Neema Barnette Prominent and prolific, director and producer Neema Barnette has engaged audiences with a body of compelling socially- and politically-charged work that defies the narrow stereotypes...
Neema Barnette Prominent and prolific, director and producer Neema Barnette has engaged audiences with a body of compelling socially- and politically-charged work that defies the narrow stereotypes of African-Americans usually depicted in entertainment. Working in both television and film, Barnette has earned the respect of peers and critics alike by winning countless accolades, including an Emmy Award for her after school special, "To Be A Man." With her recent transition to feature films, Barnette has realized the need to expand her audience beyond the young urban crowd and attract all people to her work. Born and raised in Harlem, Barnette made her first foray into entertainment as an actor while a student at New York's High School for the Performing Arts. She later attended NYU and moved on to directing at the insistence of theatrical producer Joseph Papp, who saw in her a unique visual style. She directed "The Blue Journey", by playwright OyamO (a.k.a. Charles Gordon), for Papp's Public Theater. This eventually led to her directing "To Be A Man" and winning the Emmy Award that would open many doors for her. Barnette later earned an NAACP Image Award for the NBC special, "One More Hurdle" (1984), the true story of Donna Marie Cheek and her struggle to become the first African-American member of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian team. Also at this time, Barnette was accepted to the Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute (AFI), where she directed the independent film, "Sky Captain" (1985), a surreal fantasy about a suicidal Peter Pan lurking about the Bronx. Next up for Barnette was the documentary, "The Silent Crime", which earned four local Emmy nominations and an award for directing from American Women in Radio & Television.
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute