Tracy Heather Strain, Faculty Fellow

"I am excited to engage in community building with a diverse set of storytellers and thinkers committed to antiracism goals and civic engagement because it is something I’ve craved since I ended my tenure at Blackside after the death of its founder Henry Hampton."

Tracy Heather Strain, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies and Associate Professor of Film Studies at Wesleyan University, is a two-time Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated filmmaker who explores stories about the ways diverse peoples have experienced life in the United States. Strain is a 2022 recipient of the Chicken and Egg Award, a recognition bestowed on advanced-career women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. In 2019 she won an NAACP Image Award for Motion Picture Directing for “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and aired on American Masters.

Her directing debut, “Bright Like a Sun” and “The Dream Keepers,” in Blackside’s series I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African American Arts, “leaps off the screen” noted The New York Times, and The Hollywood Reporter praised her first film for American Experience, “Building the Alaska Highway,” as “dynamic” and “truly great storytelling.” Other credits include Race: The Power of an Illusion and Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?.

Co-founder and president of The Film Posse, Strain also serves as Associate Director of Wesleyan’s College of Film and the Moving Image, and with her partner and colleague Randall M. MacLowry '86, Assistant Professor of the Practice in Film Studies, co-directs the Wesleyan Documentary Project. Their film “American Oz” for American Experience premiered in April 2021, and together they are developing films about Zora Neale Hurston, John Henry and Survival Floating, Strain’s hybrid personal meditation on African-descended peoples’ relationships with swimming. Strain is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Photo by Joel Benjamin.