POV: Hobbyist To Award-Winning Filmmaker


Meet Robert Philipson of Shoga Films, a former professor of African-American studies, published author, and Harlem Renaissance historian. His work encompasses the intersectionality of race, music, & sexuality, through the unique lens of a queer Jewish man. An accomplished filmmaker of multiple award-winning films, Philipson has carved out a niche space for himself and his collaborators. WMM had a chance to catch up with him, in anticipation of his latest short film, Smoke, Lilies, and Jade.

WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker?  

RP: I grew up in Pasadena and pretty much lived in California (undergrad at UC Santa Cruz) until I went to Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1974-77. As a result of that experience, I worked towards a degree in Comparative Literature with a specialty in Black and African literature. Unable to get a tenure-track position, I left academia in the early 90s...

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