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S. Epatha Merkerson, Ruby Dee, Barbara Montgomery In Conversation At MoMI (NYC) Today

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 21, 2013 11:24 AM
2 Comments
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Still From Mitote

A reminder... taking place this afternoon, MondayJanuary 21, 4pm, at the Museum Of The Moving Image (MoMI) here in NYC.

Excerpts from veteran actress turned director, producer, Barbara Montgomery's latest work titled Mitote, will be screened, starring S. Epatha MerkersonRuby Dee, and Sharon Hope. 

The screening will be followed by a live discussion with Barbara Montgomery herself, who will be joined by S. Epatha Merkerson and Ruby Dee, in person.

The film, which is said to be a film adaptation of an original, historically-based drama written by Maisha Baton, Ph.D., tells the story of three African American women - Miss Yolonda, Miss Kate and Miss Ruth.

Through the casual dialogue in their backyard setting, circa 1900 New Mexico, we are given 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. Equally fascinating is the third dramatic cross current that 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.

Montgomery says she discovered Baton's original work in 1992 - when Baton was teaching at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque - and she was moved by it, stating:

Because of it’s historic significance the story stayed with me; pulling on my sense of self as an African-American woman with the need to go deeper into the past, and bring it’s messages to the present for all to experience.

Ms Montgomery, whose resume is packed with TV work, going back to 1976, is making her directorial debut with this film, from a screenplay adapted by Leslie Lee.

By the way, "El Mitote" is essentially energy...

... a living force that breathes life into the world of male history. It comes forth in the talk of women when it carries the images of who we are and who we have been.

For tickets to the event, and other info, click HERE to visit MoMI's website.

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2 Comments

  • lilkunta | July 21, 2013 11:00 PMReply

    I'm 7mo late. I didnt know Barbara Montgomery( Cassieta from AMEN) moved from actiing to directing and playwriting. Good to know she is still around.

  • Nikki J | January 21, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    Thank you for spreading the word about this discussion. It was amazing and enlightening. The conversation was very interactive. A couple of themes discussed were: the importance of us knowing our history, and telling our own stories. It was an important discussion, and soon after a great networking event.

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