For as long as any of us have been around, the canon — those books, plays, films and TV series — anointed as the most important of their kind — has been largely defined as white and male. Join us for a discussion on how we can make the canon more inclusive of women and people of color whose voices and experiences have been historically omitted from the cultural narratives.
This panel will be moderated by Michelle Materre
Michelle Materre is producer, writer, arts administrator, and distribution and marketing specialist. She was a staff writer/producer for Henry Hampton’s Blackside Productions, and an assistant story editor for MGM/UA. She is a founding partner of KJM3 Entertainment Group and managed the marketing of Daughters of the Dust. Her film series, Creatively Speaking, has been a premiere forum for presenting works by and about women and people of color. In February 2015, Creatively Speaking co-presented the film series Tell It Like it Is: Black Independents in NYC 1968-1986 with The Film Society of Lincoln Center. She is Co-Producer of the documentary Black Women in Medicine, as well as Educational Outreach and Distribution coordinator. This year, she co-curated One Way or Another: Black Women Filmmakers 1970 – 1991. Richard Brody of The New Yorker listed the program as The Best Repertory Series of 2017 in his Best Movies of 2017 end of year publication. The National Society of Film Critics honored it with the Film Heritage Award of 2017. Ms. Materre is the Director of the Bachelor’s Program at The New School and is a member of the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film and Television; a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award from The New School in 2005, The Pen and Brush Society’s ‘Accomplished Women in the Arts’ Award, and a featured artist in the annual journal, Artists and Influence.
Montre Aza Missouri
Dan Schoenbrun is the co-creator of the independent TV show The Eyeslicer, the first season of which features work by 50+ visionary directors including David Lowery, Amy Seimetz, Lauren Wolkstein, Shaka King, and many more. The Eyeslicer premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and has been called “one of the craziest TV shows you’ll ever see” (Indiewire) and an “insane variety show puree” (Entertainment Weekly). Previously, Dan spearheaded and produced the anthology feature film collective:unconscious, in which five filmmakers adapted each other’s dreams for the screen. collective:unconscious premiered in Competition at SXSW 2016, has been viewed over 300,000 times online. Dan previously worked as the Senior Film Outreach Lead at Kickstarter and the Associate Director of Programming at IFP, and writes the column Continue Watching for FILMMAKER Magazine.
Montre Aza Missouri is founder and creative director of Parallel Film Collective that produces, exhibits and promotes independent film and is a founding partner of award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s distribution company ARRAY. Having worked in England, Northern Ireland, Ghana and Nigeria, Montre is also an independent filmmaker and Associate Professor in Film at Howard University, where she teaches scriptwriting, film directing, film history and African cinema. She holds a PhD in Film Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London. Her new book, Black Magic Woman and Narrative Film: Race, Sex, and Afro-Religiosity, focuses on images of Yoruba-Atlantic Religions, racial and cultural hybridity as represented in independent and mainstream cinemas.
A dramaturg, playwright, producer, scholar and administrator, Dr. Susan Jonas held leadership positions at The Acting Company, Classical Stage Company and Classical Theatre of Harlem. During her decade-long tenure as Theatre Arts Analyst at New York State Council on the Arts, she conceived of and supervised a three-year national study which culminated in the groundbreaking and influential “Report on the Status of Women in Theatre.” Partnering with N.Y.U., C.U.N.Y., Princeton and The New School, she worked to restore women’s contribution to the living repertory, founding The Legacy Project, and co-founding both 50/50 in 2020 (awarded the 2010 New York Theatre Experience Person of the Year) and On Her Shoulders, curating its inaugural season. Jonas has taught at New York University, Ithaca College, University of New Hampshire and Princeton, and guest lectured at numerous universities, arts and service organizations, including Women in Film. She writes for publications such as American Theatre, generally on issues of representation affecting women in history and contemporary theatre, and consults with education and production on the ten-century female canon of dramatic writing. Her adaptations are produced regionally and in New York, where she resides. She holds a B.A. from Princeton and a D.F.A. From Yale School of Drama.
Rachel Watanabe-Batton is a Producer, Independent Media Strategist and President of Contradiction & Struggle, an American production and consulting company dedicated to telling authentic stories by visionary women and men that reframe history and cultural understanding while building robust distribution pathways by connecting film, television, digital and commercial content with capital, social causes and global audiences. Watanabe-Batton actively serves on the Boards of Directors of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) and Women Independent Producers (WIP), and received the MADE IN NY Award from Mayor Bill DeBlasio and The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for her ongoing advocacy as Chair of PGA Diversity and a founding Co-Chair of PGA Women’s Impact Network.