Bristol artist Jasmine Thompson takes on Just Another Girl on the I.R.T

Bristol artist Jasmine Thompson shows us her incredible artwork inspired by a pioneering film coming soon to Watershed as part of Cinema Rediscovered

Smart, sassy and sharp-tongued, the magnetic African-American lead character of Just Another Girl on the I.R.T (17-year-old Chantele) wouldn’t be at all out of place on our TV screens in 2018 – she’d fit into shows like The Incredible Jessica James, She’s Gotta Have It, or Dear White People with no problem at all.

However, her start came a lot earlier – back in 1993, Chantele took a turn on the big screen in the cult hit Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. The film wasn’t just outspoken when it came to witty dialogue.  Film trailblazer Leslie Harris wrote, directed, produced the independent feature through her production company, which sold the feature to Miramax – a first for a theatrical film by an African-American woman. The film also premiered at Sundance in 1993, where Harris became the first African-American woman writer, director, producer to win a Special Jury Prize for Best Feature Film.

In celebration of 25 years of this boundary-pushing production, Watershed will be screening it as part of their Cinema Rediscovered season on 28 July with a Q+A with Leslie herself as part of Cinema Rediscovered, and have commissioned Bristol artist and Rife alumnus Jazz Thompson to create some striking artwork in response to the film. See what Jazz had to say about her creative process and the film below.

What was it about the images you illustrated that grabbed your attention?
Initially the vibrancy and liveliness of the images caught my eye. I was spoilt for choice trying to choose just two to illustrate – all the stills I found were full of character and generally gave off really great female energy, which I loved. Sketching these and having the opportunity to play around with colour so much was really enjoyable, which I also think was important for catching the vibe of the film.
What surprised you about Just Another Girl on The I.R.T.?
I actually just couldn’t believe that it was the first film directed by an African-American woman to gain British distribution. It was made in 1992 – that isn’t even that long ago! It’s quite mad that it took this long for that to happen, and I think that fact makes it even more important and poignant. But as for spoilers – I’m not giving any! You’ll have to go and see it for yourselves…
Why should people go and check it out?
I think everyone will be able to take something from it, regardless of what your interests are in film. I also think it will be something many can connect with, and it’s fantastic that it’s coming back to the cinemas for people to enjoy a second time around.
What are you up to right now?
Apart from this project, I’ve been working on a few other things, both in Bristol and nationwide. I just created the poster for an upcoming play at Tristan Bates theatre in London this month, and I have a few more murals coming up between now and autumn. This week I just finished up a book cover design commission too – that was a big one so I’m looking forward to getting back into some comics and graphic novels over the summer. I’m afraid I can’t say any more now, but I post all work updates on my Instagram – follow me at @jasmineshanice123.
Book your ticket for Just Another Girl on the IRT on 28 July at Watershed as part of Cinema Rediscovered here, and see more of Jasmine’s work here.
All illustration by Jasmine Thompson