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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.

Zeinabu irene Davis

Zeinabu Irene Davis is a director and producer who has received numerous awards for her work with film and video. Born in 1961 in Philadelphia, she received a M.A. in African Studies in 1985 at UCLA, where she also earned her M.F.A.

Alicia Dhanifu Alicia Dhanifu

Alicia Dhanifu, M.F.A., UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television graduate, is the first American to write, produce, direct and appear in Special Projects for the Creative Production and Training Center, located in Jamaica, West Indies.

Jamaa Fanaka Jamaa Fanaka

Jamaa Fanaka was born Walter Gordon in Jackson, Mississippi; he discovered a love of filmmaking when his parents gave him a 8mm camera at age 11.  The following year, his family moved to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton. 

Jacqueline Frazier Jacqueline Frazier

Jacqueline Frazier grew up in San Francisco and from an early age began inventing stories to put her younger sister to sleep.  That love of storytelling never left as she wrote children's books, and later progressed to screenplays and teleplays...

Teshome Gabriel

Teshome Gabriel came to the U.S. in 1962, earning degrees from the University of Utah.  Hired as a lecturer at UCLA's school of Theater, Film and Television in 1974, Gabriel also studied here, earning his M.A. and PhD degrees.

Haile Gerima Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima is an independent filmmaker and professor of film at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Gerima emigrated to the United States in 1967.

Film reel Ijeoma Iloputaife

A film student from Nigeria at UCLA in the late 1970s and early 1980s, she produced several films while in school, including African Woman USA (1980). She won recognition in fine art and literature in her country of origin and in Germany...

Alile Sharon Larkin Alile Sharon Larkin

Alile Sharon Larkin is an artist-educator and award-winning independent film and video maker.

film reel O.Funmilayo Makarah

O.Funmilayo Makarah is a writer and director of films and videos that explore cultural identity, as well as an educator. She came to Los Angeles and entered the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Barbara McCullough Barbara McCullough

A native of New Orleans, Barbara McCullough spent most of her life in the Los Angeles area.  Experimental film and video were her first love as she strove to “tap the spirit and richness of her community by exposing its magic, touching its...