WHEN AFRICAN AMERICANS CAME TO PARIS
BIOGRAPHY: JOANNE BURKE
Joanne Burke is a film and video director-producer-editor with long years of high
level experience. From the late 1960s to 1986 she was one of the top documentary
film editors in New York, editing more than twenty long-form documentaries for CBS,
NBC, PBS, and HBO on social, political, and cultural themes.
Many won major awards, such as Tom Spain's multiple Emmy-winning Any Place But
Here and Harry Morgan's The Wyeth Phenomenon and Fathers and Sons, both for CBS. She also edited three feature films for Sidney Lumet, including The Anderson Tapes with Sean Connery, and co-edited Gimme Shelter, the Maysles Brothers’ and Charlotte Zwerin's documentary feature on the Rolling Stones.
Since 1986, when she moved to Paris, she has produced, directed, and edited a number of documentaries. Her award-winning film on jazz great Mary Lou Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Music on My Mind, completed in 1990, has been broadcast on PBS, CBC in Canada, Arte, and a number of other channels in France.
In the 1990s she created and a series of half-hour video documentaries entitled New Directions on innovative women in developing countries: Women of Zimbabwe, Women of Thailand, and Women of Guatemala. In the same series, she made the hour-length documentary Speaking Out: Women, AIDS, Hope in Mali, about the particular problems of women in West Africa in dealing with their status as HIV positive; it has been shown many times on television throughout Africa since its completion in 2003. She also produced two short documentaries about Americans in France during the First World War: The Lafayette Escadrille and Anne Morgan: An American in France.
Her latest production is a compilation of six short documentaries, When Africans Americans Came to Paris, released in 2012. She is now working on Paris Noir, African Americans in the City of Light, an hour-length documentary about African American writers, artists, jazz musicians, and Josephine Baker in France in the period from 1918 to 1940. All the films of the Paris years have been independently produced in partnership with her writer/cameraman husband David Burke.