Reel Sisters Honors Activist & Author Nana Camille Yarbrough With Trailblazing Filmmakers Sandra Guzmán And Leslie Harris

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On Friday, Oct. 11, 6:00 pm, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series will honor award-winning performance artist, author and cultural activist Camille Yarbrough with our distinguished Reel Sisters Hattie McDaniel Award for her outstanding contributions to film, television, literature and performing arts over six decades. The Reel Sisters Trailblazer Award will be presented to Sandra Guzman, producer and lead interviewer of Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am, and pioneering filmmaker Leslie Harris, director of the classic film Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. Cash prizes will also be presented to our award-winning filmmakers. Tickets: $35 ($30 - Bring A Pal discount for 2+ tickets).

Reel Sisters will celebrate the evening with a screening of Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am. Following the film, Malaika Adero, former VP/Senior Editor of Atria (Simon & Schuster), will moderate a conversation with Sandra Guzman and artist/scholar/cultural worker OlaRonke Akinmowo, founder of The Free Black Women's Library.

Award-winning producer/actress Andrea Lewis (Degrassi: The Next Generation), our 2019 festival curator, will serve as our esteemed Mistress of Ceremonies for an exciting evening of fun, film and networking!

"We are proud to honor our sheroe Nana Camille Yarbrough with Sandra Guzmán and Leslie Harris for their compassionate leadership in paving the way for women in the arts and film world," said Reel Sisters Founder Carolyn A. Butts. "Reel Sisters' theme for 2019 is #IGotYourBack and our honorees are women whose careers are founded on giving back and helping other artists and organizations in our community. We hope their lives will continue inspiring philanthropy and collective progress."

Reel Sisters honors film professionals for their outstanding contributions in film and role in supporting women artists. Previous Reel Sisters award winners include JT Takagi (Third World Newsreel), Terence Nance (HBO's Random Acts of Flyness), Tamara Tunie, Nicole Beharie, Cathy Hughes, Naturi Naughton, Issa Rae, Ebony Jo-Ann, Jessica Williams, Margot B., Neema Barnette, Julie Dash, Michelle Materre, Pearl Bowser, Shola Lynch, Lonette McKee, Mahen Bonetti, Mable Haddock, Moikgantsi Kgama, Irene Cara, Madeline Anderson and Kojo Ade.

Founded by African Voices magazine and LIU Brooklyn Campus, Reel Sisters is the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival devoted to women of color. Since 1997, Reel Sisters has showcased over 3,540 films produced, directed and written by women filmmakers in every genre. Reel Sisters attracts more than 2,271 film lovers from across the nation and globe including California, Chicago, Florida to as far away as Britain, Germany, Africa and India. The festival screens over 40 films each year. Reel Sisters also provides scholarships to emerging women filmmakers and offers other resources for women filmmakers.

The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival is supported, in part, by Council members Laurie Cumbo (35 C.D.) and Farah Louis (45 C.D.), New York State Council on the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council and ALOFT Hotel.

Camille Yarbrough is an award-winning performance artist, author and cultural activist. With a career that spans over sixty years, several continents, countless awards and accolades, Nana Camille has earned legendary status. She continues to inspire audiences today via Ancestor House, a local, long-running television show of sixteen years, her popular music album (also entitled Ancestor House), and performances and lectures focusing on poetry, music, Black art, spirituality, and culture.

She began her career as a dancer, singer, and actress touring with the Katherine Dunham Company. During this period she honed her performance and producing gifts and immersed herself in an independent study of African people throughout the Diaspora. Yarbrough was enstooled in New York by Abladei, Inc. (Ghanaian) as Naa Kuokor Agyman 1, founder of the Stool House of Harriet Tubman and was given the honorary title of "Nana."

Camille Yarbrough has been presented with the Lorraine Hansberry Award by the Goodman Theater in Chicago, the Unity Award in Media by Lincoln University of Missouri, the Parents Choice Award, and accolades from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Her article, "Today I Feel Like I Am Somebody," was published in the drama section of The New York Times. Her three part article, "Black Dance In America," was published in The Black Collegian, while her photo essay, "Female Style And Beauty in Ancient Africa" was published in Black Women in Antiquity, edited by Ivan Van Sertima. She has written four critically acclaimed books for children. Her album The Iron Pot Cooker was critically acclaimed and from it, her song "Take Yo' Praise" was sampled by Fat Boy Slim and became an international hit. Camille Yarbrough was a faculty member of the Black Studies Department at City College in New York for twelve years.

Sandra Guzmán is an Emmy-award winning journalist and documentarian whose work explores American identity at the intersection of culture, gender, race, sexuality, spirituality and ethnicity. Sandra was the last journalist to interview Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison for the acclaimed American Masters film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

Sandra's work in documentary explores American identity - The Women's List, The Latino List, and The Boomer List - and has aired on Netflix, HBO, and PBS for the American Masters portfolio. She was Associate Editor at The New York Post, where she created and edited a dozen feature sections focusing on New York's religious, racial, and ethnic communities. Sandra is the former editor of Latina magazine and author of The New Latina's Bible, a non-fiction book examining critical issues of contemporary Latinx women.

She is a frequent contributor to NBC News and writes thought pieces for CNN and other platforms.

Leslie Harris, an award-winning writer/director/producer, is currently working on several features including a sequel to Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., and a documentary based on her experiences as one of the first African-American women to finance, produce and sell a feature directly to a major studio through her own production company. Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. was released in 1993 on over 200 screens in the US and 20 countries worldwide. The feature won the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize and was an official selection at the Tokyo, Toronto and Deauville film festivals. Leslie is the recipient of the IFP Gotham Open Palm Award, AFI Filmmaker Award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. She wrote, directed and produced the award-winning short Bessie Coleman's Dream to Fly for Showtime Networks. Coleman was the first African-American to receive a pilot's license, two years before Amelia Earhart. Leslie's new feature, I Love Cinema, a satire about sex, race and the alt-right media, is still looking for financing.

Andrea Lewis' artistic talents emerged at an early age. Before celebrating her 16th birthday, this Toronto born entertainer had already acted alongside Hollywood heavyweights such as Diahann Carroll in The Natalie Cole Story, and Wesley Snipes and Dr. Maya Angelou, in her critically acclaimed directorial debut, Down in the Delta.

After wrapping up on the Disney movie Cadet Kelly alongside Hilary Duff, Lewis soon spent 6 seasons on the hit show Degrassi: The Next Generation and became known around the world as "Hazel." Millions of North Americans tuned in each week to watch Andrea in the award-winning drama, which is ranked No. 1 in Canada and the US.

Lewis has garnered international attention from Degrassi, which landed her in the pages of Teen People, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. Taking her career to another level, Lewis started Jungle Wild Productions, where she created the hit web series Black Actress, written by and starring Lewis. Black Actress can be seen alongside the relationship drama, Beyond Complicated, on YouTube at


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