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Lawrence Andrews collaborating with Cultural Odyssey (San Francisco)

Award: $35,000 Media Arts Grant awarded in 1999

Completed: 2000

Filmmaker Lawrence Andrews collaborated with The Medea Project:  Theater for Incarcerated Women, a program of Cultural Odyssey that was founded by Rhodessa Jones. The Medea Project is renowned for the raw, cathartic energy of  its original works created by and featuring incarcerated women.  Through this collaboration, Lawrence Andrews created a hybrid-narrative feature film, We Just Tellin’ Stories,  based on five of the participating women’s stories and illustrating the Project’s workshop process.

Andrews and Jones worked closely together throughout the project, balancing the needs of the film with the demands of a live performance that was taking shape. The completed 55-minute film serves as an educational tool and extends the audience for The Medea Project’s work.  It has been shown at a number of festivals, and nominated for and presented awards.

Lawrence Andrews’ work addresses race, class, and power.  He has created film and video in documentary and narrative modes, along with sculpture, photography, and installation works.  At the time this grant was awarded, he was Associate Professor of Film and Electronic Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and his work had been shown extensively throughout the United States, on cable television, and internationally.

Cultural Odyssey creates, produces, and presents original performances that reflects the experiences of contemporary Americans and that are firmly rooted in African American music, dance, and theatrical traditions. The Medea Project is one of its community-based programs.

Also assisting with this project were  the Office of the Sheriff, Office of the District Attorney, Milestones Human Services Outreach Program, and the Center for African and African American Art and Culture.