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Before She Was “The Lesbian Spike Lee”

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye

Available December 9, 2008

Before Newsday called her “the lesbian Spike Lee,” Cheryl Dunye’s short works had established her as a filmmaker to watch.  Now, finally, these iconoclastic early films, which use “humor, intelligence and drama” (Outfest LA) to unite “gay, African and women’s filmmaking” (Boston Phoenix), are available on DVD.

Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema – the ‘Dunyementary.’ Using a mixture of narrative and documentary techniques, the Dunyementary challenges social and cultural norms through a sharply funny and reflexive lens. Her acclaimed first feature THE WATERMELON WOMAN (1996) introduced Cheryl to wider audiences, who fell in love with her self-depreciating and insightful wit – not to mention the great cast (including herself). But what came before this modern-day classic?

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye
brings to us the first chapter of her provocative yet humorous oeuvre. Included on the disc are:

GREETINGS FROM AFRICA (Narrative, 1994) 
Cheryl, playing herself, humorously experiences the mysteries of lesbian dating.

THE POTLUCK AND THE PASSION (Experimental Narrative, 1993)
Sparks fly as racial, sexual and social politics intermingle at a lesbian potluck.

AN UNTITLED PORTRAIT (Video Montage, 1993)
Dunye’s relationship with her brother is examined in this mixture of appropriated film footage, super 8mm home movies & Dunye’s special brand of humor.

VANILLA SEX (Experimental Documentary, 1992)
Is it who you do, or what you do?

SHE DON’T FADE (Experimental Narrative, 1991)
A self-reflexive look at the sexuality of a young black lesbian.

JANINE (Experimental Documentary, 1990)
The story of a black lesbian’s relationship with a white high school girl.

Cheryl Dunye, a native of Liberia, received her BA from Temple University and her MFA from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts.  After making several short films, Dunye wrote, directed and starred in her first feature film, THE WATERMELON WOMAN, which was awarded the Teddy Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and Best Feature at L.A.'s OutFest, Italy's Torino, and France's Creteil Film Festivals.  Dunye's second feature, the acclaimed HBO Film STRANGER INSIDE, garnered Dunye an Independent Spirit award nomination for best director in 2002.  Her third feature film, Miramax's MY BABY'S DADDY, played in theaters nationwide. Dunye's works have been included in the Whitney Biennial and screened at festivals around the world, and she has received numerous national and international honors for her work.  Currently she serves on the Directors Guild of America's Independent Council, the advisory board for New York's Independent Film Project's Gordon Parks Award, as a mentor for IFP/ West Project Involve and as a board member of Outfest.  Dunye teaches at Temple University and is at work on a slate of new projects in the US and abroad.

For more about Cheryl Dunye check out her website at

• Director’s Introduction
• Interview with Cheryl Dunye • More about The Watermelon Woman

Selected Praise for Cheryl Dunye…

- Outfest Los Angeles

- Boston Phoenix

- The New York Times

- The Advocate

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye
Approx 72 minutes (total) • color & b/w • 1990-94
SRP: $24.95 / CAN.:$29.95
UPC: 7-20229-91355-3 •  Catalog #: FRF 913553D
Street Date: December 9, 2008


The Story Of One Simple Invention, The Vibrator
And Its Relationship to the Misunderstood Female Orgasm

The Technology of Orgasm

Available on DVD beginning December 9, 2008

First Run Features proudly presents “a fascinating look at the history of vibrators and the female orgasm in America” (Village Voice). Passion & Power: The Technology of Orgasm, a new documentary by Wendy Slick and Emiko Omori, will make its debut on DVD on December 9, 2008.

Based on Rachel Maines’ bestselling book The Technology of Orgasm, Passion & Power explores the history of the vibrator, from the Victorian era – when doctors used the device to relieve women of “hysteria” – through the sexual revolution of the 1960s, to the postfeminist present. As well as revealing the vibrator’s fascinating past, this entertaining documentary also uncovers the mysteries of the female orgasm – and examines how both have influenced sexual politics and gender dynamics throughout history. 

Featuring interviews with sexperts, historians and pioneering feminists including Maines, Katherine Young, Betty Dobson, Dell Williams, Joanne Webb, Beann Sisemore and comedienne Reno, Passion & Power takes us on a surprising and enlightening journey through the secret history of the vibrator and the even more mystifying female orgasm.

Emiko Omari began her career as a filmmaker and cinematographer in 1968, when there were few camerawomen and fewer still Asian American camerawomen. In 1991, she wrote and directed the highly acclaimed drama, Hot Summer Winds, a co-production of American Playhouse and KCET. In January 1999, her documentary Rabbit in the Moon, about her family’s confinement in a World War II American internment camp, premiered at Sundance, was broadcast on POV, and went on to win a National Emmy for Outstanding Historical Program. At Sundance Emiko was awarded the Best Documentary Cinematography award for Rabbit in the Moon and for her work on Academy Award nominee Regret to Inform.

Wendy Slick has produced and directed in almost every facet of the entertainment media industry, including American Playhouse, Disney, Showtime, PBS, CBS and VH-1; has made educational and documentary films for Lucas Film Learning, Harcourt Brace, Sundance Institute, Nature Company and Apple Computer; and has designed and produced a number of CD-ROMS and web sites.  She has been honored with several Emmy and ACE nominations, a “1000 Points of Light” award, as well as awards from the New York Film Festival, Houston Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, and several Cine Golden Eagle Awards. She has created film projects for the Herb Alpert Foundation and the Woman’s Funding Network, among others. Recently she has consulted for the series Pacific Diaries and the show Skin Stories for Pacific Islanders in Communications.

Bonus Features:
Interview ExtrasBehind the Scenes
More Antique Vibrators • Dancing Vibrator Trailer

Selected Praise for Passion & Power:

“Tasteful yet provocative!
Brings to life a remarkably amusing and strange secret history.”
- San Francisco Chronicle

“Delightful, even inspirational!”
- Dennis Harvey, Variety

“An empowering perspective of female sexuality and
a must-see for any woman.  A charming, tasteful exposé.”
- Janice Formichella, Feminist Review

“I loved this movie almost as much as I love my vibrator.”
- Margaret Cho

Passion & Power: The Technology of Orgasm
74 minutes • color •  2008
SRP: $24.95 / CAN.: $29.95
UPC: 7-20229-91354-6 • Catalog #: FRF 913546D
Street Date: December 9, 2008


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Attn: Ian Grody
First Run Features
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New York NY 10036

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