Symposium Honors 20th Anniversary of Professor Dunye's 'The Watermelon Woman'

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY) -- Among the highlights was the conversation between filmmaker and SF State Cinema Studies Professor Cheryl Dunye and filmmaker Dee Rees. Desiree Buford, director of exhibition and programming for the Frameline International LGBTQ Film Festival, moderated the conversation. Rees began the conversation with a tribute to Dunye. In her tribute, she stated, “Her [Dunye’s] seminal work “The Watermelon Woman,” 20 years ago, forever changed the idea of what filmmaking, what filmmakers could be, could say, could look like.” Rees expressed how important Dunye’s work was to her own development as a filmmaker because it affirmed all of the aspect of her identity as a black lesbian filmmaker. Rees has indeed made a splash in the film world with her feature films, “Pariah” (2011) and “Bessie” (2015), both of which depict the lives of black lesbians.