"Spit on the Broom" is a surrealist documentary that explores the margins of the history of the African American women's group the United Order of Tents, a clandestine organization of black women organized in the 1840s during the height of the Underground Railroad.
A triptych that reaches into the filmmaker's familial lineage of black women artists, this series of films examines the under told story of the haunted artist who also inhabits the unique political position of being black and a woman.
All three of the films in series take on questions of how to extend a black aesthetic to film, applying principles of music theory and West African performance structure in their construction.
These three films in order:
A Quality of Light, Dear Julia and Farewell America.
It Was a Race Riot
This film revisits 90s punk through the words of zine-maker Mimi Thi Nguyen.
Moving between present day and the archive, this documentary short is structured like the zines it's subject makes, moving between the UK, Vietnam, San Francisco, Olympia and Chicago to tell a uniquely punk rock story of heartbreak, evolution, strength, community and the ways we need each other.
May the riot never be erased but remembered for what it was: a race riot.
This film is made possible by the support of Glassbreaker Films.
The United Order of Tents Archive
As part of her ongoing work with artist Simone Leigh, Madeleine Hunt - Ehrlich has spent the last two years working with the United Order of Tents, J.R.Giddings and Joliffe Union on an oral history series and archive of their history.
The Tents are the oldest continuous African American women's group in the United States, founded by freed slaves in the 1840s.
Made in the last years of McKayla Hanson's short life, this film explores a young woman's fearlessness and the women who helped her "survive something you should not have survived."
Growing up in the Flint, Michigan foster care system McKayla was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and lost one of her legs. Doctor’s told her not to expect to be able to run, or ride a bike again, but McKayla had other plans.
This project was completed with support from Tribeca Film Institute.
Things & Time
A body of work composed of sixty photographs that portray street culture in Caribbean American neighborhoods in Miami and New York City. The work examines the visual creoles of these spaces through the curation and spontaneous occurrence of objects and images in people’s homes and businesses and in the everyday instance of street life. These images explore a liminal cultural space, where home is not something fixed but rather something negotiated again and again by the placement of bodies and symbols.
Support for these images came from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council as well as from Fanm Ayisyen Nam Miyami Inc.
A Gentleman's War
"What do they know of Cricket, who only cricket know?" - CLR James
This portrait of a summer cricket league in New York City completed in 2013, is a story of the utopian world this predominantly immigrant community has constructed on their weekends.
Made with the support of the National Black Programming Consortium and distributed online by Black Public Media.