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Terence Nance

Terence Nance was born in Dallas, Texas in what was then referred to as the State-Thomas community. Nance learned personhood there. Nance’s first feature film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically in 2013. In 2014, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow. In the summer of 2018, Terence's television series Random Acts of Flyness debuted on HBO to great critical acclaim, and was renewed for a second season by the network. The New York Times hailed the show as “a striking dream vision of race” and “hypnotic, transporting and uncategorizable” adding that “it’s trying to disrupt and redisrupt your perceptions so that, finally, you can see.”

 

Additional film work includes "Swimming in Your Skin Again" and "Univitillen", which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and the 2016 New York Film Festival, respectively. In 2017, Nance premiered a performance piece, 18 Black Boys Ages 1-18 Who Have Arrived at the Singularity and are Thus Spiritual Machines at Sundance. Nance is currently at work on healing, curiosity, and interdimensionality, and resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. 

 

Jenn Nkiru

Jenn Nkiru is an award-winning visionary artist and director from Peckham, London. Pushed through an afro surrealist lens, her works are grounded in the history of black music, the aesthetics of experimental film, international art cinema, the black arts movement and the rich and variegated tradition of cinemas of the black diaspora and their distinct experimentation with the politics of form. As an artist, her works have screened internationally, from The Museum of Modern Art (MOCA, LA), to the Tate Modern London, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London and Boston as well as MASP in São Paulo where she had her first solo show.

 

Nkiru is one of 75 artists selected for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2019 Whitney Biennial by curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley. Her latest film, BLACK TO TECHNO which premiered at Frieze LA Feb 2019, explores the philosophical, geopolitical, sonic and anthropological origins of Techno. In October 2019 she exhibited a multi-screen exhibition version of her film REBIRTH IS NECESSARY as part of TRANSFORMER: REBIRTH OF WONDER at Store X, 180 Strand.

Marc Thomas

Marc Thomas is a native New Yorker and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. He has always been fascinated with storytelling, visuals and sound, and he started his creative exploration as an artist and illustrator attending LaGuardia High School in New York.  Being the son of jazz drummer Bobby Thomas, Marc was always fascinated and inspired by music, leading him to learn to play guitar and write music, something that he still enjoys today. He has written several screenplays, directed short films and music videos, and worked as an editor for with many talented filmmakers- most recently cinematographer Bradford Young, on his directorial debut short films “Black America Again” and “Letter to the Free,” both films  inspired by musician and actor Common’s music album “Black America Again."

 

Marc also collaborated with Mr. Young on the film instillation “REkOGNIZE”, which was featured at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburg. Most recently, Marc was part of the directors collective The Ummah Chroma on the film “AS TOLD TO G/D THYSELF”, a film inspired by Mr. Washington’s album “Heaven and Earth”, which made its debut at Sundance 2019. He co-founder of the production company Rock & Roll City, with his wife, producer Erin Wile.

Kamasi Washington

When Kamasi Washington released his tour de force LP, The Epic, in 2015, it instantly set him on a path as our generation’s torchbearer for progressive, improvisational music that would open the door for young audiences to experience music unlike anything they had heard before. The 172-minute odyssey featuring his 10-piece band, The Next Step, was littered with elements of hip-hop, classical and R&B music, all major influences on the young saxophonist and bandleader.

Released to critical acclaim, The Epic won numerous awards, including the inaugural American Music Prize. Washington followed that work with collaborations with other influential artists such as Kendrick Lamar, John Legend, Run the Jewels, Ibeyi and the creation of “Harmony of Difference,” a standalone multimedia installation during the prestigious 2017 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

 

In June 2018, Washington released Heaven and Earth to wide praise.  The album garnered “best of” awards from Pitchfork, NPR, Variety, GQ, MOJO, and Complex among others. Collaborating with cutting edge filmmakers Bradford Young, Jenn Nkiru, Terence Nance, and Marc Thomas, Washington helped direct AS TOLD TO G/D THYSELF, a film inspired by Heaven and Earth which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019. The film has also screened at The Broad, Stony Island Arts Bank, The Apollo Theater, and 180 The Strand in London.

 

 

Bradford Young

Originally from Louisville, KY, Bradford Young is a cinematographer who studied under the tutelage of filmmaker Haile Gerima.His recent film contributions include: Ava DuVernay’s WHEN THEY SEE US; Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL, (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for achievement in cinematography); Ron Howard’s SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY; Ava DuVernay’s SELMA, (for which Bradford was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in a Motion Picture); JC Chandor’s A MOST VIOLENT YEAR; David Lowrey’s, AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, and Andrew Dosunmu’s MOTHER OF GEORGE, both of which won him Sundance US Dramatic Competition Excellence in Cinematography awards (2013).

 

Other films include Dee Rees’ PARIAH, (for which he won the 2011 Sundance US Dramatic Competition Excellence in Cinematography award), Ava DuVernay’s MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, Tina Mabry’s, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED, Paola Mendoza’s ENTRE NOS and Andrew Dosunmu’s, RESTLESS CITY. Bradford is a 2014 inductee into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a 2015 inductee into the American Society of Cinematographers.

 

The collective is working with production designer Lauri Faggioni and creative producer Erin Wile

Lauri Faggioni

Lauri Faggioni is a director, production designer and choreographer. She began her career as a fiber artist, producing and showcasing her work at Lake, a gallery and antiques store she opened in 2001 in New York's East Village. It was there that she met French director, Michel Gondry, and the two began an extensive collaboration. Faggioni has worked as a production designer and prop-maker on numerous projects with Gondry, earning both MTV and MVPA awards for her work on Steriogram's ‘Walkie Talkie Man’ and Gary Jules' Mad World’, which saw her expanding into choreography. She was the designer of animals and accessories for the feature film, 'The Science of Sleep'. She collaborated on numerous music videos and commercials with directors Johan Renck, The Pelorian Brothers, and Ellen von Unwerth, among others. Lauri has also served as the production designer on the feature films, ‘Dave Chappells Block Party’, ‘Downloading Nancy’ and the upcoming ‘Untitled Keith Richards’ documentary, directed by Johnny Depp. She recently designed the short film ‘As Told to G/d Thyself’ directed by Bradford Young, Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas and Kamzi Washington - known as the Ummah Chroma collective. Her commercial clients include such brands as H&M, Escada, Lexus and Talk Talk. 

 

Lauri's directorial debut, the video for Devendra Banhart's "A Ribbon" premiered at New York's Museum of Modern Art, and went on to win 'Best Animated Video' at the MVPA awards that year. She has since directed films for celebrated artists, Bright Eyes, Iron And Wine, Monsters Of Folk, A Fine Frenzy and Blonde Redhead. Her documentary film, ‘Wykoff Place’, executive produced by Ridley Scott, won the jury award for Best Documentary at both the Los Angeles Short Film Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival. The film was commissioned and broadcast by USA Network as part of the ‘Character Project’ series. Her documentary film ‘A Year in Color’ is currently being filmed throughout Central and South America.

Erin Wile

Erin Wile is a freelance film and commercial producer and partner at Rock & Roll City Inc.

G/D THYSELF: Spirit Strategy On Raising Free Black Children was made possible thanks to the generous support of:

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Marina Otero Verzier (Director of Research), Katía Truijen (Senior Researcher)
The Ummah Chroma
Lauri Faggioni
Erin WIle
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht