Where is She Now?

Chainletter Filmmakers:

The Chain of Love Letter

Abiola Abrams, Ophelia’s Opera
November 28, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
There’s such a different world today. I was in my late 20s or early 30s when I first learned about Joanie 4 Jackie. The world of women art filmmakers was pretty connected at the time. I had a tony blurb in a filmmaker’s magazine that had Miranda July on the cover. Before that, I was fairly obsessed with her site and her work. Then someone suggested that my work needed to be in Joanie 4 Jackie, so I submitted.

What interested you about the project?
There is such power in collaboration and being a part of a curated collection. There’s a part of being an auteur – writer and director – that can feel like a lonely solo enterprise, although you have a team. So being a part of this documentation of women’s voices and women’s storytelling is very powerful.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I always considered myself a storyteller but I was absolutely a filmmaker at the time. I directed several short art films that examined taboo topics related to the lives of women, women of African descent specifically. In addition to Ophelia’s Opera, my film Stranded went to the Berlinale Film Festival, Afrodite Superstar was the first feminist erotica for women of color by women of color, and my documentary Knives in My Throat won a number of awards from black women’s film festivals. My life has shifted completely, and I haven’t made a film in 10 years. Now I am an author, columnist, empowerment coach and speaker. I also create Goddess Affirmation Cards and other inspirational products for women. There are also 2 documentaries that I have in the pipeline.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
I have a memory from filming Ophelia’s Opera, which was my first film. I remember during the filming, the men on the set expressed a grievance that the film portrayed a violent African American man. They were concerned about the negative portrayal and imagery. We had a town meeting in my apartment, which was also our main set, and almost every woman on set said that they felt that the story of domestic violence needed to be told. My crew was about 80 percent African American women who all had witnessed or experienced emotional, physical or mental relationship abuse at some level.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I thought that Joanie 4 Jackie was a badass sisterhood collaboration and I still do!

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
My last book was The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love and I am also the creator of the African Goddess Affirmation Cards and the Womanifesting Fertility Goddess Oracle Cards. My weekly spiritual business iTunes podcast is named Spiritpreneur School. also have a monthly digital sister circle called the ManifestYourMagic.com Moon Circles. I am an author, advice columnist, speaker and empowerment coach for women. I have a free digital self-love kit for my Joanie 4 Jackie family at OwnYourBombshell.com and will be leading the Abundance, Pray, Love Retreat in Bali. Hope to see you there!

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
It would be cool to see update vlogs from the former participants.