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Photo by: Brianna Ellis-Mitchell

Photo by: Brianna Ellis-Mitchell


Filmmaker Nova Scott-James and her fellow travelers create a healing retreat in the woods and document their journey to freedom.

This August, a group of queer and trans women and non-binary people of color aged 25 to 35 will set out on a week-long healing retreat in the woods of Pennsylvania at a historic site of the Underground Railroad. Healing is just one of the trip’s purposes, though: the retreat is also part a new Afro-Surrealist documentary called "Wild Darlings Sing The Blues, And It’s A Song of Freedom," from the mind of filmmaker Nova Scott-James.

For the 25-year-old, who was born and based in Harlem, it’s high time the world sees images of women of color in nature in empowering ways. To that end, she and her fellow wild darlings will document their experiences as they create a healing sanctuary to process grief and pain rooted in their experiences of racism, rape, colorism, and other issues linked to patriarchy and colonialism. A multigenerational groups of facilitators will be on site to guide them through different types of somatic and spiritual healing work. They’ll each have a camera to film one another throughout the week, and — inspired by the stories, emotions, and memories that come to light — they’ll write and re-enact scenarios for video art pieces to be filmed by an all women-of-color crew.

"May all curses upon our lineages be broken, now," Scott-James recites in a teaser for the film. "May we remember the pain so that we also remember what came before the pain: love." Together, she says, they will rewrite the record.

With just over a week until their August 14th departure, the team is hard at work raising the necessary funds to get them to the woods. Scott-James took a few moments to sit down with at her mentor’s home in Harlem to talk about the stories behind the film and what she hopes viewers take with them.

Read the full interview on Shondaland

Nova on Filmmaking, Improvisation and Collaboration

Nova Scott-James is a filmmaker, artist, and creative coach from Harlem, NYC. I met her in at the Flux Factory, an artist community space in Queens to talk about her childhood, filmmaking, and her current projects. She has been working on a documentary film called “Wild Darlings Sing the Blues and It’s a Song of Freedom,” in which a group of queer women and non-binary people of color build a healing sanctuary. Nova also discussed the power of authenticity and how power can be used in very different ways.

Read the full interview Power Thread


My Third Eye

My Third Eye

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and African Film Festival, Inc. Announce Lineup For 24th New York African Film Festival, May 3-9 2017

Vaya, Akin Omotoso

We have joined forces once again with African Film Festival, Inc., to present the 24th New York African Film Festival, May 3-9. The festival’s theme, “The Peoples’ Revolution,” taps into the pulse of protest and the calls for change bubbling up throughout the peoples of the world, a reform charge championed by a new wave of artists throughout Africa and its diaspora. The festival continues throughout May at Lehman College, Maysles Cinema, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek. Across these venues, the festival will present a total of 25 feature-length films and 36 short films from 25 countries—celebrated African films from the continent and the diaspora.

“In Africa, as in most of the developing world, young people are the majority. These vibrant human beings are the engines driving today’s societal transformations,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “They believe in traditional African values, African solutions to African problems, and in Africa’s right to the bounty of her own resources. In this year’s films, we see a generation of young people concerned with reclaiming what is rightfully theirs—their cultural identity, their homes, their dignity.”

Opening Night will see the U.S. premiere of award-winning South African director Akin Omotoso’s Vaya, a moving film about three strangers on a train to the city whose lives eventually collide. The film won the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Film at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and took the Best Screenplay prize at Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards in 2017. A reception will follow at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater.

See the full lineup on