“Tar Baby Jane” is an observational documentary that creates a lean but complex and intimate portrait of Vanessa German, an awarding winning multi-disciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh. The film captures the intricacies of Vanessa’s personality by following her as she prepares for a solo exhibition of her “tar babies”; gives the first performance of her one woman show, “Root”, at the Vineyard Playhouse in Martha’s Vineyard; gives public performances of her poems; helps build a playground in one of Pittsburgh’s poorest neighborhoods; travels to Washington D.C. to participate in a Green for All Academy meeting and lobby on Capital Hill; and interacts with her partner, Michelle.

Through observation and interviews, “Tar Baby Jane” reveals how Vanessa is constructing her own identity as an artist and woman as she pieces together and gives life to the tar babies, poems and performances that define, shape and reveal her life. Vanessa’s work is profoundly insightful in its confrontation with America’s legacy of white supremacy, black iconography, hatred, fear and brutality while tenderly demonstrating our connectedness to the past and each other. Ultimately, Vanessa’s story serves as an inspiration for people who find themselves in similar situations, fighting similar demons.

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