Chauncey -Theater 2 Sat, Apr 22, 2023 7:00 PM
Series Info
Series:Out of the Archive: Black Women Behind the Lens
Reel Representation
Film Info
Rating:Not Rated
Runtime:95 minutes
Director:Ayoka Chenzira
Year Released:1994
Production Country:USA


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4K Restoration

Presented as part of the Out of the Archive: Black Women Behind the Lens series.

Come early and hungry for a pre-show reception starting at 6:15pm! One free drink per ticketed guest!

"Strongly illustrates that precarious stage between girlhood and womanhood."—Ronda Racha Penrice, The Wrap

"Remarkably fresh and sincere."—Charlie Bridgen, MovieJawn

An essential film in the ‘90s Black cinema canon, Alma’s Rainbow was written, directed, and produced by award-winning, internationally acclaimed film and video artist Ayoka Chenzira, one of the first African Americans to teach film production in higher education and among the first African American woman animators. A protege of director Kathleen Collins, whose 1982 film Losing Ground was shot by Alma’s Rainbow cinematographer Ronald Gray, Chenzira continues to teach and works prolifically as a director of television, including episodes of Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar and Greenleaf, and is currently in production on the adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.

A coming-of-age comedy-drama about three African American women living in Brooklyn, Alma’s Rainbow explores the life of teenager Rainbow Gold (Victoria Gabrielle Platt) as she enters womanhood and navigates standards of beauty, self-image, and the rights women have over their bodies. Rainbow attends a strict parochial school, studies dance, and lives with her straight-laced mother Alma (Kim Weston-Moran), who runs a hair salon in the parlor of their home and disapproves of her daughter’s newfound interest in boys. When Alma’s free-spirited sister Ruby (Mizan Kirby) returns from Paris after a ten-year absence, the sisters clash over what constitutes the “proper” direction for Rainbow’s life. Alma’s Rainbow highlights a multi-layered Black women’s world where the characters live, love, and wrestle with what it means to exert and exercise their agency.

Screened with Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People (1984, USA, 10 minutes) 

Ayoka Chenzira is known for being the first African American woman animator. Also an experimental filmmaker and transmedia storyteller, Chenzira challenges the narrative on how Black women are portrayed and stereotyped in popular media. In this animated film, she investigates the politicization of Black women’s hair and questions why the beauty standard has always demanded a white ideal.

Restoration by the Academy Film Archive, The Film Foundation, and Milestone Films. Restoration supervised by Mark Toscano. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Lab: Roundabout Entertainment and Audio Mechanics. With thanks to Vincent Pirozzi.