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A String of Pearls: The Films of Camille Billops and James Hatch

Two women facing the camera in stark shadows.
October 12, 2023 -
October 13, 2023

Camille Billops and James Hatch were partners in life and work. Together, they created inventive, playful and expansive ways to tell personal and provocative stories about race, gender, class and the human experience and much of their work has been difficult to access. 

This two-night program will feature their complete body of work — shorts, mid-lengths and a feature film — as beautiful new 2K scans and a 4K restoration (Suzanne, Suzanne). Billops appears in many of the films, often having the camera on herself or walking into the frame as she navigates conversations and spaces with her family and friends, bringing viewers closely into her life to talk about larger systemic issues in society. The first night includes Suzanne, Suzanne; A String of Pearls and Finding Christa (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival) — often referred to as The Family Trilogy — where Billops explores the legacy of physical abuse in her family, adoption and motherhood in a practical and unsentimental way, and speaks to four generations of Black men about their experience in the world. The second night uses more playful techniques, wherein the feature The KKK Boutique Ain't Just Rednecks is a “docufantasy about the ways that racism changes our soul,” and Take Your Bags and Older Women and Love approaches the subjects of slavery and romantic relationships between older women and younger men with humor and honesty. While the work is rooted in personal history, what is remarkable is how Billops and Hatch employ a variety of techniques to open up each film to a broader, more universal appeal. By breaking the rules of how non-fiction should be, they are creating a space for what it can be: deeply thoughtful, creative and transcendent.

Special thanks to our community partner: Los Angeles Filmforum.

Watch the series trailer:

Past Programs & Events

Title Date and Time Location
A man wearing a top hat and a vest decorated with watermelons talking to little girl.

The Films of Camille Billops and James Hatch: Part 2

Friday, October 13, 2023 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Two women smiling at each other in a

The Films of Camille Billops and James Hatch: Part 1

Thursday, October 12, 2023 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater