(Photo by Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah)
Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah’s To the Girl That Looks Like Me is part of the Scene in Color Film Series, presented by Target, which shines a light on incredible filmmaking talent. As part of the series, three emerging filmmakers will receive mentorship from producer Will Packer, and their films are available to watch on Rotten Tomatoes, MovieClips Indie Channel, Peacock, and the NBC App.
Writer, director, and sound mixer Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah’s visual poem, To the Girl That Looks Like Me, is a unique and experimental piece of art that looks like very few things that have come before. Opening with a scene that taps into the feeling of otherness Dawson-Amoah experienced growing up as a Black girl with braided hair – a scene inspired by a nightmare the filmmaker once had – it ultimately explodes into a rousing and moving celebration of Black womanhood in images and words.
“Our hairstyles and our history are kind of twisted, and change based on who’s wearing it and what they’re saying when they’re wearing it,” says Dawson-Amoah, who, as well as being a filmmaker is CEO and founder of Melacast, a platform that connects BIPOC actors, directors, and crews with resources and opportunities. “I wanted to combine my history, my culture, and my upbringing in this space to try to create a film that let other Black girls who might have had a similar experience growing up know that there’s a space for them in the industry – but also in the world. Because a lot of us grow up thinking there’s not a space for us at the table.”
Dawson-Amoah, a recent graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, works uniquely. Instead of sitting down at home to write, she goes on walks, and when inspiration strikes, records her ideas in her phone’s voice notes. Rather than storyboarding, she works with her Producer to map out visual ideas to accompany lines of her poetry.
It’s a style that’s drawn her wide acclaim early in her career, with her work recognized in multiple film competitions, including the Fusion Film Festival and the Toronto Black Film Festival; she is a winner, too, of the Tony Hawkins Award for Excellence in Sound Design.
When considering what she wants to know from a filmmaking mentor, someone who has risen in the industry to a position of power and influence, she says she is not interested in learning about big wins and successes. “I would love to talk about the failures,” Dawson-Amoah says. “A lot of times people only talk about their successes, what they did right to get to where they are, but I would love to know about what they did wrong and how they learned from that and how they grew from that.”