Dive into our Q&A with director Numa Perrier, as she tells us about her film Jezebel, which made its world premiere in the Visions screening section at SXSW 2019. Explore why this story was essential for her to share and why she chose SXSW to make her directorial debut.
Interview with Numa Perrier
In your own words, what does this film mean to you?
Numa Perrier: Jezebel is a gift to me and my sister, and to all sisters who had to be a gateway to each other for permissiveness around sexuality, survival, and becoming a woman.
What motivated you to tell this story?
NP: The short form of this script sat in a drawer for years — it began to nag at me — after many collaborations I felt compelled to present my own signature. This is largely my true story and I felt ready as an artist and a woman to face it and express it.
What do you want the audience to take away?
NP: I'm excited to raise questions around agency vs. exploitation. I'm thrilled to explore the politics of pleasure while presenting black female sensuality.
What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?
NP: Reading a parenting plan! I was handling very important domestic business pertaining to my daughter. I refreshed my email and there was the invitation. I immediately said "NO — this isn't real" and I refreshed again. "Hmm — still there." I started pacing. I was absolutely speechless. Then I called the star — Tiffany [Tenille] and it took me forever to get the words out. Then we cried. It was the relief that now the film will have the platform and opportunities that I've always desired.
What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?
NP: SXSW remains committed to emerging talents and I love that there are so many worlds that come together at SX. Music, tech, gaming, films — incredible speakers and activists — so many intersections. I love it. And it's Austin. Austin is great.
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World Premiere of Jezebel - Photo by Kit McNeil