through this film we were able to capture a slice of life that people can look back at and see. Decades from now, people will be able to see that we were and very much are apart of history.
HBR: What up and coming projects do you currently have on the radar that we can look out for?
Dorsett: I’m developing a comedic short film about a bride that decides she’s making the biggest mistake of her life on her wedding day. And hopefully, I will also be shooting another documentary by the end of the year. Overall, I hope to tell more stories featuring women of color. That’s very important for me.
HBR: Do you have any advice for young up and coming filmmakers?
Dorsett: When it comes to filmmaking, you have to put your heart and soul into it and leverage all of your resources. With craft services for example, if your aunt can cook, you need to be calling her! If you have that little cousin who is a troublemaker, maybe he can help carry lights or run around as a PA. Filmmaking is a community effort, keeping connections and making new ones is so important. Stay consistent, stay motivated, and watch many different types of films. Keep yourself in the filmmaking space and surround yourself with other filmmakers. The creative energy will keep you inspired.