UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA PROFESSOR LANDS HISTORIC DIRECTORIAL GIG

The Bordelon family Sugar Cane Farm is about to get a taste of Alabama.

Dr. Rachel Raimist, a Journalism and Creative Media professor at the University of Alabama, has been tapped to direct an episode of the ground-breaking series “Queen Sugar.”

The opportunity was extended personally by show-runner and lauded director Ava DeVurnay, a close acquaintance to Raimist. The UA faculty member will join the show’s lengthy ensemble of all-female directors, also placing her in the Director’s Guild of America, which boasts over 17,000 members.

Helmed DuVernay (Selma, 13th, A Wrinkle in Time), “Queen Sugar”, now in its third season, follows the estranged Bordelon siblings (played by Kofi Siriboe, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and Rutina Wesley) and their attempt at running an 800-acre sugar cane farm left by their deceased father.

An Award-winning filmmaker in her own right, the tenured professor boasts an impressive resume of film and producer credits, including “The Art of Healing”, “Voices of Muslim Women in US South”, “ Aeolian” and her magnum Opus “ Nobody Knows My Name”, a film dedicated to the women of hip hop. Her work has been screened at film festival across the world, including SXSW, Women in the Director’s Chair and Sundance.

DuVernay’s ties the Druid City date back to 2014, where she was invited to the Black Warrior Film Festival by the revered professor.  Despite her extensive catalogue of work, Raimist expressed her doubts of making in the television industry.

“I have made independent films and documentaries, but for a long time I thought that breaking in to television might not be possible,” Raimist said in a press release from the Capstone. “DuVernay has been intentional about giving opportunities to first-time television directors from legendary independent film directors like Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye and Patricia Cardoso to new directors with recent festival wins and folks like me who don’t fit into either of these categories.”

Since the show’s inception in 2016, DuVernay’s award-winning series has featured all female directors, something very unheard in the film and television industry.

Raimist’s episode titled “Your Passages Have Been Paid” was filmed on location in New Orleans and is expected to air in the Fall.

“Episodic television is a particularly difficult medium to ‘break in’ to as a woman of color director,” Raimist said. “To be called by Academy-Award winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay and be invited to direct an episode of her show is a career defining moment for me.”

Queen Sugar airs Wednesdays on the OWN network

 

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