SGFF Gives Preview of Black Barbie documentary

March 3, 2020

VALDOSTA, GA – The South Georgia Film Festival presents a special work-in-progress screening of the definitive history of black dolls, Black Barbie, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the dolls introduction in 1980. Filmmaker Lagueria Davis’ film about her aunt Beluah Mae Mitchell, who helped introduce the first black version of Mattel’s Barbie, explores the struggle for representation.

“It took a Black woman in the design and leadership position to get a Black Barbie,” Davis said. “That very first doll really is validation that my aunt and Kitty Black Perkins were seen and heard.”

Along with the support of the Valdosta State University African-American Studies Department, this screening of Black Barbie is part of the project’s development process. Having participated in several prestigious work-in-progress retreats and labs over the last year to fully fund the documentary, Davis is continue to rework the project looking for feedback and conversation on the topic.

“Unlike Hollywood blockbusters, independent films need community support,” said Jason Brown, South Georgia Film Festival director. “They need feedback to tell the best story and funding to make the best film.”

Davis has found success with Black Barbie as she continues to grow in her career. Graduaing from the University of Oklahoma, Davis feature screenplay Maid of Honor was a Quarter-Finalist for the highly acclaimed Nicholls Fellowship. After Black Barbie allowed Davis to be chosen as a BAVC Mediamaker fellow, a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow, and to be a finalist for the Screencraft Film Fund, she was hired to write for an upcoming network television program.

Moderated by Alicia Pryor, of the Valdosta State University Mass Media program, the work-in-progress screening will include portions of the film, along with time for feedback from those in attendance. Davis, currently working as a writer on an upcoming cable television program, plans to be Skyping into the presention.

Along with the support of the African-American studies department, the South Georgia Film Festival includes sponsorships from Georgia Power, Georgia Beer Company, the Georgia Council for the Arts, Valdosta State University, the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority, Wild Adventures, the Turner Center for the Arts, Valdosta Main Street, the Valdosta Daily Times, Ashley Street Station, the City of Valdosta, the Williams Hotel Group, MUBI, and the Criterion Channel.

Festival screenings will take place at the VSU Student Union Theater at the corner of Baytree and North Oak Street. Over the three days, visitors can park at both the Oak Street Parking Deck and the University Center parking lot. With numerous panels and screenings, attendees will find plenty to do.

Promoting entrepreneurship through filmmaking, the festival continues to promote the regional film industry with panelists discussing both the craft and industrial impact of film for local businesses. This year’s festival has also includes panelists Richard Baxter to discuss Columbus, GA new tax incentives for film, Brent Simond of Illinois State University to discuss crowdfunding his documentary on country music, the Georgia Production Partnership’s South Regional meeting, and much more.

Passes to this year’s festival are currently available. The All Access VIP pass, which includes a t-shirt and access to the VIP areas costs $100. The Festival Pass which offers access to all screenings, panels and daily events are $40. Day Passes are $15 for all screenings and panels. Both High School and College students can get a free Day Pass with their school id to all screenings and panels.

For more information on the South Georgia Film Festival, visit or contact Prof. Jason Brown at 229-219-1298 or

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