I completed Grey Area in 1983. It was my UCLA Thesis Film for which I had received the Lynn Weston Memorial Scholarship awarded to an outstanding female student. The film was included in the Black Filmmaker Foundation catalog, and I was able to travel extensively with it to film festivals both in America and abroad.
In 2012, the UCLA Film & Television Archives undertook to find and restore Grey Area (I had lost all prints of it). Miraculously, they found old negatives at Foto Kem labs and with funds from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Getty Foundation were able to restore it to a beautiful black and white print. It was selected to be part of the Festival of Preservation and was screened in March 2013 at UCLA. It was also selected to be part of the L.A. Rebellion showcase of films that has been travelling throughout the country and internationally, renewing interest in black independent cinema that came out of UCLA in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
From the UCLA Film & Television Archives Festival of Preservation Catalog:
“The title of Monona Wali’s UCLA thesis film, Grey Area, refers to the spaces of compromise that seemingly have to be made to survive in white society. The film revolves around a female African-American reporter for a local television station who must seemingly compromise her political principles to keep her job, just as a former Black Panther Party member gets out of prison, only to realize that the old comrades in the struggle have moved on with their lives. It is also a pleas for community development in Watts and other Black L.A. neighborhoods, a concern that connects many of the L.A. Rebellion projects.”
For more information visit: UCLA Film & Television Archive
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