Lightbox, along with Jeff Friday Media, is making a new HBO feature documentary about the life of pioneering black super model, Donyale Luna.

Donyale Luna was one of the first Black supermodels and graced the covers of both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in Europe. The film is directed by Nailah Jefferson (Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache).

Born Peggy Anne Freeman in Detroit, Donyale Luna went on to revolutionise the fashion industry as one of the world’s first Black supermodels during the 1960s and 1970s. During her modeling career, she would become the muse of some of the foremost photographers of the 20th century.

“It’s a dream to tell the story of Donyale Luna – an iconic woman whose legacy and magic deserve celebration,” said director Nailah Jefferson. “Black women’s historical contributions have often been forgotten and distorted. I’m honored to have the opportunity to uplift Donyale’s story and finally celebrate her brilliance.”

“Donyale Luna opened doors for other models of color into an industry which has largely excluded them,” said Lightbox co-founders Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. “We are thrilled to partner with Nailah to bring a fresh perspective on an enigmatic figure.”

“We are very pleased to continue this partnership with Lightbox and HBO Documentary Films. It empowers newcomers with the access and ability to share their stories with the world,” added Jeff Friday, CEO of Jeff Friday Media and ABFF Founder.

“My father and I are proud and eager to share Donyale’s inspiring and authentic journey as well as what her avant-guard spirit meant for the world,” commented Luna’s daughter Dream Cazzaniga.

The film is the second project from the initiative created jointly by Lightbox and American Black Film Festival to foster diversity in documentary filmmaking and discover and support emerging African American directing talent. It follows the critically acclaimed HBO documentary “Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn,” directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad. 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of HBO’s partnership and sponsorship of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).

The documentary is an HBO Documentary Films and Lightbox production in association with Jeff Friday Media and The American Black Film Festival. It is directed by Nailah Jefferson, produced by Melissa Kramer and Isoul Hussein Harris, and co-produced by Melanie Sharee. The executive producers are Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, and Jeff Friday.

Jon Creamer

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