Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts 2023

Iman Uqdah Hameen

Iman Uqdah Hameen is a 1987 BFA graduate of The City College of New York, Film Department and student of the legendary Kathleen Collins. Her senior thesis film earned her the distinction of being the first African American female to win the coveted Picker Film Institute Best Film Award in Direction and Production at CCNY. In following years, the film won various awards and wider recognition.

After graduation, her film was distributed by the Black Filmmakers Foundation (BFF) and Chanba Educational Services, founded by archivist, Pearl Bowser. Such exposure led to national and international film festivals, college screenings and television. It was chosen out of 650+ entries by The Learning Channel Independents Project, a 10-part PBS women’s film series (1990), hosted by Oscar winner, actress Lee Grant. 

During 1989-1995, too few opportunities surfaced. Hameen worked in hyphenate positions on the 1st feature film of fellow film school alumni, the late Joseph B. Vasquez of “Hangin’ with the Homeboys” fame. In pursuit of more education, she was accepted into a video technician training program for “minorities” associated with the Apollo Theater. Hameen later became a production assistant on Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” briefly and volunteered as Apprentice Script Supervisor for Ayoka Chenzira’s “Alma’s Rainbow”, an innovative and now classic, feature film.  

Putting dreams and passion for film aside to focus on family, Hameen also earned 3 graduate degrees in education. She became more involved in the community for decades as an activist and event organizer around issues affecting the black community, education and society, mainly voter registration, social justice and reparations. In 2020, Hameen re-entered the world of film production, primarily as assistant director.

Hameen is currently writing about her family’s migration from Ohio to CT to Africa. She desires to make a film with her CCNY classmates about the tragic life of Joe B. Vasquez. “Unspoken Conversation” is part of the permanent Pearl Bowser film collection in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

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