Ask the average film enthusiast to name five black women filmmakers working today, and they will likely struggle to come up with more than a few. Narrow the criteria down to black women filmmakers working at the studio level, and their choices become even fewer, because black women are still vastly underrepresented in the director’s chair, even as industry inclusion initiatives abound. While she has three feature films on her resume (two indies and one studio) in as many years, and two in development (both at major studios), the prolific Stella Meghie remains a relative unknown for her accomplishments as one of very few black women filmmakers working at a consistent rate today.
Among the 814 movies released theatrically in the U.S. in 2018, just five of them were directed by black women filmmakers, and only one (Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time”) came from a studio. In 2017, Meghie’s “Everything, Everything” was the only studio-backed film directed by a black woman. After that, she directed the indie “The Weekend,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and she’s already at work on two new projects: With “Girls Trip” producer Will Packer, she’s currently casting the romantic drama “The Photograph”; after that, she’ll move on to the Fox-produced “American Princess,” which stars Issa Rae. Without much fanfare, the writer-director is building a distinct body of work, while managing to maintain some anonymity. But for the filmmaker, it’s very much welcome.