Documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen will discuss her new film. The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.
Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker who has directed and produced films in the U.S. and abroad including Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Her latest film The New Black premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June and went on to win Audience Awards at AFI Docs and Philly Q Fest and Frameline LGBT Film Festival as well as a special jury mention at Frameline. The film continues to play festivals all over the world and will open at New York’s Film Forum next February and air on PBS’s Independent Lens next June. Yoruba has received numerous grants including from ITVS, The Sundance Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and the Ford Foundation. She won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance producers’ fellow. Richen’s previous film Promised Land, received a Diverse Voices Co-Production fund award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and was broadcast on PBS’s POV in 2010. In 2007, Richen won a Fulbright award in filmmaking and traveled to Salvador, Brazil, where she began production on Sisters of the Good Death, a documentary about the oldest African women’s association in the Americas and the annual festival they hold celebrating the end of slavery. Prior to that, Richen was the co-producer of Take it From Me, a documentary exploring the effects of welfare reform on New York City women, which was broadcast on POV in 2001. She was also an associate producer for the investigative unit of ABC News as well as a producer for the independent news program Democracy Now. Richen teaches documentary film at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and is a Guggenheim Fellow.