“Writer-director-educator-photographer, Laurie Townshend credits her mantra, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé” for her ability to make films that matter while successfully lobbying her 8th graders for “Coolest Teacher” nods.
With a thematic lens aimed squarely on acts of courage made visible through crisis, The Railpath Hero (2013) features a spellbinding performance by TIFF Rising Star, Stephan James (Selma, Race, If Beale Street Could Talk), in a story about the threads of resilience that hold a young athlete’s life together in the wake of childhood sexual abuse. Laurie’s take on human connectedness is explored online, in documentary series Human Frequency Streetdocs (2014). Award-winning Charley (2016) connects the work of late civil rights activist Charles Roach to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Currently, Laurie is in production on Mothering in the Movement (2022), a coming-of-middle-age saga that follows Staceyann Chin, Brooklyn’s most outspoken poet-activist and poster-mom for radical Black parenting as she raises her daughter Zuri, while investigating the past of her own mother who abandoned her as an infant. Through Staceyann’s efforts to raise an empowered Black child and heal her own childhood wounds, this film explores the ways Black women have learned to mother their children, their communities, and ultimately themselves.”