My parents, especially my father, used to tell me and my brothers about the various folklore of Trinidad and Tobago. Douen was one of the stories that stuck because the thought alone was horrifying. My mom would put a blanket over her head and act like a ghost.
I am excited to write and direct my second horror film “Douen“, based on the folklore!
“Douen” is a horror film short that follows a woman that comes face-to-face with the collision of her dreams and reality, as she and her sister are haunted by the ghostly creatures. In the end, the storyteller teaches her grandchildren a lesson. Don’t respond if they call your name.
GET YOUR TICKETS! “Douen” was created for Women of Color Filmmakers (WOCF) Fall Film Lab. See it on November 19, 2021, at 5:30pm PST (8:30pm EST) at WOCF Anniversary Gala.
I wrote and directed my first horror film. Talk about an exciting and nerve wrecking process.
Although the pandemic has been challenging, it has brought many blessings. Had we not been restricted from in-person meetings and events, I probably would not have known about Women of Color Filmmakers (WOCF), the Summer Film Lab or the other WOC creative groups I have joined since then.
Landi Maduro, WOCF Director, created the Summer Film Lab as a platform for women of color filmmakers to have a means of expanding our creativity. All genres are accepted and must have a maximum runtime of 15 minutes.
My film, ANNEXATION (Horror/Sci-Fi) follows the survival of a lone woman and her baby daughter as civilization has come to a halt. Or so she thinks. “You Are Not Alone”.
This was my first-time directing actors. We are an all-female crew. July 31, 2021, is the screening date of all films. I will keep you posted as we get closer to the date. In the meantime, please consider supporting this new project by making a small contribution.
See A Replay of The Virtual Events
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, my events for I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR exhibition had to remain virtual. Thankfully, the events were recorded. If you were not able to attend, you can now see my exhibition Reception and Panel Discussion: Making Art Accessible on YouTube.
I also held a virtual film screening of I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR on Eventive. It sold out quickly. Unfortunately, I am not able to share the film publicly yet (as I am working on securing distribution). However, you can see the Q&A, which is also on YouTube. Several women from the film joined the Q&A hosted by fellow filmmaker Day Al-Mohamed.
The reception for I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR takes place this Sunday, April 4, 2021 from 2-3pm. Councilmember Will Jawando will give the opening remarks, which will be followed by an interview of me at the museum and a short virtual tour. The tour will be followed by the Panel Discussion Making Art Accessible. ASL interpretation will be provided.
I am honored to be a host this amazing Panel, who include:
Ann Cunningham – Moderator, Tactile Artist, Author
Cheryl Green – Multi-media Digital Artist, Captioner, Audio Describer
Julie Hein – Educator, Biologist, Leader in Audio Description & Interpretative Development
Marguerite Woods – Sculptor/Artist Teacher, President of the At-Large and Board member of the NFBMD
A closing poem will be recited by:
Jeanetta Price – Founder and CEO of Blind Girl Magic LLC
This is the first time I’ve ever had an exhibition reception online. Although I miss in-person interactions, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to connect online. If you are able to join me for the reception and panel discussion, RSVP.
Unable To Attend? Ask Me A Question
Given that my reception happens on Easter Sunday, Sandy Spring Museum has created a form to submit questions for those unable to attend. Submit your question
I Am More Than My Hair Screening and Q&A
During the exhibition I will host a screening of I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR to take place on Sunday, May 2, 2021 from 2-3pm. It is open and free to the public. The screening will be followed by a Q&A.
Thanks to the continued support of those who’ve contributed… I did it!
A little over a year I ago I attended a meeting a with National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Maryland. Marguerite Woods, a kindred spirit and participant of I Am More Than My Hair, invited me to join her for the Baltimore Chapter Meeting.
It was shocking to learn about the lack of accessibility in the arts and how blind and low vision audiences aren’t considered. I left the meeting feeling inspired enough to make it mandatory that any venue, gallery, or museum that requests my work, must agree that it will be made accessible for audiences with low vision and hearing.
I wanted to find a way to make my visual art accessible in new formats, that would open the experience of the art to people often barred from it.
The first museum to give me the OK for an accessible exhibition was Sandy Spring Museum in Sandy Spring Maryland. My exhibition takes place March 19 – May 28, 2021.
Here’s what I came up with:
Each photograph will be accompanied by a lithophane replica of the portrait. This image shows the lithophane print in production as I type. A lithophane is a three-dimensional image that can be explored by touch. When a light is placed beneath, it creates a unique visual experience.
Braille embossing will accompany written descriptions. Audio description of the images will be provided for visitors who have low vision. Interpreters in ASL (American Sign Language) will facilitate my artist talk. The screening of my film, I Am More Than My Hair, will include closed captioning and audio description for both hearing and vision accessibility. I also organized the panel discussion Making Art Accessible (date TBD).
Given the pandemic, there will also be a virtual component as well as the opportunity to experience it in-person during the Museum’s open hours. The reception and film screening (TBA) will take place online. When you RSVP you will receive updates on the scheduled events.
What a beautifully challenging journey this has been (all bottled in one). I Am More Than my Hair is my first film. Although it still needs a few finishing touches, I am beyond proud of myself, my film editor Tiffany Lewis (who weaved the stories together so beautifully) and the courageous little girl and women who trusted me to share their stories.
I am thankful for Through Women’s Eyes (TWE) International Film Festival committee, judges and volunteers, for the powerful selection of film, assuring the festival went smoothly, and the audience votes which determined the awards.
The response from the audience was undeniably positive and the topic of alopecia is evidently moving from taboo to an openly relatable conversation. The number of viewers that spoke with me about their personal story, a “sister”, “friend” or “mom” was a pleasant surprise.
Overall, seeing a weekend full of films directed by women, was an empowering experience. We laughed, we cried, we were outraged. In the end, we all discovered something new though the lens of these filmmakers. If I could share the dynamic impact of these films with you I would. It was so powerful on multiple levels.
Here’s a few of my personal favorites… Medicating Normal – by Directors Lynn Cunningham and Wendy Ractliffe #Female Pleasure – by Director Barbara Miller SEMA – by Director Macherie Ekwa LUZ– by Director Jon Banana
I am also very grateful for my homestay host, Lurline, a local resident of Sarasota that opened her home to me as a guest. TWE couldn’t have paired me with a better host. I love how the Universe aligns so that I cross paths with genuine people. Our similarities are amazing.
I think back to me as a little girl…
staying up late at night (while my family was asleep) to watch documentary films on television. I gained an enormous amount of knowledge, often unheard of by my peers, and always spoke about something interesting that I learned (my thoughts on the direction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mission Mars, and the New World Order didn’t sit so well with my classmates, and I quickly learned that it’s best to keep some topics to myself – LOL). Regardless it’s rewarding to see that I’ve created what I’ve always loved.
At this point, I’m awaiting the “yay” or “nay” response from ten other film festivals. Actually, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival recently responded, “nay”, so… I have nine more to go.
I Am More Than My Hair has been selected to screen at Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival 2020 taking place place on March 6 – 8, in Sarasota, FL. If you’re in the area, consider attending the film festival.
TWE is a fundraiser for the US National Committee for UN Women (USNC), an arm of the United Nations. UN Women works in more than 90 countries in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment. TWE is a volunteer-staffed festival and all net proceeds of TWE are donated to the USNC for advocacy programs and to support the work of UN Women worldwide. Read more and purchase tickets
It’s a hefty price of $25 – $100 per submission as well as travel/lodging expenses, if my film continues to be selected (a great problem to have). That’s an average of $1K per festival (give or take a few hundred $).
With that in mind… your support is still appreciated!
Here’s a few ways you can support:
1. Make a tax-deductible donation via my fiscal sponsor, Docs In Progress. Donate $50 or more and I’ll mail you a copy of my book (please forward the confirmation email to Alyscia@momsinfilm.org). If you’d like me to write a special message for someone, once you make the donation contact me and let me know who the book should be autographed to and the message you’d like to share.
2. Purchase a copy on Amazon. If you prefer to purchase a copy of “I Am More Than My Hair” on Amazon, please purchase directly from me (AC Media). 10% of proceeds from book sales are donated to Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP). Please note, I am only able to donate to CAP if you make a purchase via AC Media. I won’t receive payment for book sold via the other companies.
3. Mail a check. If you don’t care to make a tax-deductible donation, feel free to make a donation via check and mail it. Once again, if you make a donation of $50 or more. I’ll send you a copy of “I Am More Than My Hair” Contact me for the mailing address.
4. Host a private screening.Interested in a private screening? Contact me for more info.
When I first thought of the idea of “I Am More Than My Hair”, I visualized it to be a photography book encompassed with photos accompanied by personal essays of the women who participated. Never did I imagine it to not only evolve into a film but I also didn’t consider how life changing it would be for me, the girls and women involved, their families and my audience.
Although I feel very passionate about this project (as well as my previous), I thought back to the challenges I faced and how the women and girls involved were my driving force. They didn’t know me yet trusted me to share their stories. Despite the struggles that came with being a first-time Director, Producer and Filmmaker, it was vital that I live up to and deliver what I promised.
I am truly honored to have met everyone and provide the platform to share their stories, educate my audience (awareness) and create a shift in the way we see beauty and female hair loss (alopecia).
“The only way you can sustain a permanent change is to create a new way of thinking, acting, and being.” – Jennifer Hudson
Thank you for attending and supporting the premiere screening of I Am More Than My Hair!
If you were unable to attend the premiere but would like to support my project, please consider making a tax-deductible donation via Docs In Progress. You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon. 10% of sale proceeds will be donated to Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP).
The next phase is to secure distribution so that it will be available for streaming, purchase or rental. You donation is greatly appreciated.
I returned from the Bay Area after a visit to and lecture at Saint Mary’s College of California (in Moraga). Typically, when I travel for speaking engagements I stay at a nearby hotel. This time around, I was offered the opportunity to stay at the visitor’s residence on campus. I couldn’t have asked for a better communal experience.
Not only had staying on campus given me the option for convenience but it also provided me the time to connect with the students and staff of Saint Mary’s, beyond what may have been possible if I stayed at a local hotel.
Two weeks have passed since my visit and the positive energy and heartfelt moments continue to replay in my memories and bring a warm feeling to my soul. I have to say it was my most monumental lecture thus far. And I’ve had quite a few.
I was surrounded around a beautiful campus on California’s gorgeous landscape and good hearted people. It was a intimate group and setting with genuine discussion, feedback and consideration for one another. For me, that’s the best ingredients for a successful event. Also, have I ever mentioned I LOVE California?
Over two years ago, Sharon Sobotta, Director of the Center for Women & Gender Equity, and I connected about the possibility of a speaking engagement at the Center. Although it took some time, Sharon made sure this event came to life.
Directly after my talk, Sihin Tsegay, Gender Justice Leader at the Center for Women and Gender Justice, organized a meet & greet with the Black Student Union at the Center for Women & Gender Equity. We had a deeper discussion about personal and professional experiences and challenges faced as someone of color. I couldn’t have ended the day on a more profound note.
I am truly appreciative for this experience and connection with like mindedness. That for me is priceless.
Have you heard of Great Shoals Winery in Takoma Park, MD?
Two days after my returning (I’m noticing a recurrence with the number 2), Great Shoals Winery in Takoma Park, MD hosted a book signing for I Am More Than My Hair. If you’re in the area and looking for a local winery with a cool vibe, visit Great Shoals. It used to be located at Heyser Farm in Silver Spring, MD (the farm where I often purchase eggs). Although I enjoyed wine tasting at the farm as chickens roamed around (I’m a city girl but I love the country), it’s nice to have space dedicated to wine… and cheese.
If you’re buying wine, don’t forget to look for local options.
You know what I’ve grown to appreciate? My trials and tribulations have not only given me the ability to vigorously pace through life, but it has also built me to be undeniably resilient.
Please know that…
When I share the challenges I face on my journey, I am not looking for sympathy.
Instead, I am opening myself and being transparent about the ups and downs that comes with life. Professionally and personally.
People sometimes assume that rewards and accomplishments come easy. Thanks to social media, people can conveniently post about their achievements yet omit the adversities faced in order to get to that level of attainment.
It takes hard work, time, dedication and positive thinking to make things happen.
Furthermore, as a woman of color, married to man of color, with children who look like us and have unfortunately faced hardships related to race, I have no choice but to stand strong. Not only for myself, but also for my family.
I am undoubtedly able to handle what may crumble the World of someone unlike me.
Would I like for the people of the world to be different? Without doubt. But I am truly grateful that my hardships have strengthen me.
Regardless, anything worth bringing into existence doesn’t come easy, but it’s definitely worth the feeling of success and fulfillment once you stick to it. And in the process, you have the opportunity to know WHO IS and WHO ISN’T for you. Shedding layers and people is a good thing.
On your journey…
You may be redirected, take some time off to breath and reevaluate your steps, or may completely switch paths, but always pick yourself up and keep going.
Don’t be afraid to share your quest. It is uniquely yours to hold and carry. It is my hope that sharing the transparency of my journey can be beneficial to someone else on the path to accomplishing a dream or goal.
My gift to you…
Rather than adding to the piles of Holiday emails you’ll receive next week, I send my greetings to you now. I wish you all that you wish for yourself… PLUS all that you need at this moment to appreciate your journey.
Enjoy the Holidays!
If you’re in the spirit of giving, please consider making a tax-deductible donation, via my Fiscal Sponsor Docs In Progress, to help me finish my film. Visit the website for more info and to support. Feel free to also follow my blog tour with Goddess Fish Promos.