The Watermelon Woman

New Restoration
BAMPFA Student Committee Pick

  • Introduction

    Allegra Madsen is the director of programming at Frameline San Francisco LGBTQ+ Film Festival, the largest and longest-running queer film festival in the world.


Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valerie Walker, Lisa Marie Bronson,

With her first feature, The Watermelon Woman, writer-director-punk archivist-actor Cheryl Dunye creates an entirely new form of blended fictional narrative, mockumentary, and archeological dig, which became known as the “Dunyementary.” As “Cheryl,” a twenty-something video store employee with big dreams to open her own production company with her friend and coworker Tamara, she ends up literally creating her own lineage. After becoming obsessed with the Black actress who keeps popping up in 1930s American films, only credited as “Watermelon Woman,” Cheryl sets out to create a documentary that will lead her to the identity of Fae Richards/Faith Richardson, with whom she feels an unexplained kinship.

Shayna Warner
  • Cheryl Dunye
  • Michelle Crenshaw
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 81 mins
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive
  • Janus Films
Additional Info
  • Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by by 13th Gen, Outfest, The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation, TIFF, First Run Features & Yves Averous