BAM’s celebration of Black women filmmakers closes with rousing reception

NADINE MATTHEWS | 3/9/2017, midnight
Among other things, “Daughters of the Dust” is a film deeply concerned with making sure that history and culture are ...
(L-R) Gina David, Michelle Materre, Madeline Anderson, Kathe Sandler, Francis Bodomo and Rhonda Hansome Jurate Veceraite photos

Long before the phrase social justice warrior became a household term, Anderson was making films that focused on those issues. She directed her first documentary, “Integration Report One” in 1960. That film followed the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Her film, “I Am Somebody,” one of the selections in the BAM series, was completed in 1970. A film full of powerful images of Black women being agents of change for their own lives and the lives of their communities, it documents the strike of almost 400 Black female hospital workers in the late 1960s. They were battling for unionization, better working conditions and wages. At the time, the women were earning $1.30 per hour. “I Am Somebody” is lauded in part for showcasing the intersections of not only race and gender but also class although it is to be noted that white feminists long rejected it as a feminist film.

Anderson offered her take on the current film industry. “When I was looking at the Oscars, I didn’t see one Black face in any of the set designers, etc.,” she said. “In those industries, it still seems to be not diverse at all. It’s still not integrated and I think it’s because of regulations, not laws. We have laws, but the regulations are really what runs these unions. The memberships in these unions are not as diverse as they should be.”