Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.

classified 15

Women on the Periphery


Please note: This was screened in July 2018

Leslie Harris
Ariyan A. Johnson, Kevin Thigpen, Ebony Jerido
92 mins, 1992, USA

Join writer, director and producer Leslie Harris for this rare 35mm print screening of her 1993 debut - a smart, attitude-packed coming-of-age story set in New York that holds an important place in film history as the first film written and directed by an African American woman to gain British distribution.

Chantel (Ariyan A. Johnson) - a black, bright and beautiful Brooklyn girl - knows where she's at and where she's going. She's determined to go to college, become a doctor, and live her best life. But when she meets fly guy Tyrone, a high-school heart throb with the cheek and looks to rival her own, things get a little derailed...

Part cinéma vérité, part hip hop music video, this is a groundbreaking, streetwise look at inner city black life that should have been a teen classic in the vein of Clueless or She's All That.

Twenty five years on, Harris reflects: "It's still a challenge for Black women as writers, directors and producers. Yes, today we have Ava DuVernay and Dee Rees and that's that’s progress, but it’s not enough. Audiences are still missing out on many wonderful stories by black women filmmakers. Financing is still a challenge, me included trying to make my current feature ‘I Love Cinema’. When I picked up my Sundance Prize, I said “… it’s time to see the independent vision of African American women both in front of and behind the camera”. 25 years later, I say it again. The time is now."

Hollywood has yet to catch up with telling the stories of young Black women and Harris has yet to make a second feature (though certainly not through lack of trying). This event is a unique opportunity to reflect on that statement and Harris' journey since then...

Presented in partnership with BFI and Come The Revolution. Just Another Girl on the I.R.T also screens on Fri 27 July at BFI Southbank.