Thursday, September 3, 2015

Black Paris Documentary Wins Big at Film Festival in Berlin

A few days ago, a big envelope showed up in the mail box of long-time film directors Joanne and David Burke. When Joanne opened it, she found that she has won a Best Film/Video award from the 30th annual Black International Cinema festival in Berlin as director of her documentary series When African Americans Came to Paris, Part I & II (The Stars). The award category for which she won is "Video on Matters Relating to the Black Experience/Marginalized People."

Joanne Burke
Image courtesy of Joanne and David Burke

Award certificate - Black International Cinema Film Awards
Image courtesy of Joanne and David Burke

Joanne is a film and video director-producer-editor with several years of high-level experience. From the late 1960s to 1986, she was one of the top documentary film editor​s in New York, editing more than twenty long-form documentaries for CBS, NBC, PBS, and HBO on social, political, and cultural themes.

Since she moved to Paris in 1986, Joanne has produced, directed, and edited a number of additional documentaries. Her award-winning film on jazz great Mary Lou Williams - Mary Lou Williams: Music on My Mind (1990) - has been broadcast on PBS, CBC in Canada, Arte, and a number of other channels in France. All these films have been independently produced in partnership with her documentary filmmaker and former 60 MINUTES writer/producer husband, David Burke.

David Burke at American Library of Paris presentation of
When African Americans Came to Paris - Part I
© Discover Paris!

When African Americans Came to Paris focuses primarily on the period between 1900 and the 1930s, a segment in the history of African Americans in Paris that is much less well known compared to that of the post-World War II era.

Part I is comprised of six videos:
  • W. E. B. DuBois and the 1900 Paris Exposition
  • Henry Ossawa Tanner: An Artist in Exile
  • The Harlem Hellfighters
  • James Reese Europe: Warrior and Musician
  • Jazz Comes to Paris
  • Three Women Artists in Paris

When African Americans Came to Paris - Part I
Image courtesy of Joanne and David Burke

Part II consists of three videos:
  • Josephine Baker: A Most Extraordinary Life
  • Sidney Bechet: The Wizard of Jazz
  • Black Writers across the Atlantic

When African Americans Came to Paris - Part II
Image courtesy of Joanne and David Burke

I have had the pleasure of viewing both parts of When African Americans Came to Paris. The commentary by pre-eminent scholars combined with the (often rare) video clips and photos bring historical African-American Paris alive like no other film or video that I've seen to date!

Each video can stand alone. My favorite is "Three Women Artists in Paris," found in Part I, which provides excellent and well-needed exposure for the African-American women whose stories are so often overlooked in conversations about "black Paris."

When African Americans Came to Paris has been released by Blue Lion Films in partnership with Julia Browne of Walking the Spirit Tours. To view the trailers and to purchase, click HERE.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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Patricia A. Patton said...

Hi Monique
Who are the 3 women artists you referred to. How magnificent. I'd love to see all of them.

About Beauford Delaney said...

They are Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Augusta Savage, and Loïs Mailou Jones, Patricia. Prophet and Savage were sculptors. Jones was a painter.