Like Dolls, I’ll Rise

Short documentary written and directed by Nora Philippe
28 minutes – France/USA – English – color and black and white – 2018
Production: Les films de l’air, Station to Station Projects. With the partnership of La maison rouge
Visa d’exploitation n°148784. DCP-BR-Digital file – DVD


200 one-of-a-kind Black dolls, a work of powerful original poetry, and never-before seen archival materials combine to tell a remarkable story of love, survival, and identity.

“From the 1840s until the 1940s, anonymous Afro-American women made rag dolls for their own children or for the white children they were looking after. Black, injured, forgotten and magnificent dolls, gathered together over the years in Debbie Neff’s collection, here lend their moving expressive features to the women that a century of slavery, segregation and racism tried to silence. Far from being the mute witnesses of their suffering, dreams and courage, these objects haunted by so many stories become, for the length of this film, the intermediaries of a discourse of self-affirmation and liberation. From Sojourner Truth to Maya Angelou, Like Dolls, I’ll Rise is inhabited by the voices of these women, writers, poets, activists, who brought the history of black America, and that of the long-ignored women, out of the shadows. The faces, in flesh and in canvas, revealed to us by Nora Philippe, are then no longer ghosts looming out of the past but figures of resistance, also meaningful in today’s Afro-feminist struggles.» Céline Guénot, Visions du réel, 2018

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Aide après Réalisation (Prime à la qualité) CNC, France, 2019
CALCUTTA FILM FESTIVAL, India, Women’s Achievement Best Documentary Short 2018
PARTIE(S) DE CAMPAGNE, Ouroux-en-Morvan, France, Audience Award 2018
LONDON FEMINIST FILM FESTIVAL, Audience Award for Best Documentary Short, August 2018
VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL, Programmers’ Award for Best Documentary Short, November 2018
FESTIVAL DU FILM D’EDUCATION, Prix du Jury Jeunes et Lycéens, December 2018 (Youth Award)
FESTIVAL A NOUS DE VOIR, Prix du jury professionnel, November 2018 (Professional Jury Award)

Festivals & screenings:


Visions du réel – CH Nyon Switzerland – International competition
Int’l Film Festival – Santa Cruz Argentina
Festival d’histoire de l’art Fontainebleau
Calcutta Cult Film Festival, India – Outstanding Woman’s Film Achievement
Parties de campagne, Ouroux en Morvan, France
LIFF, Lebanon
Feminist film festival of London – UK
Bucharest Short Cut Festivals – Bucharest Bulgaria
Festival de cinéma de Douarnenez (FR)
Cinemigrante Film Festival, Buenos Aires Argentina
DMZ Documentary International Festival South Korea
Femmes en résistance (FR) – Arcueil France, cinema Jean Vilar
New Orleans Film Festival (USA) – New Orleans, Louisiana – Official competition
Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival – Cleveland, USA
Capital City Black Film festival – USA
FIFDH – Festival du film des droits de l’homme – Guadeloupe, France
Festival de film Gorée Cinéma, Sénégal
Saint Louis Film Festival (USA) – Official competition and Special School programs
Kasseler Dok Fest – Kassel, Allemagne – Shorts Competition
Les Escales documentaires – Sélection compétitive Jeunes – La Rochelle, France
Festival Interférences – Lyon, France
A nous de voir – Sélection Compétition Jeunes et Lycéens – Oullins
Virginia University Film Festival – Charlottesville, USA – Programmer’s Award for best Documentary Short
Columbia University, New York, USA – Festival “Blackness in French and Francophone Film festival”
Université de Tours, colloque «Esclavages et Antiesclavagismes»
Festival Instants vidéo – Marseille, France
Festival international du cinéma numérique – Cotonou, Bénin
Festival du film d’éducation, Evreux


Chicago Feminist Film Festival, USA
Festival international du film sur l’art (FIFA), Montréal
Université de Paris-1
Sciences-Po Lille
Cinémathèque française, Paris
Festival international du film de femmes, Créteil
Festival Vues d’Afrique, Montréal
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon
Women’s Film festivals, Massashussets
FIAV, Casablanca, Maroc

Director: Nora Philippe
Producer: Nora Philippe
Co-producer: Ella Marder
Actresses: Camilla Andra Rich, Candyce Miales, Raina Lampkins-Fielder, Catherine Zlatkovic.
Editor: Anne Souriau
Poet: Nicole Sealey
DOP Dolls: Emmanuel Gras
DOP Readers: Cécile Bodénès
Sound Editor and Designer: Olivier Laurent
Special Effects: Denis Parrot
Color Grador: Paul Champart