SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Anatomy of Wings is a fascinating social experiment that presents an inside look and experience that begins with a group of ten inner-city black middle school girls filmed over a ten-year period. Through the guidance of co-directors Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander and Nikiea Redmond, there is a profound understanding of what started as an after-school program becoming a life-long support system.
Set in Baltimore City, the Wings Video Skills 2008 after-school film project follows Brittany Backmon, Teshavionna “Tazz” Mitchell, Sheila Butler, Brienna Brown, Marquise Weems, Danisha Harris, Cami McCrief, Quandra Jones, Tywana Reid, and Quanisha Carmichael, as they come of age and eventually become mothers and members of society. Hailing from Baltimore ghettos, these young women have all the odds stacked against them, and they know this.
“…a group of ten inner-city black middle school girls filmed over a ten-year period.”
When we meet the group, they are on the verge of graduating from Dunbar Middle School and plan to enter high school. For many in Baltimore, this is the last graduation in their lives. However, Wings not only gives them a purpose and direction, but it also offers them a goal to continue with sights set on life beyond high school.
Worrying about becoming pregnant and raising a child in high school, HIV, a hostile home life, parents who are not reliable, men who are often killed, money, housing, and all the blights of Baltimore’s ghettos, along with racial inequality, these women persevere. Regularly meeting at the Maryland Institute of College of Art, they learn to use and care for camera and microphone equipment, as well as how to gather in a safe space. In a sense, we meet these women as they are leaving their childhood.
"…must have been a Herculean project to edit..."