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Dope Women in Media Exhibition brings together AAFF, the Ann Arbor Art Center and the Ann Arbor District Library to Honor Women Filmmakers in Detroit

March 3, 2024

Curated by Laura D. Gibson and presented in partnership with the Ann Arbor Art Center,  Dope Women in Media: Honoring the Women of Film in Metro Detroit is a multimedia exhibition that recognizes the work of seven women artists from greater Detroit who work in film, video, photography, and new media, sharing their research of, contributions to, and impact on contemporary art and popular culture. Viewers can experience innovative, experimental filmmaking and storytelling by Veyda DeAgro-Ruopp, Katy Dresner, Bree Grant, dream hampton, Kate Levy, Shanae M. Pruitt, and Ozi Uduma.  

Wend by Bree Grant, 2-channel digital video projection (detail)

The exhibition at the Ann Arbor Art Center (117 West Liberty Street) runs March 11 through April 6 with an A2AC reception on Friday, March 22 (6-8pm) and an AAFF reception and panel discussion during the festival on Thursday, March 28 (3-5pm) at A2AC.  The exhibition and both receptions are free and open to the public. 

This Friday, March 8 (5-7 pm) the downtown Ann Arbor District Library will present, in partnership with AAFF and A2AC as part of the Dope Women In Media exhibition, a screening of the 1987 film Who Killed Vincent Chin?, which received an Oscar nomination for best documentary feature. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s executive producer Juanita Anderson and multimedia artist Chien An-Yuan.  This event is free and open to the public. 

Dope Women in Media: Honoring the Women of Film in Metro Detroit

Curated by Laura D. Gibson

Laura D. Gibson is a visual and lens-based media artist, independent curator, and creative project manager in the city of Detroit. Gibson is the recipient of the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award, the Redmond Design Prize from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a 2023–2024 Flourish Fund grant, and a “Pay-It-Forward” grant from the Modern Ancient Brown Foundation, where she was also awarded an artist residency. 

The exhibition includes:

Wash Your Hair

Veyda DeAgro-Ruopp

Detroit, MI | 2023 | digital

A short experimental film prompted by Yoko Ono’s Touch Poem No. 3.

Veyda DeAgro-Ruopp is an artist of multiple mediums and creator of ideas, stories, and things. They are currently taking a year off from studying filmmaking at the College for Creative Studies to study psychology at the University of Michigan.


Katy Dresner

Detroit, MI | 2024 | video installation 

dataShroud is a multi-channel video and textile installation which invites viewers to examine the accumulation and commodification of digital data as it relates to their sense of self within and beyond the digital world. This personal data, which is routinely collected, monetized, and aggregated by third parties, renders reductive portraits of ourselves used to define us as consumers. dataShroud resists the notion that an accumulation of data can effectively portray the multitudes and nuances of our identities. 

Katy Dresner is an award-winning filmmaker and new media artist based in Detroit, MI. Dresner is known for their non-linear, experimental storytelling style across a range of narrative, documentary, and installation-based work.


Bree Gant 

Detroit, MI | 2022 | 2-channel digital video projection

Wend compiles seven years of autoethnographic movement studies, looping through seasons in a filmic essay on temporality, interiority, and everyday ritual.

Bree Gant is a video, performance, and installation artist from Detroit who uses ritual and gesture to remark on workings of power in everyday life. Their residencies and fellowships include the Surf Point Foundation, the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, and Kresge Arts in Detroit. They studied film at Howard University and are pursuing an MFA at Northwestern University.


dream hampton

Detroit, MI | 2022 | film

Freshwater is a portrait of remembrance, of flooded Midwestern basements and maintaining connection in the wake of ongoing displacement, abandonment, and climate catastrophe. This film was meant to be small in every way—lingering shots that seem like photographs until the wind blows a leaf or a raindrop disturbs a puddle. Similarly, the intentionally small production was meant to be healing. It was a retreat into a cadre of a like-minded community of Detroit artists after working on three projects at major studios. I made Freshwater to remind myself I’m an artist, but also to reinforce the principle and  power behind small, local organizing. 

dream hampton is an award-winning filmmaker and writer from Detroit. Her works include the award-winning short film Freshwater (2023) and Ladies First (2023), and the Emmy-nominated Surviving R. Kelly (2019), which broke ratings records and earned her a Peabody Award. In 2019, hampton was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Hear/Say See/Saw (Detroit Will Breathe)

Kate Levy

Detroit, MI | 2020-2021 | video

This work contains moving portraits from a film produced as part of a lawsuit against the city of Detroit, filed by protesters after police inflicted horrific violence against them.

The Haunting of Michigan Central Station

Shanae M. Pruitt

Detroit, MI | 2021 | 360-degree video

Young seamstress Marguerette Hamilton falls in love at first sight with Oscar Jacobs, a World War II soldier. Separated by the war, the couple maintain their bond by exchanging love letters. However, when Oscar’s letters suddenly cease and rumors of his infidelity begin to circulate, Marguerette turns to dark forces to exact her revenge upon her former love, resulting in tragedy and the haunting of Michigan Central Station.

Shanae M. Pruitt is a writer and award-winning novice filmmaker from Detroit, Michigan. She earned a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and an MA in Communication Studies from Wayne State University.

Detroit We Dey

Ozi Uduma 

Detroit, MI | 2023 | video

Detroit We Dey examines the history of Detroit social clubs that were founded by a community of Igbo-Nigerians in the ’70s and ’80s, questioning how the next generation will carry its traditions into the future. 

Ozi Uduma was born and raised in Detroit, MI, and is of Nigerian descent. Uduma’s love of art and culture is inspired by her appreciation for the brilliance and ingenuity of Black people all over the globe. 

About the Ann Arbor Film Festival

Founded in 1963, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the oldest independent and experimental film festival in North America and is internationally recognized as a premier forum for film as an art form. For the 62nd Festival, AAFF received 2,971 film submissions from 92 countries and serves as one of a handful of Academy Award–qualifying festivals in the United States. The AAFF is a pioneer of the traveling film festival tour, and each year AAFF touring programs are presented in dozens of theaters, universities, museums, and micro cinemas around the world. The 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival will take place in person March 26-31, 2024 (online March 26 - April 7), presenting 110 films in competition. For more information, please visit, and be sure to join AAFF on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube.

Major AAFF Sponsors and Partners

AAFF gratefully acknowledges funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, which encourages, initiates, and facilitates an enriched artistic cultural and creative environment in Michigan; the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation; Current Magazine, a premier source for all things culture in Ann Arbor; Destination Ann Arbor, enhancing the economy of the Ann Arbor area, and Washtenaw County in general, through the promotion of the area as a destination for day and overnight visitors; Detroit Public Television, which educates, engages, entertains, and inspires through the power of public media in a diverse and  connected community;  Office Evolution Ann Arbor, providing home-based businesses and remote professionals with private offices, conference rooms, co-working space and virtual business services; Sava’s, a  restaurant catering to a fusion of clientele looking to enjoy one of the Ann Arbor’s most beloved restaurants and memorable dining experiences; the University of Michigan Arts Initiative, which seeks to illuminate and expand human connections, inspire collaborative creativity, and build a more just and equitable world through the arts; and the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design, a place for students to form an innovative, friendly community and apply their creative skills to solve global issues.


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