Women in Film Town Hall with Barbara Montgomery, S. Epatha Merkerson and Ruby Dee.

This set of images was taken during a town hall discussion on the past, present and future of minority women in film, which was lead by actor/filmmakers Ruby Dee, Barbara Montgomery and S. Epatha Merkerson. The event was also hosted by Warrington Hudlin and The Museum of the Moving Images and took place shortly after the Black Kung Fu Experience Q&A ended.

The event began with video excerpts from veteran actress turned director and producer Barbara Montgomery’s latest work titled Mitote, which stars S. Epatha Merkerson, Ruby Dee, and Sharon Hope. The screening was followed by a live discussion with Barbara Montgomery herself, who was joined by S. Epatha Merkerson and Ruby Dee.

The still-in-progress Mitote, is a film adaptation of an original, historically-based drama written by Maisha Baton, Ph.D., that tells the story of three African American women named Miss Yolonda, Miss Kate and Miss Ruth. Through the casual dialogue in their backyard setting, circa 1900 New Mexico, the story gives a personal recounting of African Americans in New Mexico’s history. Each woman has a story to tell and each story is based on a different, unique historical incident. The screenplay interweaves the chronicle of Estabanico, the Spanish Moor who, while exploring the New World with Cabeza de Baca, became the first non-indigenous person to inhabit what is currently New Mexico and Arizona, with the oral history of post slavery ‘exodusters’ making their way from the war ravaged South into Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado. The third dramatic cross current recounts events from the life of an African American woman who served as a scout in the U.S. Cavalry by posing as a man.

The audience was thoroughly engaged by Warrington, who encouraged open dialogue on personal and professional experiences working on getting independent film projects financed and completed.

Click Here to view a CNN iReport I filed for this event.