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They came from Watts. They came from New York City. They came from throughout America or crossed an ocean from Africa. At a unique time and place in American history, a critical mass of filmmakers of African descent came to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to make movies and produced a rich, innovative, sustained, and intellectually rigorous body of work. The filmmakers of the L.A. Rebellion achieved this while realizing a new possibility for “Black” cinema, one that explored and related to the real lives of Black communities in the U.S. and worldwide.

Learn more about the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s ongoing “L.A. Rebellion” inititiative.

Gay Abel-Bey

After receiving her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, Gay Abel-Bey earned her M.F.A. in Film from UCLA. She was granted The Dorothy Arzner Award for high recognition of a dramatic piece by a woman for her thesis film, Fragrance (1991).

Shirikiana Aina Shirikiana Aina

Shirikiana Aina, writer and director, was born in 1955. After obtaining her B.A. in Film from Howard University, she earned an M.A. in African Film Studies from UCLA in 1982.

Don Amis Don Amis

Don Amis is a documentary filmmaker who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After serving in the Air Force, he joined his sister in Los Angeles.

No image Melvonna Ballenger

Melvonna Marie Ballenger, affectionately known as “Mel” was born on August 6, 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Steve T. Berry S. Torriano Berry

S. Torriano Berry is an award-winning independent film producer, writer and director, born in Kansas City, Kansas. After obtaining a B.A. in Art/Photography from Arizona State University, Berry received an M.F.A.

Carroll Parrott Blue Carroll Parrott Blue

Carroll Parrott Blue is an award-winning filmmaker, author and interactive multimedia producer.

Charles Burnett Charles Burnett

Charles Burnett is a writer-director whose work has received extensive honors. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, his family soon moved to the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Ben Caldwell Ben Caldwell

Arts educator and independent filmmaker Ben Caldwell grew up assisting his grandfather, who projected movies at a small theater in New Mexico.

Larry Clark Larry Clark

Larry Clark is a filmmaker and professor of film at San Francisco State University.

Julie Dash Julie Dash

Born in New York City, Julie Dash is a filmmaker, music video and commercial director, author and website creator.