Aug 5

1:00 PM

Curator’s Roundtable

When you have a platform, how do you make decisions about whom to give that platform to? At a time when many works of video and film are well-produced, what other considerations do film programmers prioritize? This conversation focuses on the experiences and practices of some of today’s leading film curators.


Dessane Cassell

Dessane Cassell is a Joint Curatorial Fellow with the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Museum of Modern Art, currently working in the curatorial department of the Studio Museum. A native New Yorker and a graduate of Oberlin College, Dessane joined the fellowship program after completing a Fulbright teaching grant in South Africa, where she focused on literacy development and storytelling through producing a series of podcast and radio projects. As a Joint Fellow, Dessane’s work includes assisting with curatorial, publication, and research initiatives between both museums. Her recent projects include co-organizing the film series, “Making Faces on Film: A collaboration with BFI Black Star” and co-curating the gallery exhibition, “Making Faces: Images of Exploitation and Empowerment in Cinema” for MoMA Film, both of which focused on historical constructions of blackness and otherness in cinema. Dessane has also produced ModernMonday events with filmmakers Haile Gerima and Ja’Tovia Gary.

Ashley Clark

Ashley Clark is a writer and film programmer from London, now based in New York. He was the programmer of “Black Star” (BFI Southbank, Oct—Dec 2016), a major film season dedicated to exploring the history of black film stardom; and co-programmer of “Making Faces on Film: a Collaboration with BFI Black Star” (MoMA, April 2017), a complementary New York edition. He has also curated series at venues including BAMcinématek and Light Industry in Brooklyn. Ashley writes about film and culture for The Guardian, Film Comment and Sight & Sound, among others, and he is a regular guest critic on the BBC TV Film show. His first book is Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (The Critical Press, 2015).

Michelle Materre

Michelle Materre earned an M.Ed in Educational Media from Boston College and has a professional background spanning more than 30 years’ experience as film producer, writer, arts administrator, and distribution and marketing specialist. Early in her career, she was a staff writer/producer for Henry Hampton’s Blackside Productions, and an assistant story editor for MGM/UA in the feature film division. As a founding partner of KJM3 Entertainment Group, Inc., a film distribution and marketing company that specialized in multicultural film and television projects, she directly managed the marketing and positioning of 23 films including the successful theatrical release of Daughters of the Dust, the highly acclaimed, now classic film by Julie Dash. Her critically acclaimed filmseries, Creatively Speaking, has been a premiere forum for presenting works by and about women and people of color for twenty one years. In February 2015, Creatively Speaking co-presented the unprecedented film series “Tell It Like it Is: Black Independents in NYC 1968-1986”, with The Film Society of Lincoln Center which was awarded the Film Heritage Award by the National Society of Film Critics. She is Co-Producer of the recently released, critically acclaimed documentary “Black Women in Medicine” by Crystal Emery, as well as Educational Outreach and Distribution coordinator for this project. In addition to holding a position as Associate Professor of Media Studies and Film at The New School where she has been teaching since 2001, Ms. Materre is currently the Director of the Bachelor’s Program for Adults and Transfer Students at The New School. Ms. Materre is a current member of the Board of Directors of Women Make Movies; former member of the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film and Television; a recipient of the “Distinguished Teaching Award” from The New School in 2005; a recipient of The Pen and Brush Society’s ‘Accomplished Women in the Arts’ Award; as well as a featured artist in the much-acclaimed annual journal documenting contemporary artists, Artist and Influence.

Jon-Sesrie Goff

Jon-Sesrie Goff is a filmmaker, multi-media artist, and curator. His work explores identity through the image of the community. Goff has offered his lens to the recently released and award winning documentaries including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015) and Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015) among other projects across genres and he’s travelled extensively as a documentary photographer. Goff is the 2016 recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance John Egerton Prize for his body of work that addresses social and environmental justice, through the lens of food. He is in the final stages of production for his documentary feature directorial debut After Sherman. His video installation, A Site of Reckoning: Battlefield, has been selected for the New Orleans international art triennial Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. He has taught courses in social justice documentary, media production, and photography at Villanova University, West Chester University of PA, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Goff studied sociology and economics at Morehouse College before completing his undergraduate studies at The New School and received his MFA from Duke University in Experimental and Documentary Arts. In addition to his filmmaking, independent curation and personal practice, Jon is currently the Museum Specialist for Film at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Roni Nicole


“I want these images to move you, as I am moved by you” | moving pictures | has grown from a desire to literally move about the world, capture it’s miracles and project them onto the collective memory. As a filmmaker, Roni Nicole Henderson makes fiction, fine art, experimental, documentary and with prayer, feature-length narrative films in the very near future. As a photographer, she delights in fashion + fine art, documenting artists and everyday folk, especially during major life initiations. As a fine artist, she projects this work in odd places so as to inject impulses to heal the self into our environment, impulses that inspire change and growth. Having earned an M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Roni Nicole desires to continue her professional work as a fine artist in the gallery, museum and especially the public spheres.