Integrated Search Menu

C.A. Griffith

Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2002
Biography: 

C.A. Griffith is an award-winning filmmaker with more than three decades of film production experience. Trained in New York’s independent film community, Griffith’s credits include the feature film Juice starring Tupac Shakur, PBS and BBC documentaries such as A Litany For Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (cinematographer), D.A. Pennebaker’s Branford Marsalis: The Music Tells You (camera operator) and Depeche Mode 101 (1st AC), Eyes on the Prize I & II,  St. Clair Bourne’s Making ‘Do the Right Thing’ and music videos from Tracy Chapman and Public Enemy to The Rolling Stones. As director, Griffith’s credits include the award-winning documentary Mountains That Take Wing—Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama and her dramatic feature debut, Del Otro Lado (The Other Side), a Spanish language, gay male film that was shot on location in Mexico City. Her screenplays have made the finals of the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs and won a top award from the Latino Screenplay Competition.

Griffith’s publications appear in Filming Difference, Black Feminist Cultural Criticism, Black Women Film and Video Artists, The Wild Good, the journals Meridians, Signs and Calyx.

She and H.L.T. Quan (Associate Professor, School of Social Transformation) are co-founders of QUAD Productions, 501(c)3. Griffith and Quan have co-directed, co-produced, and co-edited more than a dozen short and feature length, socially relevant documentaries including three films completed during postproduction residency awards at Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Studio (“Art & Tech”) program: Mountains That Take Wing—Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama: A Conversation on Life, Struggles & Liberation, (2009—97 min, Women Make Movies), América’s Home (2014—Puerto Rico, 63 min) and Bad Form: Queer, Broke & Amazing! (2021—90 min). Find out more about her work on QUAD Productions's website and newly launched YouTube Channel: http://www.quadproductions.org and  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMHwnf6BiqvBPBROfI-yILA?disable_polymer...

In November 2019, Griffith and Quan were honored to have Mountains That Take Wing screen as one of eight films selected for Picture Lock: 30 Years of Film/Video Residencies at the Wexner Center for the Arts. See: https://wexarts.org/explore/picture-lock-30-years-film-video-residencies

Education: 
  • M.F.A. University of California-Santa Barbara
  • B.A. Stanford University
Videos
Research Interests: 
  • Social, Enviromental and Economic Justice Themed Cinema, Fiction and Essays
  • Documentary, Fictional and Mixed Genre Narratives
  • Race, Class, Gender and Culture
  • Independent and Foreign Cinema
  • African-American, Latinx and LGBTQ+ Cinema
  • Women of Color as Cultural Producers
  • Documentary and Urban/Natural Landscape Photography
Publications: 

Please visit Professor Griffith's production website and newly-launched YouTube channel for more information about her and her media related work: http://www.quadproductions.org and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMHwnf6BiqvBPBROfI-yILA

Her award-winning film, Mountains That Take Wing, covers over 100 years of social movement history and the ways ordinary people have done extraordinary things in the face of extreme hatred and injustice. For nearly a decade, it headlined the Women Make Movies special collection, EXTRAORDINARY AMERICAN WOMEN, ORDINARY LIVES and continues to be featured at film screenings and events around the globe.

Mountains That Take Wing (2009, 97 minutes). Thirteen years, two radical activist all-stars-one conversation. Internationally renowned scholar, professor and writer Angela Davis and 89-year-old grassroots organizer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yuri Kochiyama spent over a decade conversing intimately about personal histories and influences that shaped them and their overlapping experiences. Mountains That Take Wing offers the gift of these two remarkable women’s lives, sharing the pair’s recorded exchanges in 1996 and 2008. The film’s unique format honors the scope and depth of their knowledge on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and Japanese American internment camps, to Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s and gay liberation movements, to today’s campaigns for political prisoners and prison reform. Intercut with compelling period footage, Davis and Kochiyama’s cogent observations, keen analyses, and steadfast resolve to create a more equitable, humane world offer inspiring lessons in empowerment and community building for current and future generations.

América's Home (2014, 63 minutes). Before Hurricane Maria lacerated Puerto Rico, América “Meca” Sorrentini-Blaut, a septuagenarian on fixed income, struggled to transform her family’s home into Casa Sofia, a cultural center named after her mother. When developers offered Meca $2-million dollars to knock down Casa Sofia, she turned them down. Meca, her contemporaries and young people in a dozen communities across rapidly gentrifying San Juan fought, and sometimes won, to save their homes and neighborhoods from being bulldozed and disappeared by condo and hotel developers. América’s Home is an enchanting panorama of the transformative power of the cultural arts, community and belonging. It is a testament to the resilience of the Puerto Rican people on the island and in Chicago. 

Bad Form: Queer, Broke & Amazing! (2021, 90 minutes) refreshingly challenges the myth of gay affluence and reveals an extraordinary world of resilient, economically struggling LGBT people and allies in the Deep South, Southwest, Navajo Nation and queer, coastal Meccas of the U.S. who are surviving, thriving, and trying to get everyone free. Featuring nearly 100 interviews, including Angela Y. Davis, Barbara Smith, Clair Farley, Arthur Áviles, Monica Jones, Kenyon Farrow and Mary Hooks, this stunning cacophony illuminates a universal truth about poverty: Poor LGBT might be broke, but they are far from broken. In fact, they are amazing! And, their insights might just lead all of us in the direction of freedom.

Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 300Focus on Film
FMP 350Directing Documentary Media
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 394Special Topics
THF 497Senior Project
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 300Focus on Film
FMP 394Special Topics
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 300Focus on Film
FMP 394Special Topics
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 300Focus on Film
FMP 394Special Topics
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 300Focus on Film
FMP 481Film Production Capstone II
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 394Special Topics
FMP 481Film Production Capstone II
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 394Special Topics
FMP 481Film Production Capstone II
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
FMP 394Special Topics
FMP 481Film Production Capstone II
THF 497Senior Project
FMP 499Individualized Instruction