Online arts pick: A spotlight on black filmmakers

Director Cheryl Dunye, director of the 1996 film, "The Watermelon Woman," is often noted as a leading queer filmmaker.
Director Cheryl Dunye, director of the 1996 film, “The Watermelon Woman,” and who is often noted as a leading queer filmmaker. Dunye was photographed on USC’s Campus at the ONE Archive that celebrated the director’s work with an exhibit.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

With much of the arts moving to online and streaming platforms, here’s a look at a weekly standout:

My pick: Cinema Junkie’s spotlight on black filmmakers.

Why: Movies are so powerful because they allow us to see the world from different perspectives. They open a portal to worlds - real or imaginary - different from our own.

And right now, amid the ongoing marches for social justice and protests against police violence, people are seeking out films with similar themes. And there’s plenty out there, on various streaming platforms you can find powerful titles like “Just Mercy” “13th” and “I Am Not Your Negro.”

But if you’re looking for more options, head over to Cinema Junkie, a Facebook page devoted to film and pop culture. Since June 3, a different black filmmaker has been featured on the page, along with historical context and a link or reference guide on how to watch films.

So far, it’s spotlighted, among others: Oscar Micheaux, who formed a production company in 1919 and whose film “Within Our Gates” challenged the racism depicted in D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation”; Julie Dash, whose 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust” was, as the post says, the “first full-length film directed by an African-American woman to obtain general theatrical release in the United States” (1991!); and Cheryl Dunye, the first black lesbian filmmaker to direct and release a feature.

Cinema Junkie is run by local film critic and KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando, who is not black but says “I’m doing this because film is what I know, and where I can share examples that I have learned from, and any time I can shine a spotlight on great filmmakers of any kind, I try to do that.”

Find it: Like Cinema Junkie‘s page on Facebook.