Most filmmakers spend years striving to get their movies made. Tracey Anarella G.O. ’81, meanwhile, struck gold with her very first feature film, “Not Black Enough.”
The film explores the idea that some black people are not deemed “black enough” by their African-American peers, says Anarella, a black woman who has experienced that struggle firsthand.
The film explores that self-imposed struggle in the black community. “You have to talk a certain way, you have to marry a certain way. It’s this challenge that has existed for a long time. And it’s still quite pervasive in the black community.”
Anarella interviewed Vanessa Williams, Henry Louis Gates, rapper Petey Pablo and nearly 50 others for the film, which has enlivened audiences at film festivals from Hollywood to Paris. The film will show at festivals throughout the fall. Anarella is deep in the throes of another film, too, a documentary about James Taylor’s brother, singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor.
Anarella is an anomaly in Hollywood. She didn’t go to film school. Instead, she enrolled in a workshop to learn how to make films.
The film she made in that workshop, “Jesse and the Fountain of Youth,” earned entry into 26 film festivals, garnered several accolades and has a distributor. Anarella’s next turn at filmmaking, “Brooklyn United,” a film about an inner-city marching band and its director, went to the Cannes Short Corner.
“For a while I was very insecure about what I didn’t know,” Anarella says. “But my age outweighed that insecurity, and now that insecurity is gone. I’m just thinking about my projects. I’m so proud of my hard work. It’s finally paying off.”