Meet Joanna White Oldham

Dana Lemaster

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Photo by Toni Smalls

This week, we’re honored to chat with Joanna White Oldham. Ms. White Oldham is a director, producer, and educator who works in a variety of media platforms. Her credits include Here is A Man (2022) and the Netflix series Buried by the Bernards (2021).

Please tell us about your current projects and what led you to begin working on them.

I will be starting pre-production on one of my passion projects at the beginning of the year. This project is a lecture series and short film entitled The Weathering Project, based on the weathering hypothesis, proposed by Public Health researcher and professor, Arline Geronimus. This theory dictates that black women suffer poor health outcomes due to a cumulation of stress from social and economic challenges. The lecture series will bring together a variety of experts in an effort to develop viable solutions to this problem. The film is a surrealist, allegorical story told via a hair-raising encounter the main character experiences while attempting to pick up her children after work. The audience will travel with her on her journey and visualize the impact negative interactions have on her physical and emotional well-being in real time.

I am also looking for guests for season 3 of my web talk series called The Auntie Hour. I created The Auntie Hour in response to what I perceived as an absence in content and positive representation of maturing black women. We shot and released quite a few episodes on various topics to get an idea of what type of content works best for our audience. Now that we have the data we need, we are ready to move forward with revamping the show in a new format.

Do you have any mentors or sources of inspiration?

I have been blessed to meet many inspiring women during my journey as a filmmaker. These women have taken the time to give me advice and have talked me off of a ledge many times. Jenean Atwood Baynes and Nora Nett have been incredible mentors. My incredible friends Betsy Winslow, Cherryl Espinoza & Tabeel Rush inspire me each and every time I speak to them.

What parts of your work do you enjoy most? Why?

The ideation and development phases of a project are the most exciting. During this phase, I can truly push the boundaries of my creativity. It’s like trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together. I really enjoy testing out new ideas on friends and family that are media consumers and have no background in the film/tv industry. After all, these are the people that will end up watching whatever it is that you create, right?

What are your favorite things to do when you have free time?

In my spare time, I love to watch classic cinema, particularly film noir. I get immense pleasure from watching pessimistic characters make bad decisions and criminals get their comeuppance in this deliciously rich and stylistic genre. I also love to dance. I’m a house music junkie and go twirling every chance I get.

How can we learn more about your work and support it?

I will need all the help I can get to raise funds for The Weathering Project. We are fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas. Our initial phase of funds will be used to secure the venues to host the first iteration of the lecture series happening in late April 2024. We are accepting donations via this link: If someone out there has any tangible items to donate that we can use during these events, i.e., food, equipment, those are also tax deductible.