Monday, February 16, 2015
Q&A with Jessie Maple and Leroy Patton
Followed by a book signing for How to Become a Union Camerawoman and a screening of Twice as Nice
A trailblazer and pioneer, Jessie Maple was the first African-American woman to gain entry in New York’s camera operators union, taking the case to court to fight discrimination after she was a member, and writing an invaluable book about her life and experience, How to Become a Union Camerawoman. After directing the film Will, and in need of a venue to premiere it, she and her husband Leroy Patton (also a cinematographer) built and founded the independent cinema 20 West in Harlem.
Jessie Maple, USA, 1981, 16mm, 70m
“I wanted to show the neighborhood—that everything was there, right in the neighborhood,” so says Jessie Maple in describing her feature debut. This is the story of Will, a basketball coach fighting demons, a full picture of dealing with modern urban life—uptown—is revealed. “No matter how low you are you can come back up. That’s what Will is. People can’t count themselves out that quick.” Preserved by New York Women in Film and Television’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund. Print and photos courtesy Black Film Center/Archive, Indiana University – Bloomington.