Directed by Ayoka Chenzira

Directed by Ayoka Chenzira

11 Episodes

Working across narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and interactive cinema, Ayoka Chenzira brings the inner worlds of Black women—their hopes, dreams, anxieties, and struggles—to life with heart, humor, and insight. An all-around creative force, she made her mark as an animator with acclaimed shorts like HAIR PIECE: A FILM FOR NAPPY HEADED PEOPLE, a sly commentary on Eurocentric beauty standards, and the inventive dance film ZAJOTA AND THE BOOGIE SPIRIT, before directing the feature ALMA’S RAINBOW, an exuberant coming-of-age tale that has taken its place as a touchstone of 1990s Black independent cinema. Continuing to push boundaries with the interactive science-fiction fantasy HERADVENTURE, Chenzira remains an innovator whose work has blazed a trail for Black women to tell their own stories on-screen.

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Directed by Ayoka Chenzira
  • MOTV (My Own TV)

    Episode 1

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1993 • United States
    Starring Lawrence Anderson, Kaci M. Fannin, Debbie Blackwell-Cook

    MOTV (MY OWN TV) tells the story of Jamaican immigrant Ishmael (Lawrence Anderson) and his African American wife Elmina (Kaci M. Fannin), both Brooklyn residents, who go in search ...

  • Alma’s Rainbow

    Episode 2

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1994 • United States
    Starring Kim Weston-Moran, Victoria Gabrielle Platt, Mizan Nunes

    A rediscovered treasure of independent cinema, this incisive comedic drama follows Rainbow Gold (Victoria Gabrielle Platt), a teenager coming of age in Brooklyn, as she looks to two...

  • Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1979 • United States
    Starring Syvilla Fort, Ayoka Chenzira

    This tribute to innovative dancer-choreographer Syvilla Fort sheds light on a pioneering Black woman artist who influenced a generation of dancers.

  • Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy Headed People

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1984 • United States
    Starring Carol Jean Lewis

    This brash, inventive cartoon musical—a landmark of independent animation—satirizes Eurocentric beauty standards while celebrating the natural beauty of Black hair.

  • The Lure and the Lore

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1988 • United States
    Starring Thomas Pinnock

    Dancer Thomas Pinnock draws inspiration from the folklore of his native Jamaica and from his experiences as an immigrant in New York.

  • Zajota and the Boogie Spirit

    Episode 6

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1989 • United States
    Starring Carol Jean Lewis

    Through an innovative use of mixed media and animation, Ayoka Chenzira traces the history of colonialism and the trans-Atlantic slave trade and calls audiences to consider how ancestral spirits continue to awaken and ins...

  • Pull Your Head to the Moon: Stories of Creole Women

    Episode 7

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1992 • United States
    Starring Aziza, Sondra Loring, Renee Redding-Jones

    Directors Ayoka Chenzira and David Rousseve poetically entwine two tales of generational trauma as a young gay man expounds on his experience of the AIDS epidemic while his grandmother reflects o...

  • Williamswood

    Episode 8

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1992 • Austria, United States
    Starring Lawine Torren, Eva Forstenlechner, Christoph Eichinger

    An experimental short explores mechanization and the human form.

  • Snowfire

    Episode 9

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1994 • United States
    Starring Homer Heron, Marlene C. Chavis, Lee Dobson

    A father reckons with the death of his gay son.

  • In the Rivers of Mercy Angst

    Episode 10

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira • 1997 • United States
    Starring Dilma, Thomas Pinnock, Olga M. Campbell

    In this magical-realist tale, a woman fights to free herself from a malevolent spirit known as the Keeper of Memory.

  • HERadventure

    Episode 11

    Directed by Ayoka Chenzira and HaJ • 2014 • United States
    Starring Haj Chenzira Pinnock, Betty Hart, Joy Brunson

    Conceived as an innovative blend of narrative filmmaking and interactive gameplay, this science-fiction coming-of-age story follows the journey of HER, a reluctant female warrior-in-t...