Tune in on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 3PM ET to watch LIVE as NNPA Newswire’s Culture and Entertainment Editor, Dr. Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, interviews Christine Swanson and Aunjanue Ellis, the acclaimed director and star of the television film The Clark Sisters, First Ladies of Gospel. The stream will be broadcast live at www.facebook.com/blackpressusa and simulcast in the NNPA Black Press of America Facebook group.
Aunjanue Ellis was born in San Francisco, California. She graduated from the Brown University, and later attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
During her career, Ellis performed on Off-Broadway theater, appeared in many film, and had roles on television. In film, she is best known for her roles in “Men of Honor” (2000), “Undercover Brother” (2002), “Ray” (2004), and “The Help” (2011). On television, Ellis had her most significant role on the 2015 mini-series, “The Book of Negroes”.
A Detroit native, visionary storyteller and multiple award-winning filmmaker, Swanson earned her MFA in Film from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, one of the nation’s top-ranked graduate film programs. CNN identified Christine as one of the most promising filmmakers to emerge from NYU’s graduate film program since Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Oliver Stone, and Spike Lee (Swanson’s NYU directing teacher). Swanson also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame, double majoring in Communications and Japanese.
Christine Swanson has developed, written and/or directed movie projects for various companies including HBO Films, Magnolia Pictures, State Street Pictures, TV One, and Faith Filmworks, her own independent film company. Swanson has written and/or directed numerous award- winning feature films, television episodes, commercials and short films in her career. Some of her award- winning titles include, Two Seasons (winner HBO Short Film Competition, Sundance selection), All About You (winner Audience Choice Award Chicago International Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize Hollywood Black Film Festival, Festival Award at the Pan African Film Festival, and the Film of the Year Award at the Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Series) starring Renee Elise Goldsberry, Terron Brooks, and Debbie Allen; All About Us (invited to the prestigious Heartland Film Festival, The Chicago International Film Festival, and the Cannes Festival du Film Panafricain) starring Boris Kodjoe, Ryan Bathe, and Ruby Dee; and Woman Thou Art Loosed (Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Blockbuster Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the American Black Film Festival) starring Kimberly Elise and Loretta Devine.
In 2015, Swanson received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Television Motion Picture for For the Love of Ruth. Christine also directed three original cable movie premieres for TV One entitled, To Hell and Back (starring Ernie Hudson and Vanessa Bell Calloway), For the Love of Ruth (starring Denise Boutte, Loretta Devine, Gary Dourdan, and James Pickens, Jr.) and Love Under New Management, The Miki Howard Story (starring Teyonah Parris, Darius McCrary, and Gary Dourdan) which broke network ratings as the most watched original movie in network history.
Recently, Swanson directed episodes of Chicago PD and FBI for Dick Wolf Films. Her episode of Chicago PD was rated the Best Episode of Season 6. Swanson directed the highly anticipated Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel for A&E Networks.
You can view some of Christine’s work here: vimeo.com/356789172
Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel debuts on Lifetime Television April 11, 2020, 8/7central.