Films by Title: "W"
Listed by title followed by year of release, annotation, genre, running time, format, and director
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W.E.B. Dubois: A Biography in Four Voices (1995) - This film biography of scholar-activist Dr. William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963) traces a century of African-American history. Four noted African-American writers--Wesley Brown, Thulani Davis, Toni Cade Bambara, and Amiri Baraka--narrate successive periods of Du Bois' life and discuss his impact on their work. Documentary, 116 min., VHS, dir: Louis Massiah.
Waalo Fendo (1997) -Two Senegalese brothers who have illegally immigrated to Italy struggle to survive in a new and often hostile environment. Done in the style of a documentary, this drama recounts their experiences there. Drama, 65 min., DVD, dir: Mohammed Soudani.
Waiting to Exhale (1995) - Based on Terry McMillan's novel of the same title, the film portrays four African-American women who are collectively "holding their breath" until each can feel comfortable in committed relationships with a man. The movie features Whitney Houston as Savannah Jackson, Angela Basset as Bernadine Harris, Loretta Devine as Gloria Johnson, and Lela Rochon as Robin Stokes.Drama, 124 min., VHS, dir: Forest Whitaker.
Walking Dead, The (1995) - Four black Marines--Sergeant Barkley (Joe Morton) and the privates Cole Evans (Allen Payne), Joe Brooks (Vonte Sweet), and Hoover Branche (Eddie Griffin)--are sent on a doomed rescue mission in the Vietnam jungle. They are joined by a white soldier, Pippins (Roger Floyd). Flashbacks reveal why each character enlisted in the Marines. Action, 89 min., VHS, dir: Preston A. Whitmore II.
Walking with FUREE -Post 9/11, Wanda Imasuen, a Harlem raised believer in the American Dream, found herself jobless and going to the welfare office. The humiliation of her treatment and the persistent efforts of the women at FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality), led Wanda to become an activist and speaker and to recruit other women to empower themselves. Documentary, 10 min., VHS, dir: Miriam Perez
Walls Come Tumbling Down, The (1975) - Documentary, 30 min.,DVD, dir: Madeline Anderson
War Between the Classes, The (1985) - Through a class activity, a teacher conceptualizes the difference between class and race in this After School Special. Won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children's Special in 1986. Drama, 32 min., 16mm, dir: Michael Toshiyuki Uno.
War Dance (2007) -Three children living in a displacement camp in northern Uganda compete in their country's national music and dance festival. Documentary, 107 min., DVD, dir: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine.
Warm December, A (1973) - Story of an ill-fated romance between a black American widower (Sidney Poitier) on a visit to London with his pre-teenage daughter (Yvette Curtis) and a female diplomat (Esther Anderson), a member of an emerging African state's embassy. The film provides some insight into African culture. Drama, 98 min., 16mm, dir: Sidney Poitier
Warming by the Devil's Fire (2003) -One of seven, 90-minute personal and impressionistic films about blues music that make up the highly anticipated PBS series The Blues. Director Charles Burnett presents a tale about a young boy's encounter with his family in Mississippi in the 1950s, and intergenerational tensions between the heavenly strains of gospel and the devilish moans of the blues. Documentary, 106 min., DVD, dir: Charles Burnett.
Warrior Marks (1993) - The film probes some of the cultural and political complexities surrounding the issue of female genital mutilation. It includes interviews with women who are concerned with and affected by this practice. Documentary, 54 min., VHS, dir: Pratibha Parmar.
Watch Out For My Plant (1972) -A film depicting the efforts of a young boy in the inner city to grow and nurture a plant. Drama, 14 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification (1990) - Barbara McCullough uses aspects of African and Afro-Caribbean ritual as modern artifacts in this abstract expressionistic work. Drama, 4 min., VHS, dir: Barbara McCullough.
Waterdance (ND) - Music Video, 5 min., DVD, dir: Virgil Hayes
Watermelon Contest (1896) - Film footage of two African Americans eating watermelon on a wager. Documentary, 2 min., VHS, dir: n/a.
Watermelon Man (1970) - Melvin Van Peebles' American film (directorial) debut is this story about a bigot who turns black overnight. Comedy, 98 min., 16mm, DVD, dir: Melvin Van Peebles.
Watermelon Patch (1905) -Several men take watermelons from a melon patch, and are pursued. Comedy, 10 min., 16mm, dir: Edwin S. Porter.
Watermelon Woman, The (1996) - Cheryl Dunye (as herself) makes a documentary about Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson), a fictitious African-American actress from the 1930s who played degrading roles in Hollywood films, while having a secret affair with a white woman director. Dunye interviews feminist historian Camila Paglia (playing herself). Comedy, 85 min., VHS, dir: Cheryl Dunye.
Wattstax (1973) - Filmed at the Watts Summer Festival, August, 1972, the film interweaves the various stars with street life in Watts. Richard Pryor does the comedy bits that have since brought him national prominence. Documentary, 102 min., VHS, dir: Mel Stuart.
Way Down South (1939) - When the master of the plantation is killed and before the heir becomes of age, a mean, Simon LeGreeish administrator is appointed. How the heir and slave join forces to oust the administrator is the movie plot. Clarence Muse aided in the direction. Musical, 62 min., VHS, dir: Bernard Vorhaus.
We Are Together (2006) -Tells the moving and inspiring story of 12 year old Slindile and her remarkable friends at the Agape orphanage in South Africa. Documentary, 86 min., DVD, dir: Paul Taylor.
we remember differently (2005) - The relationship between a mother and her daughter is explored in this short film. Set in Johannesburg, the mother and daughter discuss their memories, both those that they readily share and those they prefer to forget. Drama, 26 min., DVD, dir: Jyoti Mistry.
Weapons of Gordon Parks (1966) - The story of the internationally known black photographer seen at work, in his home, with his family, and on the streets of Harlem, as part of his past life is recreated. Documentary, 28 min., 16mm, dir: Warren Forma.
Welcome II the Terrordome (1995) - This futuristic dystyopia focuses on the lives of the black underclass and the impending racial Armageddon. It stars Valentine Nonyela as Spike, Suzette Llewellin as Angela McBride, his sister, and Saffron Burrows as Jodie, Spike's pregnant girlfriend. Drama, 90 min., DVD, dir: Ngozi Onwurah.
Welcome to Nollywood (2007) -This documentary tells the stories of three prominent Nollywood directors and their latest productions, also using interviews with scholars, actors, and journalists who celebrate the industry in insightful and often humorous ways. The film captures the Nigerian video-film industry as a whole, its unique character and genres, as well as its impact on the culture of west Africa and Africans at home and abroad. Documentary, 58 min., DVD, dir: Jamie Meltzer.
Well Spent Life, A (1971) - Film portrait of Mance Liscomb, Texas blues singer, as he talks of love, music, marriage, religion, youth and importance of an education. The film includes footage of town, neighbors and farms. Documentary, 44 min., 16mm, dir: Les Blank.
Well, The (1951) - Racial tensions mount when a missing black girl is last seen talking to a white stranger. The town is on the verge of open riot, but when the girl is discovered down an abandoned well, all sides join in to save her. Drama, 85 min., 16mm, dir: Russell Rouse and Leo C. Popkin.
Wend Kuuni [aka God's Gift] (1982) -- A mute child suffering from amnesia is found under a tree by a peddler and is adopted by his village. Through this new feeling of community the boy recovers his ability to speak in his new surroundings. The film is seen by many as a fable demonstrating how traditional values can heal and unify the modern African state. Drama, 70 min., DVD, dir: Gaston Kaboré.
West Indian Girls in Native Dance (1903) -Five St. Thomas belles dancing their native dance the "She-She," in a beautiful garden full of tropical plants. Documentary, 1 min., VHS, dir: n/a.
We've Gotta Have It: The Story of African American Film Making (1992) - Through street and formal interviews and clips from various films like Birth of a Nation all the way to Boyz N the Hood, this short film discusses blacks in Hollywood and their image within the system as well as the power struggle of black filmmakers in a white dominated industry. Documentary, 26 min., VHS, dir: Salvatore La Spada.
What Beauty Beholds (2002) - Drama, 12 min., DVD, dir: Nina Brooks.
What Black Men Think (2007) -Janks Morton presents a searing examination of the role that myths, stereotypes and misrepresentations have played in the decimation of modern era black relationships, and how the symbiotic relationship between government, the media and black leadership perpetuates misinformation to further marginalize the role of black men in society. Documentary, 84 min., DVD, dir: Janks Morton.
What Happened in the Tunnel (1903) -A woman riding a train must contend with the unwelcome advances of a male passenger. Comedy, 1 min., Beta, dir: Edwin Porter
What We Want, What We Believe: The Black Panther Party Library (2006) - This 4-disc set includes twelve hours of film footage and interviews on the Black Panther Party from the Newsreel film collective and the Roz Payne Archives. Documentary, 720 min., DVD, dir: various.
What's Love Got to Do With It (1993) - The turbulent relationship of Ike (Laurence Fishburne) and Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) a.k.a. Anna Mae Bullock, eventually forces Tina to leave and find the confidence to pursue her life and career without her husband. Jenifer Lewis plays Anna Mae's mother; Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, her sister Aline; Cora Lee Day, Grandma Georgina. Drama, 118 min., VHS, dir: Brian Gibson.
When It Rains (1995) -A musician spends New Year's Day trying to help his friend pay the rent. Drama, 13 min., DVD, dir: Charles Burnett
When the Ground Stopped Shaking (2010) -Jace Freeman captures communities in Haiti as they attempt to rebuild weeks after the January 12, 2010 earthquake as international aid arrives to offer support. Documentary, 42 min., DVD, dir: Jace Freeman.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) - Spike Lee's documentary about the devastation of New Orleans after the levees broke following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 premiered at the New Orleans Arena on August 16, 2006. Documentary, 256 min., DVD, dir: Spike Lee.
When the Time Comes (2000) - On The Best of the Acapulco Black Film Festival (2001). Drama, 28 min., DVD, dir: Tracie Dean Ponder.
When We Get Together (ND) - Music Video, 4 min., DVD, dir: Brian Atkins
When We Were Kings (1996) - The film uses the 1974 footage of documentarian Leon Gast shot in Zaire and depicting the heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Gast's footage was shelved for 22 years and was released in 1996. The film also features interviews with famous fight fans such as Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, and Spike Lee. It was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary Feature and won a Special Jury Recognition Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Documentary, 94 min., VHS, dir: Leon Gast.
When Worlds Collide (2010) -Presents an exploration of the first century after the Old World encountered the New World. Documentary, 87 min., DVD, dir: Carl Byker.
When You're Smilin' (1982) - A marketing video in which a montage is set in motion to Louis Armstrong's song of the same title. The film attempts to show how smiling is not only good for one's health, but for business as well. Documentary, 6 min., 16mm, dir: Peter Mark Shifter.
Where Did You Get That Woman? (1982) - The film is a portrait of 77-year old African American Joan Williams, a washroom attendant. Using archival photographs, it documents her odyssey from an Oklahoma farm to the wartime factories of Chicago, and finally the powder room of a nightclub. Documentary, 28 min., 16mm, dir: Loretta Smith.
Where is My Man Tonight? (1943) -A young man, Rodney, is drafted into the Army and goes to serve to uphold a family tradition and to please his girlfriend. When his girlfriend takes an interest in his sergeant, Rodney leaves his camp in Arizona but later returns as a hero. Drama, 91 min., 16mm, dir: Spencer Williams Jr.
Which is Witch? (1949) -Dr. I.C. Spots is an African witch doctor about to prepare a potion which needs as one of its ingredient a rabbit. Comedy, 7 min., DVD, dir: Friz Freleng.
Which Way is Up? (1977) - A remake of Lena Wertmuller's comedy, The Seduction of Mimi. Richard Pryor plays an orange picker named Leroy Jones, his father, and a preacher. He has both a wife (Margaret Avery) and a mistress (Lonette McKee) and there are numerous opportunities for him to perform, playing three roles: Leroy Jones, Rufus Jones, and Rev. Lenox Thomas. Comedy, 95 min., DVD, dir: Michael Schultz.
White Dog (1982) -A trainer attempts to retrain a vicious dog that's been raised to kill Black people. Drama, 90 min., DVD, dir: Samuel Fuller.
White Girl, The (1990) - Kim (Troy Beyer) is an intelligent, motivated, and beautiful high school student who becomes a cocaine addict when she goes to college. Bob (Taimak) helps her get off drugs but Kim's new roommate Vanessa (Teresa Yvon Farley) tempts her again. Dianne B. Shaw plays Debbie and D.L. Duke plays Nicky. Drama, 94 min., VHS, dir: Tony Brown.
White Man's Burden (1995) - In an alternative America, the blacks comprise the social elite, whereas the whites live in ghettos. Louis Pinnock (John Travolta), a white worker, while delivering a package for the black CEO Thaddeus Thomas (Harry Belafonte), is unfairly accused of voyeurism. As a result he is fired, beaten by black cops, and his family is evicted from their home. Desperate, Pinnock kidnaps Thomas and demands justice. Drama, 89 min., VHS, dir: Desmond Nakano.
White Man's Country (1973) - The first installment of the Kenya Trilogy: Black Man's Land focuses on the history of colonialism in Kenya, from the formation of the East African Trading Company and the countless bloody battles including its involvement in World War I to independence. Documentary, 51 min., 16mm, dir: Anthony Howarth and David Koff.
White Material (2009) - A white French family outlawed in its home and attempting to save its coffee plantation connects with a black hero also embroiled in the tumult. All try to survive as their world rapidly crumbles around them Drama, 106 min., DVD, dir: Claire Denis.
White Men Can't Jump (1992) - Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) and Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) are two basketball hustlers conning their way across Los Angeles playing their special brand of game. Tyra Farrell plays Rhonda, Sidney's wife. Comedy, 115 min., VHS, dir: Roy Shelton.
White Nights (1985) - Raymond Greenwood (Gregory Hines), a black ex-patriot living in Siberia, and his wife Darya (Isabella Rossellini) take in Russian ex-defector Nikolai (Mikhail Baryshnikov), a famous dancer. Greenwood is promised better living conditions if he gets Nikolai back into dancing shape. Together they plan an escape. Lionel Richie won an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category for "Say You, Say Me." Drama, 133 min., 16mm, dir: Taylor Hackford.
White Zombie (1932) - The story deals with the occult practices in a remote section of Haiti, where the dead are dug up from their graves and by a process of sorcery, reanimated and put to work in the fields and sugar mills as slaves. Horror, 68 min., VHS, dir: Victor Halperin.
Who Said Chicken? (1900) -A white actor in blackface steals a chicken and hides in a coal bin. A policeman looks in the coal bin, sits on the lid and calls for help. The man happily escapes after he pushes the policeman off the lid. Comedy, 1 min., VHS, dir: n/a.
Who Stole the Soul? (1991) - An exploration of the myriad ways black music has contributed to, and has been coopted by, mainstream culture in the U.S. and Great Britain. Genres considered include hip hop, jazz, reggae, R&B, rock and roll, and dance music, all of which echo African history and culture and document black struggle and rebellion. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Ngozi Onwurah and Simon Onwurah.
Whoopi: Back to Broadway (2005) -Twenty years before this video was produced, comedian Whoopi Goldberg took Broadway by storm in a one-woman show that established her as one of the wittiest, finest performers of her generation. The groundbreaking comic returns to the Great White Way in this HBO special that has her revisiting some of her earlier characters, such as the belly-aching druggie Fontaine, as well as new avatars such as Lurleen, a Southern belle facing menopause. Comedy, 90 min., DVD, dir: Marty Callner and Thomas Schlamme.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998) - This biographical film traces the rise and fall of the singer Frankie Lymon (Larenz Tate) who after a short success in the mid 1950s died of a heroin overdose. In a series of flashbacks jumping from the 1950s to the 1980s, three women married to Lymon claim his royalties in court: Zaola Taylor (Halle Berrry), Elizabeth Waters (Vivica A. Fox), and Emira Eagle (Lela Rochon). The film takes its title from the 1956 hit of the popular Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers group. Drama, 116 min., VHS, dir: Gregory Nava.
Why'd the Beetle Cross the Road (1984) - This film follows a lone black beetle as it crawls along a crowded beach populated by sunbathers, joggers, and cyclists. Drama, 7 min., 16mm, dir: Skrentney.
Wilby Conspiracy (1975) - Set in South Africa this melodrama revolves around the conflict between those who uphold apartheid and others who aid fugitives to fight it. Jim Keogh (Michael Caine) accidentally becomes involved in assisting Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier), one of the fugitives. Action, 99 min., 16mm, DVD, dir: Ralph Nelson.
Wild Passion Part 1 & 2 (2009) -A beautiful lady tries to correct her past mistakes when she is given a rare opportunity to relive her intense affair with the love of her life. Drama, 119 min., DVD, dir: Ikechukwu Onyeka.
Wild Styles (1982) -Legendary New York graffiti artist Lee Quinones plays the part of Zoro, the city's hottest and most elusive graffiti writer. The actual story of the movie concerns the tension between Zoro's passion for his art and his personal life, particularly his strained relationship with fellow artist Rose. Includes rare footage of Grandmaster Flash. Musical, 82 min., DVD, dir: Ikechukwu Onyeka
Wild Style (1982) - This musical feature follows the romantic passion of Zoro (Lee Quinones), a South Bronx artist caught up in a turbulent romance with Pink (Sandra Fabara), the queen of the underground graffiti movement. Fab Five Freddy is a playfully hip impresario. Musical performances include D.J.'s Grand Master Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, Grand Master Caz and The Cold Crush. Drama, 82 min., VHS, dir: Charlie Ahearn.
Wild Women Don't Have the Blues (1989) -Wild Women Don't Have the Blues shows how the blues were born out of the economic and social transformation of African American life early in this century. It recaptures the lives and times of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters and the other legendary women who made the blues a vital part of American culture. The film brings together for the first time dozens of rare, classic renditions of the early blues. Documentary, 58 min., DVD, dir: Christine Dall.
Will (1981) -The first independent feature film to be directed by a black woman, Will, depicts a former All-American basketball player, trying to kick his drug habit. Drama, 72 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: Jessie Maple
Within Our Gates (1920) - The film has as its plot the murder of Philip Girdlestone, presumably by Jasper Landry, a share cropper, or so one of the characters attests. Oscar Micheaux included a vivid lynching scene, which caused some controversy. A reproduction of a single surviving print found in Spain retitled as La Negra. Released with piano score composed by Philip Carli and performed by Rosa Rio. Drama, 79 min., VHS, dir: Oscar Micheaux.
Without the King (2007) -Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in the world and one of the few African countries that has never faced a civil war. This portrait of a nation in transition juxtaposes the opulent life of the royal family to the bare subsistence of Swazi citizens who are poised to fight for a better life. Documentary, 84 min., DVD, dir: Michael Skolnik.
Winnie Mandela (2011) -A drama that chronicles the life of Winnie Mandela from her childhood through her marriage and her husband's incarceration. Drama, 107 min., DVD, dir: Darrell Roodt.
Wiz, The (1978) - Dorothy (Diana Ross), Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), Tin Man (Nipsey Russell), and Lion (Ted Ross) all go in search of their heart's desires only to find they had them all along. Richard Pryor plays the fraudulent Wiz and Lena Horne appears as the Good Witch of the South in this remake of The Wizard of Oz from an African American perspective. Musical, 133 min., VHS, dir: Sydney Lumet.
Woman & Man (n.d.) - Drama, 11 min., DVD, dir: Daniel Williams.
Woman Called Moses, A (1978) - Cicely Tyson recreates the role of Harriet Ross Tubman, founder of the Underground Railroad who led hundreds of slaves to freedom in the North before the Civil War. Drama, 200 min., DVD, dir: Paul Wendkos.
Woman Thou Art Loosed (2004) - Bishop T.D. Jakes’ novel, based on a true story, is brought to life in this unflinching look at one woman’s journey from sexual abuse, drugs and crime to redemption through faith. Kimberly Elise plays Michelle Jordan, who, prompted by abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend, runs away and tumbles into prostitution, addiction and a stretch in prison, where she receives help from Jakes (playing himself), who helps Michelle begin her moves toward recovery. Drama, 94 min., DVD, dir: Michael Schultz.
Woman's Authority, A Part 1 & 2 (2008) -Enwerem, on his death bed, made Ernest, his brother, to take an oath never to abandon his family in the event of his death. Ernest, in his quest to keep his promise to his brother, has made his wife jealous of his affection for his late brother's wife. And now Rebeca, Ernest's wife, has vowed to come between them by all means neccesary. Drama, 75 min., DVD, dir: Osundu Odum.
Women, Weight, and Wellness: Challenging the Myths (2000) - A presentation based on “All of Me: A Voluptuous Tale,” a novel by Venise Berry. Miscellaneous, 30 min., VHS, dir: S. Torriano Berry
Wonders of the African World (1999) - Join Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he takes you on a journey to discover a wealth of African history and culture in Wonders of the African World. Documentary, 330 min., DVD, dir:Helena Appio, Nicola Colton, and Nick Godwin.
Woo (1998) - The eccentric Darlene "Woo" Bates (Jada Pinkett Smith) is looking for the right man. She goes on a blind date with Tim Jackson (Tommy Davidson), a shy law clerk. He is the exact opposite of Woo but she believes that he is the man destined to change her life. The mismatched couple spends the night in Manhattan and everything goes wrong. The film features cameos by Foxy Brown, LL Cool J, and Duane Martin. Comedy, 80 min., VHS, dir: Daisy V.S. Mayer.
Wooden Camera, The (2003) - This film documents the journey of two boys whose lives become complicated with the finding of two objects, a gun and a camera. Director Ntshavheni Wa Luruli traces the role of these inanimate objects in the physical and emotional development of two young boys. Their life paths become sealed as the gun leads one to destruction and the camera leads the other to knowledge. Issues involving race, youth and political change are discussed in this South African film. Drama, 89 min., DVD, dir: Ntshaveni Wa Luruli.
Word is Out (1978) - This film explores the experiences of sixteen gay men and women and how they cope with living in a straight world. [The copy owned by the BFC/A is a 45 minute excerpt from the original film] Documentary, 45 min., 16mm, dir: Rob Epstein.
Work of Elizabeth Catlett, The (1977) - A profile of the philosophy and work of a celebrated American artist. Elizabeth Catlett, the first black woman to receive a degree in fine art from Howard University, conveys a strong relationship between her personal experience and commitment to her craft. Documentary, 32 min., VHS, dir: Juan Mora.
World Saxophone Quartet, The (1980) - Barbara McCullough's video presents an innovative quartet of jazz saxophonists, Bluiet, Lake, Hemphill, and Murray, both in concert and conversation. Documentary, 6 min., VHS, dir: Barbara McCullough.
Woubi Cheri - (1998) -This documentary shows a few days in the life of various members of Abdijan, Ivory Coast's gay and transgendered community. Documentary, 62 min., DVD, dir: Philip Brooks and Laurent Bocahut.
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