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The African American Film Critics Association Announces Its Celebration of Women in Cinema
By Sentinel News Service
Published October 19, 2017

(file photo)

As part of its 9th Annual Awards Program, the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) proclaimed 2017 the “Year of the Woman in Cinema.” From big budget films like Patty Jenkin’s critically and commercially successful “Wonder Woman,” to equally important movies like “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” “A United Kingdom,” “The Beguiled,” “Detroit,” and Dee Rees’ upcoming “Mudbound,” women are rightfully being recognized for their long overdue equity in potential for quality, successful filmmaking.

“There is no argument that women have made a bold step forward this year in Hollywood,” says AAFCA President, Gil Robertson.  “The evidence demonstrated during the past year speaks for itself both in terms of box office and critical recognition by women and we predict that there will be continued momentum going forward.  We are also pleased that African American women are a part of this progress and are taking advantage of increased opportunities to make their cinematic imprint.”

Women have been working behind the camera in cinema since its inception when French cinephile Alice Guy-Blaché created “La Fee Aux Choux (“The Fairy Of The Cabbages”) in 1896. Although there were other women who followed her lead, it took nearly a hundred years before they achieved greater impact when directors like Catherine Hardwicke and Nancy Meyers made films that collectively earned over a billion dollars at the box office and Kathryn Beigelow won Best Film/Director Oscars for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009.


African American female directors have been presenters with fewer opportunities. Some contend that the obscure Maria P. Williams was the first with 1923’s “The Flames Of Wrath.” Female directors, especially those of color, have largely remained outliers in Hollywood. This year, with its record output of female-helmed projects, that has begun to change. With Ava DuVernay’s anticipated $100 million-budget “A Wrinkle In Time” due out during March 2018, Women’s History Month, the change appears headed towards normalcy as women in general, and African American female directors in particular, receive increased opportunities on the big screen.

“Women wrote, produced and directed some of the year’s most compelling, provocative and culturally relevant movies,” adds AAFCA co-founder, Shawn Edwards. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that women have a permanent place at the table with equal representation.”

The organization also announced the recipients of its special achievement honors, with “Get Out’s’” Jordan Peele; Alcon Entertainment’s Co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove; current LA Film Festival president, Claudia Puig and ABC Entertainment President, Channing Dungey being recognized.

AAFCA’s “Celebration of Women in Cinema” will take place during the organization’s annual ceremony on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. That show will be proceeded by the third edition of the AAFCA Special Achievement Luncheon on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, CA.

Established in 2003, the African American Film Critics Association represents the world’s largest group of black film critics and conducts a year-round calendar of programming for entertainment journalists, filmmakers and film enthusiast.

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