From Theta Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi – Theta Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi, the fraternity for artists, presents a virtual panel discussion featuring three North Carolina-based filmmakers. The event highlights panelists Leslie Cunningham, Rukiya Shanteel, and Kimberly Knight, who discussed both the art and the craft of their work. The artists’ projects involved a … Continue reading The Flavor of Filmmaking: Black Southern Filmmakers
JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana – A documentary film by Leslie Cunningham Brown skin showgirls, whites-only audiences, and the brave African American showman who left an extraordinary entertainment legacy despite the insurmountable odds against him and his dreams. Step right up, folks! The last remaining great troupers are finally telling their stories about … Continue reading CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY: Watch JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana
A documentary film series by Leslie Cunningham
Logline: The glorious legend of Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, a so-called Jig Show that endures racism, segregation and immigration laws to become popular in the 1940s through the 1960s. Read more at jigshow.com.
A short doc film by Leslie Cunningham. (2018, RT 11:42 min)
Logline: When Dina learns her real father passed away, she sets out on a cross country journey to meet three sisters she never met. Watch now.
A documentary film by Leslie Cunningham. (2012, RT 52 min)
Leslie Cunningham is an artist, writer, documentary filmmaker, and owner of TRIBES Entertainment, a boutique digital media company based in Durham, North Carolina known creating daring and entertaining narratives through a variety of digital platforms.
A raconteur with a journalistic background, Leslie created TRIBES Magazine in 2004 as artists across the Triangle area of North Carolina were calling out for a voice. Her popular show TRIBES TV covered North Carolina arts and community events and aired on public television stations, including Durham Community Media and The People’s Channel in Chapel Hill, NC. A public broadcasting hit, TRIBES TV spread Leslie’s reputation as a local media institution to citizens around the Triangle.
Leslie is a graduate of the documentary arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in Durham, NC. Her collection of engaging documentary film have screened on public television, online and at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally.
Leslie’s first feature film, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl, in 2012. M.I. was selected for The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Atlanta’s Out On Film, Gender Reel Film Festival in 2012, and ended its festival tour in 2016 at Massimadi, the LGBT Film Festival of Africa and its Diasporas.
Leslie’s latest film, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, is a three-part educational documentary about her grandfather’s popular traveling revue that significantly impacted Black entertainment in the mid-20th century. JIG SHOW, was selected for sponsorship and funding from The Southern Documentary Fund, ITVS’ Diversity Development Fund, Cucalorus’ Work in Progress Program, The Sundance New Frontier Lab, and Filmed in NC. The film is part of a larger multimedia documentary project called The Harlem in Havana Project in which aims to revive the show’s rich burlesque history.
Leslie is a member of the Gamma Xi Phi fraternity for artists and creators committed to service to the arts and brotherhood among all artists; Film Fatales, a non-profit which advocates for parity in the entertainment industry and supports women directors; Brown Girls Doc Mafia, an initiative advocating for women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry; and, Soka Gakkai International, Buddhists in action for peace.
“Yo Amo Cuba” Series
In 2018, Leslie traveled to Havana, Cuba and captured photographs in the vibrant city. In her art photography series, “Yo Amo Cuba”, Leslie experiments with the pop art technique as a way to call attention to her subjects. The art photography series includes the following: