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Issue 122, Fall 2023

Featuring new work from award-winning culture reporter Jewel Wicker; a personal essay from Logan Scherer; an exploration of Debbie Allen’s long directorial career by Jessica Lynne; and meditations on films new and old, our 2023 Film Issue dives deep into the craft of production, the nuance of screenwriting, and what makes a film’s legacy live on. Guest Editor Tayler Montague—a filmmaker, writer, curator, and contributing editor at the OA—interviews director, screenwriter, and actress Kasi Lemmons, whose films includes the biopic Harriet (2019) and the now-classic Eve’s Bayou (1997). The interview includes never-before-seen ephemera from Lemmons’s filmmaking career. Elsewhere, longtime contributors (John Jeremiah Sullivan) and those who are new to our pages (photographer Rahim Fortune, National Book Award winner Justin Phillip Reed) weave narratives that reach into the past and revel in the present joy, beauty, and intricacies of Southern cinema.







Guest Editor’s Letter: A Deep Wanting to Know
by Tayler Montague


POINTS SOUTH


Language of Hunger, by Clarissa Fragoso Pinheiro

Her Retirement, My Retirement, by Logan Scherer

A Louisiana Story, by Virginia Hanusik

Background Noise, by Jeremy Steen

Unspooling Norma Rae, by Kit Duckworth

Ja’Tovia Gary’s Cosmic Return, by Amarie Gipson

 

FEATURES


LOVE LETTER FROM KOKOMO
Filmmaker D. Smith’s documentary explores the lives of Black trans women
By Jewel Wicker

MADE FOR TV
On Polly and Debbie Allen’s directorial savvy
By Jessica Lynne

THE INTIMATE AND THE PUBLIC
On Les Blank and collaborative documentary
By Rahim Fortune

IS THIS SACRED GROUND?
A Q&A with Kasi Lemmons
By Tayler Montague

 

OMNIVORE


TOWARD A RADICAL CINEMATIC HORIZON
The unrealized works of Toni Cade Bambara and Gloria Naylor
by Randi Gill-Sadler

IMAGINING THROUGH FABRIC
The textiles and memories of Cameroon’s Muna Moto
by Qaman Omar

THE BLACK GIRL BEST FRIENDS AT THE SURVIVORS PARTY
by Justin Phillip Reed

FUGITIVE PIECES: In Old Wilmington
How the failed search for a silent film uncovered a lost musician of the Harlem Renaissance
by John Jeremiah Sullivan

JOY TO THE WORLD
From the web
by Adam Nayman

BodyPoetry: A Short Film
From the web
by Zandashé Brown

ART BY: Barry Yusufu, William Eggleston, Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber, Baldwin Lee, Sabrina Gshwandtner, Jules de Balincourt, Virginia Hanusik, Mike Reddy, Ja’Tovia Gary, Rahim Fortune, Adé Randle, Francesca Gabbiani, Feraul Fosso, Monet Alyssa, Beauford Delaney

COVER: Lady for Television, 2020, charcoal and acrylic on canvas by Barry Yusufu © The artist. Courtesy Unit London