Jezebel Filmworks History
“With a strong family foundation of U.S. roots stemming from Louisiana and Texas, I have a firm appreciation and respect for culture, history, family, elders and youth — as exemplified in the personal independent projects and subject matter I select for Jezebel Filmworks to produce (outside of our diverse work-for-hire services that we do on any subject/topic). I learned early on to engage myself in projects that I am passionate about, those that resonate to me and speak to others.” -Ada M. Babino (Babineaux)
Ada M. Babino was inspired to start her own production company specializing in documentary work after her life-changing ‘guerilla-filmmaking-in-action’ experience with the production by renowned independent filmmaker Haile Gerima. His film titled Sankofa is about slavery & redemption and derives from an Akan word which means learning from the past. When she returned from her life-changing production voyages to Jamaica and Ghana in the early 90s, she founded Jezebel Filmworks to produce her own video projects. Her first independently production was Middle Passage -N- Roots, a half-hour docu-drama and the first in-depth study of black hair to air on a major cable network. It was broadcast on select PBS stations and the 1998 February Black Independent Showcase series on Showtime Networks. Since then, Jezebel has become a full service production company. Not only is she shepherding her own productions, she is serving individuals, businesses and organizations by helping them communicate their mission and stories through video. Jezebel also plays key and sup port roles in providing services to other companies by providing work as an assistant director, producer/editor (preditor), script writer, field producer, production manager and camera operator. Even Ada’s experience as a publicist and community film outreach planner/coordinator has added value, that helps other filmmakers exhibit and distribute their projects. Wanting to reach young minority filmmakers early, Ada developed an internship program within Jezebel. Students from local universities have benefited from the program in exchange for class credit.
Ada has also created Nommo Speakers Bureau which houses Blackfilmmakers.net a venue for visionaries to expose alternative independent film works to audiences and educational institutions around the world. The speaker’s bureau arranges bookings for dynamic speakers of color to speak, educate and empower the public about alternative voices, images with impact. Nommo means the magic power of the word. *Nommo is in the building stages with further development in the coming months…
Jezebel Filmwork’s mission is to create projects that inspire, empower, counter stereotypes, develop balanced images, bring relevant stories deemed irrelevant by gate-keepers in the powerful medium of video/film. Jezebel respects multi-culturalism and embraces diversity, and has no qualms about bringing the beauty of these elements back to film. Big or small we take pride in our productions and welcome new challenges.
THINGS THAT MAY YOU GO ‘HMMM’ ABOUT JEZEBEL:
The meaning of Jezebel is constantly evolving …
The mere mention of the word Jezebel brings up visions of a sexually immoral, shameless and promiscuous woman. In biblical times, Jezebel (lz-ba’al) was a Phoenician princess and later, queen to King Ahab of Israel. She was reputed to be a force to be reckoned with – the power behind the throne. The nobility of the name disappeared when Christian doctrine later defined her as a fallen woman, an evil heathen and a sinner. Believe it or not, Hannibal the Great, born around the middle of the third century BC, is a descendant of the famous queen. For all we know his genius as a military strategist may have been passed down her genetic line. The 1938 commercial film “Jezebel” featured Hollywood actress Betty Davis playing the role of a headstrong, spoiled southern belle. But the hypersexual identity of Jezebel never went away. Forty years later, filmmakers and writers wanting to convey the archetype, created alluring, lewd, exotic and seductive characters and for added emphasis directed Black women to those roles. It became the stereotypical go-to film role for Black women who had, since slavery, been carriers of this negative meaning in popular culture. But for a few exceptions, post 70s film culture has portrayed Black women as concubines, hypersexual whores and Jezebel’s newest incarnation, straight-up bad girls or video vixen. Jezebel Filmworks gives credence to the theory of Sankofa* and the relevance to stories beckoning to be told. The company redefines perceptions about this much-maligned archetype by returning Jezebel to her rightful place as an empowering multifaceted force that brings light and truth. Infotainment, education, music, culture, travel, adventure, and history continue to be peak areas of interest as we create socially and culturally uplifting content.
*Sankofa, from the region of Ghana, West Africa, an Akan word that means in order to move forward you must go back and study the past.