The Afterlives of Kathleen Collins
A Black Woman Filmmaker's Search for New Life
Published by: Indiana University Press
An absorbing portrait of a groundbreaking Black woman filmmaker.
Kathleen Collins (1942–88) was a visionary and influential Black filmmaker. Beginning with her short film The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy and her feature film Losing Ground, Collins explored new dimensions of what narrative film could and should do. However, her achievements in filmmaking were part of a greater life project. In this critically imaginative study of Collins, L.H. Stallings narrates how Collins, as a Black woman writer and filmmaker, sought to change the definition of life and living.
The Afterlives of Kathleen Collins: A Black Woman Filmmaker's Search for New Life explores the global significance and futurist implications of filmmaker and writer Kathleen Collins. In addition to her two films, Stallings examines the broad and expansive and varying forms of writing produced by Collins during her short life time. The Afterlives of Kathleen Collins showcases how Collins used filmmaking, writing, and teaching to assert herself as a poly-creative dedicated to asking and answering difficult philosophical questions about human being and living. Interrogating the ideological foundation of life-writing and cinematic life-writing as they intersect with race and gender, Stallings intervenes on the delimited concepts of life and Black being that impeded wider access, distribution, and production of Collins's personal, cinematic, literary, and theatrical works.
The Afterlives of Kathleen Collins definitively emphasizes the evolution of film and film studies that Collins makes possible for current and future generations of filmmakers.
1. She Liked Writing
2. Love, a Crisis of Possession
Life of the Mind
3. Fifth Dimension Cinema
4. Cinematic Marronage
5. Black Feminist Poethics of Cancer
Conclusion: Dreams No Longer Deferred
An essential addition to monographs on black independent filmmakers who emerged from the 1960s Civil Rights movement, such as Charles Burnett and Julie Dash, as well as woman film artists in general.~Tama Lynne Hamilton-Wray, coeditor of New Frontiers in the Study of the Global African Diaspora: Between Uncharted Themes and Alternative Representations
L.H. Stallings' Afterlives of Kathleen Collins explores the life, life's work, and posthumous significance of Kathleen Collins as a filmmaker. This monograph masterfully weaves together biopic, speculative fiction, film theory and archival film study to uncover Collins at the forefront of black women's filmmaking. Where much of the scholarship on black film—fiction and nonfiction—focuses on masculinists works and directors, Stallings work is groundbreaking in that it treats the body (and afterlife) of a black woman's work with a critical attention we have yet to see.~Jasmine Cobb, author of Picture Freedom: Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century
An indispensable contribution to Black film studies, L. H. Stallings' incisive and revelatory book is a stunning meditation on the work, life, career, and legacy of Kathleen Collins. Brilliantly moving us beyond the limits of a traditional biography or auteur study, her concept of "afterlife-writing" explores the multifaced and formidable Collins in a compelling, nuanced, and cohesive fashion while simultaneously attending to the anteriority of Black film and visuality. With its speculative approach to Collins' work, Stalling's book models a way to engage the aesthetics, artistry, and afterlives of Black women who, like Collins, are enigmatic and emblematic visionaries of Black life and freedom.~Samantha N. Sheppard, Cornell University
L.H. Stallings presents us with a formidable intervention in scholarship about Black film in this intimate study of the life and work of late filmmaker Kathleen Collins. Deftly weaving through ideas about authorship, form, and politics, Stallings innovates the brilliant concept of "afterlives" in place of biography, impressively capturing Collins's brilliance while simultaneously honoring the filmmaker's own ideologies and aesthetics. By treating Collins's life and art not as past objects to be unearthed, but rather, as living texts with reverberating possibilities across time, Stallings offers us a dazzling example of how we might begin to understand the beautiful complexity of Black women's creative production.~Racquel Gates, Author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture