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June 2011 Filmmaker of the Month - Ada Babino

Ada Babino

Ada M. Babino is a producer, director and writer with more than twenty years experience in video and film production. In the early nineties, she founded Jezebel Filmworks, a production service company that served as the impetus for her independently produced half-hour docu-drama entitled Middle Passage -N- Roots. This video originally shot on 16mm film and explores the diverse opinions, identity concerns, and styles of black hair. It was selected as part of Showtime Network’s 1998 Black Filmmaker’s showcase.

She has worked in a variety of roles over the years as a free-lance video technician, production manager, assistant director, field producer, publicist and events planner. As a producer-for-hire, she has produced video for a number of local production companies and organizations such as: Paul Wagner Productions, Rubicon Productions, Billo Communications, Larry, Ink Ltd., Maslow Media, US Customs, New Millennium Studios, The Women’s Bar Association, ZGS Communications, the Fannie Mae Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Through Jezebel Filmworks, she was commissioned to produce two specials, Blues & Dreams and Romare Bearden: The Main Ingredients, which aired on Black Entertainment Television in 2003. She also worked as a Special Projects Producer at Black Entertainment Television’s cable jazz channel, BET On Jazz from 1997-2001. Her documentary on jazz legend Shirley Horn entitled Shirley Horn: Sassared & Blowed was awarded an honorable mention at the 1999 National Black Programming Consortium’s 18th Annual Prized Pieces Awards.

As a freelance producer, Babino produced an In The Spirit segment for HARPO Production’s Oprah Winfrey Show. She also served as an associate producer for the first season of Black Entertainment Television’s daily entertainment magazine preview show, Screen Scene. Her independent film experience began in the mid-eighties working through the ranks as a production coordinator to the line producer for the highly acclaimed film, Sankofa, and publicist during its 1994-95 national limited commercial release.

Babino is the founder of BlackFilmMakers.net, a web site designed to connect independent filmmakers and fans worldwide, and expose audiences to workshops and film programming and exhibition outlets. She programmed a film exhibition series entitled Griot Cinema, which presented independent showcases in the heart of Washington, DC. Her booking agency, Nommo Speaker’s Bureau books a range of Black independent filmmakers for speaking engagements at educational institutions around the world. Notable veteran clients include: Haile Gerima, Charles Burnett, Euzhan Palcy and Raoul Peck.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Babino received a Master’s degree from American University in 2010. She also received a degree in Broadcast Production from Howard University’s School of Communications in 1986. Other personal works include: a short video entitled Eracism, Anticipation a Video Vignette, which aired on local cable channel DCTV. She is currently in post-production with a documentary about her Louisiana grandparents entitled I Don’ Been Through The Snake’s Skin and Come Out Clean.

Babino is a triple recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Grant-In-Aid award, the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Grant, and the National Black Programming Consortium Grant. She has served as a grant panelist for the DCCAH multi-discipline award, and the NBPC’s Prize Pieces Awards.

Film and Video Works:

  • Middle Passage –N- Roots (:30/ color/1995/V)
  • Shirley Horn: Sassared & Blowed (for BET :45/1999/V)
  • Blues & Dreams (for BET – 57:20/2004/V)
  • Anticipation (:10/color/1988/V)
  • Eracism (:05/short/2006/V)
  • I Don’ Been Through The Snake’s Skin and Come Out Clean (:56/2010/V)

Middle Passage –N- Roots is distributed on: www.sankofa.com, www.twn.org, and www.urbanmedia.net. You can view a snippet of the video here.

Visit our Previously Featured Filmmakers to see more Filmmakers of the Month.