Award-winning filmmaker, producer, editor, and educator Madeline Anderson was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1992. A regular filmgoer from childhood, Anderson recognized early on the potential of the medium to educate and inform. With exceptional determination, Anderson endeavored to tell the stories of people who were not represented in the films she was seeing. As she realized her vision she broke down barriers of race and gender at every turn. In 1960, encouraged by an early mentor, documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock, she produced and directed her first film, Integration Report 1. That work, a wide-ranging look at the civil rights movement, exemplifies the clarity, economy of means, and political significance that would become the hallmarks of her career. Anderson was assistant director and editor on Shirley Clarke’s The Cool World before becoming the first Black employee at the television station NET (later WNET). She worked with William Greaves on the renowned NET series Black Journal, where she produced and directed A Tribute to Malcolm X. Anderson left the program to make what has become her best-known film, I Am Somebody, a documentary about the 1969 hospital workers’ strike in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 2016 Madeline Anderson was a guest at BAMPFA as part of Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, made possible by generous funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. After each of the two screenings Anderson spoke with Orlando Bagwell, then the director of the documentary program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an accomplished writer, producer, and documentarian, lauded for works about the civil rights movement and the history of race relations in the United States. These conversations were recorded by Emiko Omori for Film Quarterly and BAMPFA and can be viewed for free on Vimeo.
—Kate MacKay, Associate Film Curator
Madeline Anderson in Conversation
Hear Madeline Anderson in a conversation with Orlando Bagwell recorded at BAMPFA in 2016.