An independent filmmaker, film advocate and co-producer of the highly acclaimed film Sankofa, Shirikiana has been dedicated to independent cinema by, for and about people of African descent for over twenty-five years providing programming, distribution and exhibition of indie films. Initially a cinematographer, her interest turned to producing and directing. She has also worked as a cinematographer for various documentaries such as Politics of African Cinema and On Becoming a Woman. Her documentaries include: Through the Door of No Return, Brick-By-Brick and a work-in- progress on Kwame Toure, also known as Stokely Carmichael. Carmichael a former chairperson/member of SNCC, and the Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party (BPP) in 1968, popularized the term "Black Power" during the Civil Rights movement. He spent 30 years in the All African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
In 1984, Aina and her husband award-winning independent filmmaker Haile Gerima established Mypheduh Films, Inc., a distribution company for independent, African and African American films. She is also a co-founder of Positive Productions, Inc., a non-profit film organization that provides film services, equipment and editing facilities to independent filmmakers. This organization has helped independent filmmakers move in positive directions carved out through their own agency, supplying them with the catalysts and resources necessary to create and distribute films. Film projects, exhibitions, and training programs primarily target artists, youth and aspiring artists of color across the United States and abroad.
Aina has taught courses in the past at her alma mater Howard University in scriptwriting and film production. This mother of six is a native of Detroit, MI and has been a resident of DC for more than 30 years. Shirikiana and her husband own Sankofa Video & Bookstore on Georgia Avenue, NW in Washington, D.C.
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