1084 N MILWAUKEE, CHICAGO

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye

Six Short Films by Cheryl Dunye

Sunday, February 23rd, 7 PM, $7-$10

Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, humorous and important filmmakers of our time, Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema – call it the ‘Dunyementary.’ Using a mixture of narrative and documentary techniques, the ‘Dunyementary’ challenges social and cultural norms through a sharply funny and reflexive lens. Never scholarly or didactic, Dunye appreciates the value in entertaining viewers.

Her acclaimed first feature THE WATERMELON WOMAN (1996) introduced Cheryl to wider audiences, who fell in love with her self-deprecating and insightful wit – not to mention the great casts she assembled (including herself). But what came before this modern-day classic?

Presented here are the films that started it all – the early works which gave birth to an extraordinary and original filmmaking talent. Made with great creativity on often miniscule budgets, they represent the first chapter of the Cheryl Dunye oeuvre.

JANINE (Experimental Documentary, 1990)
The story of a black lesbian’s relationship with a white, upper middle class high school girl.

SHE DON’T FADE (Experimental Narrative, 1991)
A self-reflexive look at the sexuality of a young black lesbian.

“Sharp, funny and intelligent.” -Yvonne Welbon, Film Scholar

VANILLA SEX (Experimental Documentary, 1992)
Is it who you do, or what you do?

AN UNTITLED PORTRAIT (Video Montage, 1993)
Dunye’s relationship with her brother is examined in this mixture of appropriated film footage, super 8mm home movies & Dunye’s special brand of humor.

THE POTLUCK AND THE PASSION (Experimental Narrative, 1993)
Sparks fly as racial, sexual and social politics intermingle at a lesbian potluck.

GREETINGS FROM AFRICA (Narrative, 1994)
Cheryl, playing herself, humorously experiences the mysteries of lesbian dating in the 90’s.

“A winsome comic confessional… Dunye is so endearing that I felt privileged to spend 8 minutes in her company.” -Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Press

(1990 – 1994, United States, Digital, 80 mins)

Text from First Run Features.

Programmed by Kathleen Sachs.



Filed under: black and brown, documentary, essay, experimental, feminism, queer

Duke & Battersby

short works by Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby

Friday, November 22nd, 7 PM, $7-$10

(2001-2019, Canada / United States, digital, 52 min + discussion)

Cooper Battersby (b. 1971, Penticton British Columbia, Canada) and Emily Vey Duke (b. 1972, Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada) have been working collaboratively since June 1994. They work in printed matter, installation, new media, curation and sound, but their primary practice is in single-channel video. Between discussions of life, death, and sexuality, Duke & Battersby craft a simultaneously cute, violent, and emotive universe, starting a poetic and psychoanalytic dialog between humans, animals, plants, and their camera.

Bad Ideas for Paradise
(2001, 20 min)

Lesser Apes
(2011, 12 min)

Here is Everything
(2013, 14 min)

Civil Twilight at the Vernal Equinox
(2019, 6 min, Work in Progress)

This program is produced in partnership with The Block Museum.



Filed under: animation, artist in attendance, environmental, essay, experimental, feminism, new media

Next Page »