You Go Girl!
Director: Shariffa Ali
United States, 2021, 12 min
Crew:Writers: Shariffa Ali, Courtney Williams, Kamilah Long, David Zheng. Producers: Adrian Alea, Courtney Williams, Kamilah Long. Executive Producers: Adrian Alea, Shariffa Ali, Nataki Garrett
Audrey, a New York City comedian who can make a joke of any situation, faces a staggering challenge in the beautiful mountains of Oregon. Can this city woman overcome her fears and rise?
About the director
Shariffa Chelimo Ali is an international creative leader committed to advancing change through the power of art and activism. She works across disciplines directing films, virtual reality experiences, and plays, moving audiences to engage with timely issues touching upon Black, Afropolitan, and African American identities.
Originally from Kenya and raised in South Africa, Shariffa took the giant leap from home to Pittsburgh as a guest director commissioned by the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in the Spring of 2013.
Shariffa spent over five years working at the Public Theater where she served in numerous capacities, often piloting new roles that serve her interest in curating spaces of radical hospitality, equity, inclusion, diversity and promoting anti-racism throughout the institution. Shariffa's time at the Public Theater was hugely influential on her artistic practice which favors building deep and longitudinal relationships with collaborators over transactions.
Shariffa has lectured and directed at NYU, Brooklyn College, Yale, and Princeton, her student productions have brought many "firsts" to campuses: "first all-female cast and creative team" for her production of Zimbabwean-born Danai Gurira's ECLIPSED at Princeton; "first all-black ensemble with a director of color" for her production of Dominique Morisseau's DETROIT67; "best attended show" for her production of WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT... at Yale. Shariffa is currently a resident artist at the University of Miami as well as a faculty member at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts, where she teaches Intro to the Arts, Afrofuturism and South African Protest theatre.
Shariffas forthcoming VR project ATOMU took home top honors at the inaugural Digital Lab Africa Competition and made its debut at the Sundance International Film Festival in 2020. ATOMU which draws from ancient Kikuyu mythology and LGBTQ rights has since received global interest, development and incubation at the Sundance institute, Utah, Royal National Theatre, UK and POV Spark.
Fall of 2018 marked Shariffa's regional theater directorial debut at Pittsburgh Public Theatre, followed by a world premiere of Karen Zacharias' THE COPPER CHILDREN at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). 2019 saw Shariffa's Off-Broadway directorial debut where she helmed a Yaël Farber's MIES JULIE with Classic Stage Company to rave reviews.
In 2020 Shariffa was named Artist in Residence at OSF, the largest repertory theatre in the US where she made her first short film entitled ASH LAND featuring an original new song PUSH FOR ME by Black Thought, lead MC of The Roots. Shariffa is currently in post-production for her second short film YOU GO GIRL!
In addition to her work as a director, Shariffa maintains her commitment to activism as a community organizer. She is the creator and lead facilitator of ALARM (Artist Lead Anti-Racism Movement) workshops which she has hosted at performing arts organizations, businesses and universities throughout the country.
Shariffa's commitment working with an open heart at the intersection of humanitarianism and performance coupled with her affinity for developing rich interdisciplinary work has seen collaborations with a wide array of individuals including visual artists, hair-braiders, refugees, dancers among many more.
This film began as a love letter to my mom – all her passion, quirks, and resilience. Throughout the Pandemic, it has morphed into therapy. Black women are fierce. We care for each other deeply. We belong everywhere. Amid such trying times, YOU GO GIRL! is an affirmation for us – less an escape into the outdoors and more a spiritual journey to celebrate our Black mothers. My hope is that everyone may use Audrey’s humor as medicine. Relish the peace and beauty of Nature. Embrace joy through heartbreak. Let this film be an elixir of healing.