Speaker My name is Radha Blank and I am a film director now, finally.

Speaker What did you used to I used to be a teaching artist teaching in public schools to support myself as a writer because that was always my in me since I was a kid, I wanted to write.

Speaker I didn't know I could have a successful career as a writer, but it was what I always wanted to do.

Speaker So, yeah. And then what was the church teaching? Squeaky chair, it's good that you get dirty from teaching to not being a filmmaker, the world.

Speaker Well, there were many things in between while I was teaching, I was a I tried to be an actor, and when I wasn't getting cast in anything, I just decided to write my own one woman show.

Speaker And I did that as a way to promote myself as an actor. But people were like, your acting is good, but the play is really strong. And that's what turned me into a playwright.

Speaker And then I'd written a number of plays over the years and struggled as a playwright, which gave me a story to tell. But then I, I just found myself vacillating between being a teaching artist and trying to have a breakthrough as a playwright.

Speaker And the breakthrough kind of came 10 years ago, but it didn't really mask to anything. Everyone said your play. This play is going to Broadway.

Speaker I wrote a play called Seed that was produced by the classical theatre Harlem and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. And I found that to be a big compliment. But I always felt like if this play were to go to, I wouldn't go to Broadway with this kind of play unless the people that I'm writing about can't afford to be there. So my dream was like to have it subsidized, have the entire theater subsidized, so that the people from Harlem that I'm writing about could attend. That didn't quite happen. But we did bring I feel like we brought Broadway to Harlem because we did it in the middle of central Harlem. And, you know, but but my career as a playwright didn't quite take off, so to speak. And so I went back to teaching and I got a call one day saying that Steven Avery, gorgeous, you know, the New York, you know, holy grail of writing and playwriting, was interested in me for a TV show. And I started writing for the get down. And then after the get down, I started writing for NPR. And then after Empire I started writing for She's Got to Have It. And it's a long journey, but here I am. So, yeah.

Speaker Yeah, if I can remind you to look at me.

Speaker Oh, right, sorry, that's a kid. I know I have the final thought and then I can come back, OK, if I can ask you to use maybe another one of the machines.

Speaker OK, where are your cheeks?

Speaker They care to look, I do have more foundation that I think would map me out. Do you think I should put that on?

Speaker I should use the word yes.

Speaker Oh, wait, is that a yes? Can I use that? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. OK, I think this might help, actually.

Speaker Just kind of set the foundation and let me know. That's better.

Speaker And and where has the journey brought you to most recently the most recent successes?

Speaker Um, so odd answer these questions. Give me a second. A journey brought me to recently, so. I just directed my first feature film called The 40 year old version of which I am the writer, director, producer and star of Crazy. I know.

Speaker And we just premiered it at Sundance, where they were crazy enough to give me the best directing award.

Speaker Yeah, they just gave me an award. I don't quite understand it, but I was very happy to receive it. I've always wanted to make film and to get that kind of affirmation from institution organization that has helped to develop my voice.

Speaker And storytelling was just phenomenal. And we made a little bit of black history because I am only the second black woman to win that award in the 40 or so years of Sundance. So I follow in. Ava DuVernay is amazing footsteps in receiving that award. I couldn't have asked for a better affirmation. And being at the festival, I was a little naive at first because I think I saw Sundance as an opportunity to share my first film with its first audiences. And we got that. And it was it was people love the film, but to get that kind of acknowledgement from Sundance was just it was amazing to get that kind of validation, because I do I did the film to become a director and to be seen as a director. So to get a directing award is just like, amazing.

Speaker I couldn't have asked for a better outcome, honestly. Thank you.

Speaker Still not I still don't believe it until they send it in the mail.

Speaker So where did the title come from? And that's the film about the Forteo version.

Speaker The title comes from me very simply. What's the word I would use appropriating Judd Apatow title for the 40 year old virgin? Judd seems to play in this area of storytelling around aging and making fun of it for his subjects. And I just thought, well, my subject is dealing with the same thing, like not being a virgin. Sorry, Mom, but, you know, just in terms of of having a new journey at 40, I think the the misconception is that by the time you reach 40, you know what life is about.

Speaker And there's still all of these lessons to be learned. And so the same applies to my protagonists. She rediscovers a part of herself. She finds new love and all at the age of thirty nine, going on 40.

Speaker And so, yeah, I just wanted to kind of point to that genre of filmmaking, of self-deprecating comedies, but this time with someone who looks like me in the lead I the story takes place in New York and it's in the spirit of a lot of classic New York films. But again, with a different kind of protagonist. I've lived in this city my entire life and boy, do I have a lot of stories to tell. I just don't see them or I haven't really seen them reflected on the big screen.

Speaker Aside from the work of Kathleen Collins, who did one of my favorite films, Losing Ground or the work of Cheryl Dunia, who did Watermelon Woman, to just aren't many films with black women going through an identity crisis. And so, yeah, I was just I was just very kindly appropriating Judd's title and saying that, hey, we we also have these midlife crisis. So.

Speaker Yeah. And why did you decide to produce today?

Speaker I don't know that I have a clear answer to why I decided to act, write, produce. I just know I had such a specific vision and I'm playing a version of myself, a heightened version of myself, and who better to play me than to tell the story.

Speaker And I think it actually made things a little bit easier just in terms of directing the film, like in knowing what is happening, like intrinsically with this character's life. But yeah, I, I wasn't making I wasn't in my film so that I could have a breakout as an actor. I just wanted to make a film in the spirit of Woody Allen and Spike Lee. Oh, I want to say that over again because I don't want to say Woody Allen's name shit.

Speaker OK, fuck it. It's an ongoing joke. I'm like Shmuley Schmeling, but I don't think I should do that here.

Speaker I mean, just think Spike Chaplin.

Speaker Orson Welles, who else? Oh, Lena Dunham, OK.

Speaker I did not make the audio version as a way to have a breakout as an actor. I just wanted to make a story in the spirit of people like Orson Welles, Spike Lee, Lena Dunham, who had a very specific story that they wanted to tell. I don't see myself acting in a whole bunch of films afterwards, but I do know being in my own film could be a smart strategic move because now people equate a film with a face, you know, a face with a film, and maybe that'll ensure that I can make another film very soon.

Speaker That's what I'm hoping. Yeah.

Speaker Is it easier to be a director or do I think it's very challenging to be an actor for many reasons, one, just the pressure to perform in a scene with another person, especially when I don't have, quote unquote acting training, but also just a lot of people who have to tend to you. I remember one time I was shooting and the minute I yelled cut like wardrobe came, sound came, makeup came and it was a lot and it really did, though the experience really did make me appreciate actors and what they go through to tell a story. It did make me see them as my dear fellow filmmakers as well. They're my collaborators. They're also storytellers, you know. And so I feel like whatever I do next, there's just a greater appreciation for what the actor has to do in a scene, because I have now gone through it.

Speaker And what have the challenges been directing the challenges around directing my first film have included just staying focused and alert for a number of hours at a time.

Speaker You know, in theater, you know, you can rehearse it a million times and then you just kind of let it go when it's on.

Speaker It's on the stage in film. You know, you do have this opportunity to try things over and over again, but it also can wear you down. And so, like finding the energy to be present for every take was very challenging. And also having, you know, an entire crew of people, an entire cast leaning on you to guide them. But that's also what makes directing so exhilarating is like you have to you have to have the confidence. But once you do, it's really exciting to pull all these different pieces together and like to assure people that they're doing a good job. And also just to learn, learn how to make a film better by having so many people invested in telling that story. So I wouldn't change anything. I I do think that making film is it's not for the faint of heart. You really have to be a little bit crazy to to be invested in this one thing for so long. But I wouldn't change anything about it because it's when you look at the finished product and you feel good about the work that you created with the what?

Speaker Your collaborators. There's nothing like it. There's nothing like it. I'm going to go away.

Speaker My nose real quit because I feel it more they.

Speaker OK.

Speaker Both with audio version and the TV shows you've written for the strong sorry.

Speaker I just want to be ready to make black women protagonists. Tell me about that and.

Speaker Wait for that well, writing a strong black woman protagonist is really important to me, I mean, because I am a black woman and I understand how powerful the moving image is in creating a mirror for someone. And so, you know, I I've worked with young people over the years and I've I've heard young black girls say things about themselves based on what they see and don't see on primetime TV or in music videos and anything I can do to counter a young woman's lower self-esteem, lower self-esteem or lost sense of self, then that's what I'm going to do. And I feel like I've had the opportunity to write a range of strong black women from Kookie to NOLA and not just strong, but searching because I feel like. Black women characters, I think, often get pigeonholed in the identity of a strong woman. I think what I want to show is like a human woman, a vulnerable woman, a woman who was searching. I think that's why Kathleen Collins film Losing Ground is so potent to me, because here's a woman who has she's at the highest place of academia. She's a professor. She's a philosophy professor, married to a burgeoning artist. And even though her her students are kind of like enraptured by her and another professor is kind of attracted to her, she just doesn't quite know who she is. And that's not a black woman character that we often see is the one who's searching for herself or higher learning about herself. And so I feel like it's been great to write characters like Kookie, but also Nola and my own character from Forteo version, women who are like just trying to figure it out.

Speaker You know, we're not all knowing, you know, neck rolling, all knowing women.

Speaker We were contemplative, we're introspective. And so that that to me feels like where I'm always writing from is what is a black woman character or our way of black female life that we don't often see on screen.

Speaker And so it's it's it's never just about telling stories. For me, it's always about something bigger than me. And speaking to a bigger issue.

Speaker Quickly, quickly.

Speaker Oh, sorry. It's another thing of mine. Yeah. Oh, my foot. I'm going to just cross my legs. I know it's hard to talk. Yeah, I will just do my best to.

Speaker We're going to.

Speaker Have you?

Speaker What?

Speaker Senior year answered all the questions, what challenges a woman and a black woman faced in this film, in this film and television industry?

Speaker I have faced a lot of challenges, even though it's the very beginning of my career as a filmmaker. I think the challenges that I often face are challenges any woman faces in the society. You know, like the people have been conditioned to see filmmakers in one light and in maybe very limited view, you know, and a lot of times it doesn't include someone who looks like me.

Speaker And so because of that, sometimes I think people taking me seriously or women who look like me seriously as a filmmaker, that's present, you know, that tension sometimes where I have to maybe ask for something more than two times. But I think I've just learned from the examples of the women who have come before me to just push through and persevere. You know, it isn't my job to teach someone not to participate in patriarchy. That's not my job. My job is to make the best damn film I can. And I also feel very responsible in making sure that my cast and crew is inclusive so that they have one more opportunity on the resume, you know, because that stuff is important. But, yeah, I mean, there are a lot of challenges.

Speaker But I think that's with any industry that has engaged or employed one kind of person or a few kind of people, the industry needs a second to learn. It's time to shift. You know that there's not just one kind of story or one kind of storyteller, you know.

Speaker Yeah. That I answer the question.

Speaker I hope I did very well. So were you aware of the significant role that women played in the.

Speaker I was not aware of how significant a role women played in silent films, but I'm learning more and I'm like really inspired that women would have the courage at that particular time when the expectations were so limited of women that they were a force like to learn all the women who had written for silent films, I had no idea.

Speaker And so I'm really grateful to learn more about Lois Weber and the women of her time, especially in times when I'm feeling a little frustrated to know that there were women who were not expected at all to push back at the industry in that way and then have that level of success. But, you know, it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me that the more successful writers of that time were women. And I think that has a lot to do with how we're conditioned to express ourselves in this society. You know, like women are the one thing where we're encouraged or expected to do is to be emotional. And there's nothing like an emotional writer, like someone who can really tap into those that human experience. So while I'm surprised to learn that so many women participated in the silent film era as they did and had such great success, it doesn't surprise me that the best writers were women because, you know, even Hollywood now they're getting smart. Like, you know, TV is becoming more like theater. And I think show runners want the best writers, the people who are really invested in characters. And that's why more and more women are getting employed in TV writing rooms. So but I feel like they were the pioneers, you know, and I'm grateful to know more about them.

Speaker Yeah. Finish off Hollywood today and then I'm want to switch. OK? Did you tell me about the lack of representation still, even though people are getting smarter about it? Women and women of color specifically in.

Speaker I I think that the lack of representation, the reason it still persists is because of who's at the top.

Speaker You know, like when you go to studios and you meet the people who are considered the gatekeepers, they're not very inclusive. It's not a group of diverse people making decisions about which films get greenlight. And so I feel like in order for more of, you know, my kind of storytelling near to cast, you know, lean away, you know, for these storytellers, for us to exist, there has to be people who value that kind of storytelling. And it tends to be someone who can relate to the experience. And I'm not just saying like this idea of, well, every story, you know, if it's universal, there's a way to enter it. But I do think that there is just.

Speaker OK.

Speaker Yeah, these guys have been kind of circling the block in that moment of their life, like it's really.

Speaker Is that better? Representation.

Speaker So what the impact is, what changes do you think you would need to have in order to make the industry more?

Speaker I think to make the industry more representative of our world is we have to have more people representative our world in positions of power, from studio heads to development executives to show runners and head writers in TV rooms. Um, you know. That, to me, is the core issue, hiring people who reflect more of our world and they will likely hire people who reflect more of our world. I know one of the big compliments I got on set, what people were just kind of blown away by how diverse or inclusive our crew was. I didn't hire everyone, but I hired really diverse department heads and they then hired people. And so I just think, again, it it starts with the leadership or the quote unquote gatekeepers. If they are more inclusive and diverse, then more inclusive and diverse stories will get greenlit, I guarantee you.

Speaker What's next for you?

Speaker Well, so it's been 20 years of developing stories on my own, so when someone asked me what's next, I have several stories in my arsenal.

Speaker I'm not at liberty to talk about it yet, but trust that there are things in development that are stories I've been wanting to tell for a long time. So hopefully the success of the audio version will lend itself to more excitement around my stories.

Speaker Yeah. Are they all in the comedic zone?

Speaker I don't just want to tell comedic stories. I was a playwright for 20 years, often writing to the lens of social justice issues. So there's some of that, too. And also commentary about our industry. Like I love films like Living in Oblivion or Bullets over Broadway that kind of pulls the curtain back. There's a little bit of that. And for your version. So I want to do more of that storytelling. I'm also a big fan of Christopher Guest in my documentaries. You know, my film has somewhat of a mockumentary element to it. So I definitely want to tell more of those stories. I'm just hoping that I'm seen as an auteur, like when when people come to see a film by Robert Blank, they know they're going to be in for a ride. Something exciting, but something heartfelt and honest.

Speaker So, as you know, this project's name is unladylike because we're featuring women like Lewis Libby, who really broke the boundaries of what it meant to be a lady right to my country.

Speaker What does that term you unladylike to me feels like? Let me start over.

Speaker To call someone unladylike actually feels like a compliment to me because that sounds like a woman who is breaking out of a box and she's not letting anyone define who she is outside of her own, you know, any desires. She's kind of breaking away from what society expects from her and. That's kind of what I want to do as a filmmaker. Yes, I'm a woman filmmaker. Yes, my stories are from a female, you know, centered place, but.

Speaker I just want the work to be undeniably good, so you cannot let my gender define me and you cannot let my expression of gender define me. You just have to get with it or get out my way. And so I'm very proud to be lady. Like, if someone calls me on baby, like I say thank you.

Speaker That's exactly how we do it. Oh, good. So you did not know about Lewis?

Speaker I did not know about Lewis Webber before this. I'm blown away by Lewis Weber. She just the word I think of when I think of her legacy is bad ass man.

Speaker She just like clearly she defied the expectations of. Of a person from her time, a woman from her time, and the fact that she took on the reigns to do so many things. I understand that need to kind of be in control, especially when you have a very specific vision. But for her to make film in that time makes me think of the word, the phrase by any means necessary.

Speaker Even her short of films like they still had a very, very clear point of view.

Speaker And for her to make films that were kind of smacking patriarchy and chauvinism and misogyny in the face like bad ass, bad ass, bold, courageous, anything that we were dealing with.

Speaker How I saw her. Oh, yeah.

Speaker The card game, right, is everything.

Speaker Lois Weber is a badass. That's what I think she that's what I think of Lois Weber. For her to make the films in the way that she did in the time that she did. Like she's a warrior, you know, and she, you know, made films that were smacking patriarchy, chauvinism, misogyny right in the face and doing it in front of an audience, you know, which I think is really, really bold. But to use film to express herself as an artist, I get to use film to express yourself around a social justice issue is what really makes it bold.

Speaker But it is like one of the most powerful mediums. And so I get where she felt like this is the place where I can genuinely express myself about the things that are plaguing the area that I'm in and get an audience to maybe galvanize around this idea. That's just badass. That's just bold to me. So hats off, Lois.

Speaker Yeah, and a lot of the social are still holds today.

Speaker I am curious, like what she would think of how far or not far we've come since her time of making film. Clearly, there still is a fight on our hands. But the difference now is that the army of soldiers, cinema sisters, as I call them, has grown exponentially.

Speaker And hopefully, you know, in the wake of her work, we are we've picked up the mantle and we've we've shifted things. I do I do think we have I do think we have I think she'd look at Śiva and be really proud of Victoria Mahoney. You know, a mall, not a mall. Sorry. What's her name?

Speaker Buck. She did a. She did?

Speaker Yeah, what's her name or is it Alma Alma Harrell, OK. No, it's Alma Harro. I know, because she created Free the work, which is an awesome observation.

Speaker I, I'd hope that Lois would look at Ava DuVernay, Mahoney, Alma Harrell and be like, wow, like the army has grown and they're even more prepared with resources, education, information for the fight. You know, I'd hope that she'd look at that and feel like she made a dent, an important dent in our society, in our industry.

Speaker But I I would apologize to her and say, I'm sorry if you feel we did not do enough work. We have more work to do. I want to start over. I don't like that.

Speaker I would hope that if Lois was looking down on us from heaven and I'd hope that she'd be proud of the progress that she made that we made as an industry, as cinema sisters, picking up the good fight to tell stories, to film. And I'd hope that she would not lose hope. You know, the fact that these are these issues around misogyny and patriarchy is still very prevalent today. I'd hope that she'd seen a shift from her time to mine and that, you know, she has faith in us, you know, as a society, as women to keep pushing things forward.

Speaker Yeah, so as much as you can remember, can you please summarize her life's story, like what? What stands out for you when you're talking about her to somebody who's never heard of her? Just discovered, discovered, right?

Speaker What she did, I think what invigorates me the most about Lois Weber is she was a woman who was.

Speaker Sorry.

Speaker What I'm looking for when you're not satisfied, you are.

Speaker So, you know, I use this word to describe NOLA all the time.

Speaker The perfections now on.

Speaker James starts with an S. What is wrong with me today? I'm really. I'm certainly not unsettled, satisfied, the opposite of satisfied is.

Speaker Give me one second. Yeah, no, I can't think of it, I.

Speaker You want more?

Speaker Untz. I'm sorry. Sad is fine.

Speaker It's close to the it's not an satiated. Were you can't are you could you could relate it to sex related to food you could relate it to. She is not satiated. Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. What is this word where you just want more speech? I think insatiable.

Speaker That's it. That's OK.

Speaker Insatiable, insatiable, insatiable. Insatiable, insatiable. OK.

Speaker Lois Weber, sorry, I am having a brain fart.

Speaker When I think of the legacy of Lois Weber, I think of a woman who was insatiable.

Speaker Yes, she had opportunities as an actor, it was not enough for her. I think that even if she couldn't define, like what it was she wanted to do, she knew she had to move from whatever place she was in and create her own experience not to wait on someone to cast her in a great film, to cast herself in that film, not wait for a creative producer to come around with a great idea, but to explore the own ideas in her head and to just not sit still and wait on anyone to just be the person pushing her own destiny forward, so to speak, to use those resources and then to kind of groom the next generation of filmmakers, like just from her desire to tell a story that wasn't contingent on a producer, a gatekeeper or a critic like that to me is just amazing. And it really speaks to the artist, you know, that inner artist, that voice that's always saying to you like, but what if what if there's more? And so I'm just kind of blown away by her and her her ability to, in spite of not seeing any examples around her, to forge a path as a filmmaker, you know, and to to. To not not let the word know stop her, because I just imagine it at that time, there was so many knows when she said she wanted to shoot the film, when she said she wanted to be in films with her husband, you know, they were just there was probably just a mountain of doubt in front of her and for her to. Push past that and create, you know, her own work and to be your own boss, so to speak. It just it just blows me away that she did that in that time.

Speaker I'm just trying to collect my thoughts.

Speaker I think one of the things that impresses me about Lois is that when she went and had her success, she decided to come back and use her films as a teaching tool for other people. I know, like as a teaching artist, it's important to me that I'm still connecting with young people and future storytellers, especially around demystifying filmmaking.

Speaker And for her to have that legacy and then come back and use her work as a teaching tool just to me is like I think more filmmakers should maybe try that work because one, for young people to see the person to to to connect with the person who actually made the work that they're admiring. It really makes them it makes the the creation of the work tangible, you know, like this woman did it. I can maybe do it, too. But, you know, it seems like nothing was going to stop, Lois, that even our own husband, like, you know, she was just determined to create in spite of whatever obstacles were in her way and then, you know, become a great teacher.

Speaker A master teacher was just completely admirable.

Speaker Mm hmm. What parallels do you see between her career and yours? Hmm. Let me think for a second.

Speaker Do you feel like I definitely feel a connection to Lois and her career? I feel like one of the things I've had to do was to start a career as a filmmaker a little bit later in life and for her to start a career when no women were doing it. I definitely see parallels, but also the fact that she.

Speaker Should I stop, sorry?

Speaker If someone was to flush the toilet or something.

Speaker But to find out if this is a busy place.

Speaker Some of the parallels to.

Speaker I see some parallels between myself and Lois Weber. The fact that she started a career in filmmaking as a woman when no women were doing it, and while I have many or several women I can look to there, not many women who start a film career in their 40s.

Speaker And so I'm inspired by her determination to forge a career in spite of not having many examples. You know, I also admire Lois's determination to give back and help cultivate the next generation of storytellers. I was a teaching artist for many years, so I might be kind of flipping the script in that I consider myself a full time film director. But I always want to engage young people. I always want to demystify filmmaking for them. And so my goal is to make sure there's always like some of my former students on set going into schools and talking to young girls and, you know, just trying to ensure that there are less barriers between young people, young people of color, queer people, people who live on the margins and what they believe is possible. You know, sometimes when you see the example, it's it makes things that much clearer in that that much closer to you. And so I feel like Lois did that with her life. She was a living example of what was possible. And this is something that I also want to want to do with my career.

Speaker At one point, she was making a film a week, she was writing, acting and directing, editing a film every single week.

Speaker They were short. Yeah, but still, what do you think about the fact that Loess made a film a week?

Speaker Makes my spine shake, you know, like knowing what it takes to make a film, even a short film. The level of attention and focus is so impressive. But I feel like she again, maybe coming from that insatiable place of I need to make a story, I need to make more stories. And and I don't know if she was kind of chasing her own mortality. Like the more films I make, the bigger an arsenal. I know she ended up making two hundred or so three. She made 300 plus films in her career. And even though, you know, all of those films haven't survived, a portion has. And it probably speaks to like, you know, because she kept working at it. There's living proof that this person exists, that this person had a vision, that they had ideas.

Speaker I'm not going to make three hundred films. I don't think in my lifetime in the 30 or 40 summers that I have left, but.

Speaker Just what a fierce, like visionary, you know, that she would keep working at it and building on it and working in that medium as it changed, as it went from silent to talking films like she got to see that change and that probably inspired her to make to go even deeper, you know, but it's really impressive. And I I'm a who's making three hundred films, who has made three films in their lifetime. And she didn't start as a teenager, you know, so for her for her to have created so much work in her time, to employ as many people, to put as many stories on screen like it's so impressive and so inspiring.

Speaker You touched on this a little bit. If you could specifically answer this question.

Speaker So she she compared her films to Sermon's or knobbed in an editorial because she really believed that it was a vehicle through which to promote social change. Yes. Can you like do you agree with that? And what impact do you think?

Speaker I feel like. Hold on. I'm sorry. I just hearing a little bit here, almost an hour.

Speaker We don't have to rush off their questions, you're gonna ask it's fine. I've kind of warmed up a little bit.

Speaker Could you ask me that? Want to talk? So what who ever compare films to sermons or hotbeds in the newspaper? She always wanted them to have a point of view and social justice message. Yeah.

Speaker Um, do you agree with that film as a sermon or.

Speaker Yeah, I feel like in these days, in times, you know, film has become a really important platform to speak truth to power, you know, it's yes, it's a vehicle. It's a thing that entertains its audiences, but it also moves them, inspires them.

Speaker You know, I think about Ryan Cooler's when his first films was.

Speaker Stars Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station, yes, OK.

Speaker I think about Ryan Cooper's early film, Fruitvale Station, where this the story of the killing of Oscar Grant was told through film and he got to humanize this boy. And so that this wasn't just another person who's who's died at the hands of police brutality or a mistake. This was a human being. This was a father. And it was through that film that people got to know Oscar Grant's name.

Speaker So absolutely.

Speaker I feel like film has become one of the last great bastions of social commentary and, you know, free thought and and commentary on politics, on the different isms of the world.

Speaker So I I think that, you know, the fact that Lois used the medium not just to tell a story or to shine some light on her acting talent, but to really speak to what the people of that time were dealing with.

Speaker It was was bold, was brave, but like it made her an activist. And I think making films and making social commentary through film is probably the closest I would get to activism. But it is my brand of activism and it is a very powerful tool in media. So, you know, hats off to her for making that choice and to pushing for pushing to tell those kind of stories in that way.

Radha Blank
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"Radha Blank, Unladylike2020: The Changemakers." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 16 Mar. 2020,
(2020, March 16). Radha Blank, Unladylike2020: The Changemakers. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Radha Blank, Unladylike2020: The Changemakers." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). March 16, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2022


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