This World Is Not My Own

U.S., 97m, DCP

Showtimes & Tickets

Screened May 3–9, 2024

Beginning with her birthday July 4, 1900, artist Nellie Mae Rowe’s life spanned the 20th century. For most of her life, Nellie made art in obscurity, propelled by a force she viewed as a God-given gift. As the daughter of a sharecropper and former slave, she made art from whatever she could find. As an adult, she transformed her home into her “Playhouse,” an imaginative oasis filled with vibrant drawings, handmade sculptures and dolls, and collected objects. Six years before her death, a wealthy gallerist, Judith Alexander, “discovered” and introduced her work to the art world.

Over four acts and an interlude, This World is Not My Own traces the lifespan of an artist who struggles to dedicate her life to art while exploring the personal and political events that shaped her singular body of work. The film mixes traditional documentary techniques with animations and scripted scenes shot in intricately detailed sets to bring her dynamic story to life. Emmy Award-winner Uzo Aduba lends her voice and movements to the animated Nellie Mae Rowe.

A Juno Films release

Official Selection: SXSW, Hot Docs, Hamptons International Film Festival

A film by Petter Ringbom Marquise Stillwell

Breaks from doc tradition in rewarding ways… A captivating film portrait.”

Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

An unconventional, eccentric, hybrid documentary that’s as inventive as its subject.”

Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots