Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye

Highest Rated: 100% The Watermelon Woman (1996)

Lowest Rated: 4% My Baby's Daddy (2004)

Birthday: May 13, 1966

Birthplace: Liberia

A significant figure in independent and gay cinema, writer-director Cheryl Dunye examined the perception of her own lesbian and African-American identity through a series of thought-provoking and frequently humorous features, including "The Watermelon Woman" (1996), "Stranger Inside" (HBO, 2001) and "Black is Blue" (2014). Born May 13, 1966 in Monrovia, the Republic of Liberia, she grew up in Philadelphia and received her Bachelors degree from Temple University before earning a Masters degree from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts. Dunye began her film career with a series of short films that freely mixed documentary elements with fiction - a format she dubbed "dunyementaries" - as they addressed issues relating to her experience as a woman filmmaker and an African-American lesbian. Her unique style also informed her feature film debut, the seriocomic "Watermelon Woman," in which Dunye essentially played herself, a gay, African-American filmmaker mining film history for positive portrayals of lesbians and black women. A critical hit as well as recipient of the Best Feature Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, "Watermelon Woman" was briefly the source of controversy when Michigan Republican senator Pete Hoekstra spoke out against the National Endowment for the Arts funding what he perceived as pornographic material. Despite the negative press, "Watermelon Woman" established Dunye as a powerful and creative new voice in the burgeoning "queer cinema" scene of the 1990s, which she underscored with a variety of subsequent and diverse projects. "Stranger Inside" was a made-for-cable drama about a young woman who is transferred to the same prison where her mother is incarcerated; it too proved a hit on the festival circuit. She then shifted gears to direct the comedy "My Baby's Daddy" (2004), a straightforward comedy about three men reacting to impending fatherhood before taking a lengthy hiatus from filmmaking to teach at the University of California Riverside and Pitzer College. In 2010, she helmed her fourth feature, "The Owls," about a murder committed and covered up by a group of lesbians. Duyne continued to address issues of sexuality and identity with humor in "Mommy is Coming" (2012), a comedy set in the gender-fluid Berlin underground. She then participated in the queer anthology film "Valencia" (2013) before directing a pair of short films, including "Black is Blue," about a transgender man pressed into serving as a security guard a lesbian social event attended by a former lover. Dunye served as an assistant professor at San Francisco State University while preparing a feature-length version of "Black is Blue."

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Dykes, Camera, Action! Unknown (Character) - 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Valencia: The Movie/s Director - 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet Valencia Director - 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet Hooters Self - 2010
No Score Yet 9% The Owls Carol (Character),
Director,
Producer
- 2010
4% 50% My Baby's Daddy Director $17.3M 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet Sisters in Cinema Self - 2003
No Score Yet 84% Stranger Inside Director,
Writer (Screenplay)
- 2001
No Score Yet No Score Yet The New Women Phaedra (Character) - 2001
100% 54% The Watermelon Woman Cheryl (Character),
Director,
Writer,
Film Editor
$1.5K 1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet Early Works of Cheryl Dunye Unknown (Character),
Director
- 1990

TV

Credit
56% 51% All Rise Director 2019-2021
88% 66% Lovecraft Country Director 2020
36% 86% The Village Director 2019

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