Join us for a multi-generational conversation with three award-winning, independent filmmakers whose work captures the nuanced experiences of marginalized figures and communities. This event is sponsored by Film and Media Studies, Art History, English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, African American Studies, the Black Studies Cluster, and the UCI Humanities Center.

About the Guest Speakers:

Michelle Parkerson
Director / Writer Michelle Parkerson is from Washington, DC. Her award-winning documentaries include BUT THEN, SHE’S BETTY CARTER, GOTTA MAKE THIS JOURNEY: Sweet Honey in the Rock, A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (all of which aired nationally on PBS), and STORME': The Lady of the Jewel Box. Her films have screened at several major festivals, including The Sundance Film Festival, The Berlin International Film Festival, AFI Fest, and BlackStar Film Festival. Michelle has received numerous grants and awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Grant (Jazz Program /"...Betty Carter"), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship ("...Audre Lorde”), the DC Mayor's Art Award, grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Rainbow History Project's Community Pioneer Award and most recently, a HumanitiesDC Docs Grant. Her recent documentary, FIERCENESS SERVED! The ENIKAlley Coffeehouse revives the storied history of a Washington, DC, Black LGBTQ cultural renaissance in the 1980s. Michelle Parkerson's earlier films from the 1980s and 90s are currently streaming on The Criterion Channel.

Aarin Burch
Aarin Burch, a pioneering voice in queer cinema and San Francisco native, dedicates her film career to exploring interior landscapes, focusing on mixed-race identities, mother-daughter conflicts, and personal narratives as a lover and artist. A B.F.A. graduate, mentored by Barbara Hammer and Marlon Riggs, Aarin is currently in pre-production for a documentary on her mother, artist Laurel Burch, delving into a story of inner conflict and inspiration. With nearly three decades at Olivia Travel, Aarin produced and directed films, including notable documentaries like A Place of Rage (1991) featuring Angela Davis and Warrior Marks (1993) with Alice Walker. As a sought-after speaker, she participated in the 2023 Sojourner Truth Festival, screening early films like Dreams of Passion (1989) and Spin Cycle (1989), recognized for featuring a historic kiss between two Black women. Aarin has also directed innovative films on the mixed-race experience, including My People Are (2007) and Club Q, exploring the lesbian club scene in 1991.

Sophia Nahli Allison
Sophia Nahli Allison is a Black lesbian myth. She is a self-portrait photographer, academy award nominated filmmaker, and artist from South Central LA. Sophia was a 2020 United States Artists Fellow and a 2014 Chicago 3Arts Awardee. Within her work, she explores the space between reality and dreams, engaging with themes of flight, identity, and time to unearth and awaken spiritual archives and portals.