MILWAUKEE — The Oriental Theater celebrates Black History Month by showing films directed by African American women about African American women. It is part of Milwaukee Film's Black Lens Film Series.
The start of the series kicked off Thursday night with a set of short films.
"It's fun to see the blockbuster films, we all love them. But here's the chance to see something you wouldn't otherwise see," said Geraud Blanks, co-founder Black Lens.
The films are from all over the world. But one director has Wisconsin roots. Origin is a short film by Simone Lyles. Her mom still lives in Port Washington and came to the showing with her.
"I was an athlete for most of my life. I played in college, basketball and it was when I was playing in college that I got introduced film. Some really fortunate people who introduced me to photography and what it was to be a filmmaker. And then decided to go into narrative film," said Lyles.
This is the third movie Simone has made. Origin is a story about an African American woman coming to terms with her sexuality. She says there's been a lot of advances for black female directors in Hollywood, but there is still a lot of progress to be made to make sure voices like hers are heard.
"There are obstacles and there are challenges that I am faced with that maybe a white male is not faced so with creating with that in mind just means hustling a little harder. Working twice as hard. And just trying to continue to make the kind of stories I want to make," said Lyles.
Every Thursday in February there will be a new film shown by a different black female director. Next week, the films Love and Basketball will be shown at 6:30 p.m. at the Oriental Theater for the 20th anniversary of the movie. There is more information and other events connected to the Black Lens series here.