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Stand Up, Stand Tall: The Cinema of Euzhan Palcy

Euzhan Palcy, moderated by Claire Diao
“With my camera I don’t shoot, I heal,” Euzhan Palcy said about her filmmaking philosophy as she accepted an Honorary Oscar last November as a pioneering filmmaker whose groundbreaking significance in international cinema is cemented in film history. Her classic “Sugar Cane Alley” (1983), selected by Ava DuVernay for this year’s Berlinale Retrospective on Coming-of-Age, helped putting her native Martinique on cinema’s world stages, and went on to nab over 17 international prizes. For Euzhan, filmmaking is a mission. Her spirit of collaboration and communication, be it with studio executives, Hollywood icons like Marlon Brando or technicians on set, has allowed Euzhan to deal with unpredictable circumstances on various film sets. Always true to her storytelling vision, she has become an inspiration for many, fighting for gender parity, and for a stronger representation of marginalised groups in front of and behind the camera. For the first time with us at the Berlinale, here’s a chance not to be missed to join her on this important journey.

Thomas Padilla

Euzhan Palcy

Euzhan Palcy is an international writer, director and producer born in Martinique. Her first feature film, "Sugar Cane Alley” (1983) won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, a first for a Black director – she was also the first female director to win the French César Award. With "A dry white Season” (1989), at the height of apartheid, she offered a condemnation of real-world injustice in the shape of a gripping legal thriller. She became the first Black woman to both direct a Hollywood movie and lead an actor (Marlon Brando) to an Oscar nomination. In 2022, Palcy was awarded an honorary Oscar.

Nathalie Guyon

Claire Diao

Claire Diao is a French-Burkinabè film critic and distributor. She founded the short film program Quartiers Lointains in 2013, the Pan-African film critic magazine AWOTELE in 2015, and the sales and distribution company Sudu Connexion in 2016. Awarded for her essay Double Vague, le nouveau souffle du cinéma français (Au Diable Vauvert, ed. 2017), she collaborates with Clermont-Ferrand, Fespaco, Durban Talents and the Lincoln Center.