Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts 2023

O.Funmilayo Makarah

O.Funmilayo Makarah is an award-winning film/videomaker, installation artist, curator, media activist and educator from Los Angeles. She uses experimental and documentary conventions to intertwine social, political, and economic concerns with issues of history, gender, race, and identity.  She is the founder and Executive Director of the eighteen-year-old Heritage Film Festival, Founder of the Los Angeles arts organization, IN VISIBLE COLORS (a media arts organization dedicated to the creation and promotion of films and videos by African Americans, Asian Americans, Latina/os and Native Americans).  She is also the former Director of Expanded Visions, a curatorial program to bring independent film/videomakers and their work to South Central Los Angeles youth. 

Makarah has a B.A. in Multi-Media (Art and Theatre) from Smith College, a M.F.A. in Film and Television from UCLA, and a M.A. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the Art and Art History Department of the University of Rochester (where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies).  

Before moving to Maryland, Makarah worked for the Berlin International Film Festival, served as Chair of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Media Committee, and as a panelist for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific American International Film Festival. She was a member of the Video Screening Committee of L.A. Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), a member of the Executive Committee for Available Visions, a National Conference on non-theatrical distribution of African American independent films/video, and a founding member and Curator of the international media arts organization, L.A.Freewaves. She has worked closely with arts organizations, including: Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY), The Center for New Television (Chicago), Video In (Vancouver, B.C.), Women in the Director’s Chair (Chicago), Arizona Commission on the Arts (Phoenix), California State University, Northridge, and GeVa Theater (Rochester, NY) where she served as Dramaturg for Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years.  

Makarah served on selection panels for Sony’s Visions of the U.S. Video Competition, The National Black Programming Consortium, the NEA, the Independent Television Service, Inc. (ITVS), and the Independent Filmmaker Program of the American Film Institute (AFI). She has been honored by the City of Los Angeles with a Media Certificate of Commendation for her work to promote art and artists, selected by Black Women in Media Arts to be the October representative on their annual calendar, and she received a Certificate of Commendation from Prince George’s County, Maryland. In Maryland Makarah also served as a Maryland State Arts Council panelist for both the Arts in Communities and Multi-Discipline Committees, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Humanities Council. Currently she is a member of the Advisory Board of the Creative Edge Collaborative in Prince Georges County, Maryland. 

Makarah’s work has been exhibited throughout the US, and in Canada and Europe. A partial listing of Makarah’s exhibitions and lectures include The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, LACE (Los Angeles), Women Under the Influence Film Festival, Pitzer College, Baltimore’s Creative Coalition, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Smith College, Video In (Vancouver, B.C.), UC Irvine, The Venice Photo Biennale (Italy), Future Studio (Los Angeles), Acorn Gallery (Pasadena, CA), The National Gallery of Art and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum (Baltimore). She is a member of the prestigious film movement, The L.A. Rebellion. Her L.A. Rebellion work has exhibited at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and toured throughout the US, and in Canada and Europe. 

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