From Pillars (2020), dir. Haley Elizabeth Anderson (courtesy New Negress Film Society)

In its inaugural year, the Black Women’s Film Conference sold out its venue at MoMA PS1. For its second iteration (which, like everything else this year, is taking place online due to COVID-19), the organizers have put together even more events, bringing together Black women and nonbinary filmmakers, along with curators and scholars, to exhibit their work, talk about their craft, and forge connections.

The conference is a project of the New Negress Film Society, a collective of filmmakers which includes Ja’Tovia Gary and Nuotama Bodomo. Their public programs and films “center the voices and experiences of Black non-binary, women and girls.” They further describe their mission:

The work we create, the programming we offer, and the conversations we facilitate are all rooted in a legacy of collective artmaking, institution-building, and consciousness-raising grounded in the personal and political realities of Black people. We protect the integrity of our artistic process from the harms of commercialization and commodification, and we believe the best protection is collectivizing.

Each week, the conference will host different films by participants for free streaming. Currently, you can watch short films like Shirley Bruno’s 2016 fantasy Tezen and Haley Elizabeth Anderson’s Pillars, which played at Sundance and Rotterdam this year. Every Thursday and Friday of the conference, there will be a live conversation between participants streamed via Facebook and YouTube. Bruno and Anderson will discuss their respective approaches to the coming-of-age story. Gary, Rikki Wright, and Renata Cherlise will talk about working with archival materials. And finally, the conference will close out with an online dance party DJ’d by New Negress alum Dyani Douze.

Not content to wait for the mainstream to catch up to them, the participants in these events are creating some of the most vivid, exciting work happening in today’s independent film world. The Black Women’s Film Conference is a great way not just to familiarize yourself with their work, but also to get to know them and their practice.

When: September 7–October 4
Where: The New Negress Film Society website (register for events here)

Dan Schindel is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Brooklyn, and a former associate editor at Hyperallergic. His portfolio and links are here.