Directed by Laura Brownson
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY 100 Minutes World Premiere
Rachel Dolezal became infamous when she was unmasked as a white woman living as the black head of her local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. Her unbelievable story issued a direct challenge to the sensitive topics of race and identity, while playing into the age of viral media. Whether she was hated or simply misunderstood, Dolezal touched a collective nerve in the racially charged contemporary, causing her to burst into the public consciousness.

Filming exclusively with Dolezal, her sons, and her adoptive sister Esther, documentarian Laura Brownson delves into the motivations and personal life of this divisive and controversial figure; in doing so, she explores the troubled past that has informed Dolezal’s confusing present and uncertain future. Executive produced by Academy Award®-winner Roger Ross Williams, The Rachel Divide is a fully realized portrait of a life more complex than any tabloid would lead its readers to believe. The film demands the question: Is Dolezal truly “trans-black,” as she describes herself, or is she the ultimate example of white privilege?

—Loren Hammonds

After the premiere screening: A conversation with director, Laura Brownson, executive producer and Academy® Award Winner, Roger Ross Williams, producer Bridget Stokes, and editor, Jeff Gilbert. Moderated by acclaimed director and producer, Lisa Cortes.
Documentary, Female Director(s)
About the Director(s)
Laura Brownson's feature documentary debut Lemon had its U.S. premiere at DOCNYC where it won a Special Jury Prize and went on to screen at numerous film festivals and was broadcast on PBS. Before turning to documentary film, Brownson had a substantial career as producer and creative executive in television and narrative features.

Film Info
  • Section:
    Documentary Competition
  • Year:
  • Length:
    100 minutes
  • Language:
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
Cast & Credits
  • Executive Producer:
    Roger Ross Williams
  • Editor:
    Jeff Gilbert
  • Cinematographer:
    Jerry Henry, Paul Mailman
  • Director:
    Laura Brownson
  • Producer:
    Laura Brownson, Bridget Stokes, Khaliah Neal
  • Screenwriter:
    Laura Brownson, Jeff Gilbert