Session 1: Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich

Watch the films: the films in this programme can be viewed anytime between 25 March and 3 April via the Essay Film Festival online screening room. LINK HERE.

Live event: join us for a live presentation by Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, who will be in conversation with Nzingha Kendall. This even will be chaired by Matthew Barrington. 25 March, 18.00 – 19.00. Book here.

In her work to date, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich has developed a range of projects exploring narratives relating to the African diaspora, using a range of experimental techniques to create narratives of those whose voices had been marginalised due to the legacies of colonialism. “For so long, value has been placed on a story that you can tell from beginning to end. For many marginalized folks, this is impossible due to trauma or lost history.” says Hunt-Ehrlich. Reflecting this fragmentation within her aesthetic, Hunt-Ehrlich’s work attempts to resurrect these lost accounts of history.

This programme of recent shorts, reflecting the artist’s interactions with archives, lays the ground for Hunt-Ehrlich’s live presentation of her current project on Suzanne Césaire, a theorist and writer closely associated with the Négritude movement. Hunt-Ehrlich’s engagement with Césaire continues her interest in Black radical traditions, whilst establishing a framework with which to understand her own work. The Black Caribbean and African cultural traditions and surrealist legacies, which would lead to the Négritude movement, correlate with Hunt-Ehrlich’s own aesthetic and intellectual approach, referencing the work of Césaire and her contemporaries, particularly the Martiniquan Édouard Glissant and his theory of opacity.

Film information:

Footnote to the West, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, USA, 2020, digital, 5 minutes, English

A dreamy fragment about the end of the world. A black girl wanders into a Hollywood western and mourns for the dead.

Outfox the Grave, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, USA, 2020, digital, 7 minutes, English

A short film and a spell of protection.

Spit on the Broom, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, USA, 2019, digital, 12 minutes, English

A surrealist documentary that explores the margins of the history of the African American women’s group the United Order of Tents, a clandestine organization of black women organized in the 1840s during the height of the Underground Railroad. The film uses excerpts from the public record, newspaper articles related to the Tents from over the course of 100 years, and a visual tapestry of fable and myth as a way to introduce a history that remains secret.

Live event: Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich: Work in Progress

During this event, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich will present material from her ongoing production exploring the life and work of Suzanne Césaire. Continuing her interest in the Black radical history, this work investigates both the presence and absence of Suzanne Césaire in the Négritude movement, and it asks the broader question of the continued disappearance of the role of women from the history of radical socio-political movements. 

Following this presentation Madeleine will be in conversation with regular collaborator Nzingha Kendall.


Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich is a filmmaker and artist who has completed projects in Kingston, Jamaica; Miami, Florida; and extensively in the five boroughs of New York City. Her work has screened all over the world including at the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of Art in New York and in film festivals such as New Orleans Film Festival, Doclisboa and Blackstar Film Festival. Madeleine has a degree in Film and Photography from Hampshire College and has an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in film and television production at CUNY Queens College in New York City. [source:]

Nzingha Kendall is a film scholar whose research focuses on black women filmmakers from across the diaspora. Her project, “Imperfect Independence: Black Women & Experimental Filmmaking” investigates the liberatory potential of black women’s experimental film practices. She has a PhD in American Studies from Indiana University and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Film and Screen Studies Department at Pace University in New York City.


Arts.Black: Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich and Nzingha Kendall in Conversation

Filmmaker Magazine: 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2020: Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich