Ayoka Chenzira

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Ayoka Chenzira is an award-winning filmmaker and digital media artist whose productions span drama, animation, documentary, performance art and experimental narrative productions. She was trained in dance, painting, still photography, music, film and video, and received degrees from New York Univeristy (BFA Film Production) and Coluntia University Teacher's College (MA Education). She now works primarily in film, video and multimedia, which allow her to incorporate her varied interests and skills. Chenzira is considered to be the first African-American woman animator and one of the first to produce and direct a 35mm feature film, "Alma's Rainbow," listed in Billboard Magazine as one of the top home video rentals (May 1998). She has received both popular and critical acclaim from national and international audiences as well as numerous production awards for outstanding contributions to the field Black Independent Cinema. Her work is a part of many film collections including the Museum of Modern Art. In 2000, Chenzira was honored by the Newark Museum as one of hte most important African-American filmmakers of the twentieth century. She is the founder of Red Carnelian Films, a New York-based production company dedicated to bringing stories about Black life and culture to the screen. In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Chenzira is a Professor at the City college of New York where she began in 1986, servig as Chair for the Department of Media & Communication Arts from 1997-2001. She co-created the College's MFA in Media Arts Production (1995), the first graduate program of its kind at a public institution and one htat has state-of-the-art production and post-production equipment. She received an Outstanding Scholar award from the Chancellor of the City University of New York in 2000. In the spring of 2001, Chenzira accepted an invitation to be the first William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair of Fine Arts at Spelman College.