Dash to receive inaugural Robert Smalls Merit & Achievement Award

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Julie Dash
Julie Dash

Twenty-five years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography) “Daughters of the Dust,” and she became the first African-American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film.

In 2004, the Library of Congress placed “Daughters of the Dust” in the National Film Registry where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures. Dash is the only African-American woman with a feature film that has been inducted into the National Film Registry. The film was shot in and around Beaufort.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, the Beaufort Film Society will present Dash with the inaugural Robert Smalls Merit & Achievement Award at the 11th annual Beaufort International Film Festival.

“This award has been created to be presented to that filmmaker whose body of work has served as a catalyst for groundbreaking discoveries and societal change. Julie Dash’s accomplishments during the last quarter century certainly meets these criteria,” said Ron Tucker, president of the Beaufort Film Society.

The award has been named after Beaufort native and Civil War hero Robert Smalls, who rose from a slave to a United States congressman.

Restored (in conjunction with UCLA) for the first time with proper color grading overseen by cinematographer AJ Jafa, audiences will finally see the film exactly as Dash intended. The restored film with be screened at the Beaufort International Film Festival on Saturday, Feb. 18. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Dash and others.

Dash is currently in production on a feature-length documentary about Vertamae Smart Grosvenor, a world-renowned author, performer, and chef from rural South Carolina who led a remarkably unique and complex life. The film is based upon Grosvenor’s best selling work, “Vibration Cooking: Or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl.”

Dash earned her MFA in Film & Television production at UCLA; received her BA in Film Production from CCNY, and she was a Producing and Writing Conservatory Fellow at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies. When not working on her projects, Dash is a frequent lecturer at many of the leading universities in the United States.

For more information about the 11th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival, visit beaufortfilmfestival.com. The festival is produced by the Beaufort Film Society.