Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sheryl Gripper Film Industry Leader to be Honored by Spelman College Digital Moving Image Salon

Sheryl Gripper, C'72, founding director of the Black Women Film Network and executive director of the BronzeLens Film Festival, will receive the first annual Moving Image Award presented by the Spelman College Digital Moving Image Salon during the Reel Women Film Showcase at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 14, at Midtown Art Cinema.

Gripper will be recognized for her pioneering efforts to amplify the work of Black women filmmakers. A multi-Emmy Award winner, she is former vice president of community relations for the Networks of 11Alive, Atlanta’s NBC affiliate and WATL-36.

“Sheryl is a generous visionary in the moving image community who has opened many doors,” said Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., founder and director of the Digital Moving Image Salon. “She has been instrumental in helping Black women to tell their stories in front of and behind the camera.”

The Black Women Film Network (formerly the Black Women’s Film Preservation Network) was established in 1997 to increase the number of women of all cultures in the film and media industry. Since then, the organization has given funds for scholarships to women pursuing careers in film, broadcast and related areas and is undertaking a program to provide completion funding assistance in post production, marketing and distribution for established filmmakers.

Sheryl GripperThe BronzeLens Film Festival, a film festival for people of color, is part of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a collective that theatrically releases quality independent African-American films through simultaneous limited engagements.

Also on the same program on April 14, the Digital Moving Image Salon will present its seventh annual student film showcase, which will screen the following four films:

“Neks Wol No go Tan So (The Next World Won't Be So)”

* Producers: M'Ballu Tejan-Sie, Blaire Smith and Nekesa J. Smith. The memories of three women who survived the civil war in Sierra Leone are highlighted in this film. The women share their journey of leaving war-torn Sierra Leone and rebuilding their lives in Atlanta. Their stories attest to their trials, celebrate their personal triumphs and highlight their overwhelming desires to return home.

“By Any Other Name”

* Producers: Daniel Edwards, Roberta Stanfield and Khadijah Ameen. The traditional notion of family is challenged in this documentary portrait of Cindy Lutenbacher, Ph.D., a white English professor at Morehouse College, who mounts a host of personal challenges to create a family of her own. This intimate documentary portrait follows Lutenbacher and her family as she candidly shares the experiences that led to her choice to become a single mother, adopting three daughters from different ethnic backgrounds.

“Beyond the Storm”

* Producers: JaneĆ© Chambers, Darlene W. Garcia and Lauren Brown Jarvis. Five years after Hurricane Katrina and the broken levees, many women in New Orleans have rebuilt their homes, but in too many instances, their lives and communities are still fractured. “Beyond the Storm” looks into the post-Katrina challenges that arose for women and how they are facing these challenges as they continue to rebuild their lives.

“The Shadow Behind the Rainbow”

* Producers: Je-Shawna Wholley, Moriah Thomas and Cyncere White. The activism of Black queer women often goes unnoticed in both the Civil Rights and Gay Rights Movements. This documentary highlights some of the historical contributions as well as current contributions by young Atlanta-based activists.

The award presentation and film showcase are free and open to the public. Midtown Art Cinema is located at 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. For more information, visit Reel Women Film Showcase.

About the Digital Moving Image Salon: The Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS) began at Spelman College in the fall of 2004. Founded by internationally award-winning filmmaker and digital media artist, Ayoka Chenzira, it is a mechanism through which the College encourages and supports the growing number of students interested in creating stories for digital media platforms. For more information, visit DMIS.


Spelman College: Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts an 83 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact(s) : Audrey Arthur (404) 270-5892

IMAGE CREDIT: Sheryl Gripper Facebook

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