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Yvonne Welbon

Submitted by: Tribeca Film Institute

Yvonne Welbon

An award-winning independent filmmaker, originally from Chicago, Yvonne Welbon received a B.A. in history from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Thereafter, she spent six years in Taipei, Taiwan, where she taught English, learned Mandarin Chinese, and at the age of 23, founded and published a premiere arts magazine with $300. She ran the magazine for five years.

Welbon returned to the United States and enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned an M.F.A. with a concentration in film and video and in 2001 a Ph.D. in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University. She is also a graduate of the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women.

Welbon has successfully produced and distributed over 20 films including Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis@ 100, winner of ten best documentary awards—including the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary and Sisters in Cinema a documentary on the history of black women feature film directors. Her films have screened on PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, the Sundance Channel, BET, HBO and in over one hundred film festivals around the world including Toronto, Berlin and Sundance.

She is currently producing The New Black (pictured above), a documentary directed by Yoruba Richen and her first trans-media project, Sisters in the Life: 25 Years of Out African American Lesbian Media-making (1986 – 2011), a web based online community building project that also includes a book of essays, a documentary, an archive and a mobile application.

Upcoming Project

The New Black (post-production, 2013)

The New Black Trailer (for Tribeca) from Yoruba Richen on Vimeo.

A documentary that uncovers the complicated and often combative histories of the African-American and LGBT civil-rights movements. Specifically, the film examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar – the black church and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda


Sisters in the Life (Transmedia Project, 2013 -14)

A black lesbian trans-media project centering on 25 years of out African American lesbian media making (1986 - 2011) that includes an archive that will be part of the UCLA's Outfest Legacy collection, a book of essays, a feature documentary, and a website where both the archive and the new documentary stories will live - creating an online grassroots community, classroom and film festival.

Sisters in Cinema (Digital Video, 2003)

A feature documentary offering a historical overview of the lives and the films of African American women feature film directors from the early part of the 20th century to today. Nationally broadcast on Black Starz!, Encore, TV-ONE

Living with Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100 (1999)

Ruth C. Ellis was born July 23, 1899 and was thought to be the oldest known ‘out’ African American lesbian. Her story offers a rare opportunity to experience a century of history as lived by one inspiring woman. Nationally broadcast on the Sundance Channel, and on PBS stations - KQED, WNET, WTTW, WHYY.

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