Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers. Best known for her multimedia presentations, innovative use of technology and first-person style, she is a writer, director, visual artist and vocalist who has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music.

Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden was born in Detroit, Michigan. After receiving a BFA in art history at Wellesley College, she moved to New York, where she wrote for Artforum magazine and enlisted art-world friends such as Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Bogosian and Adele Bertei to appear in her film, Born in Flames, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award. Born in Flames was restored by the Anthology Film Archives in 2016 and has been screened worldwide. Over the years it has appeared in over 100 film festivals and has been written about extensively, called by New Yorker critic Richard Brody “a feminist masterpiece.”

Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins is an Irish-Scottish director and writer. His films include: The First Movie, about children in Iraq; The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a new history of cinema; Life May Be, which he co-directed with Iranian Mani Akbari; Atomic, about the nuclear age; and The Eyes of Orson Welles. They have premiered in Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Venice film festivals and have won the Prix Italia, the Stanley Kubrick Award and many other prizes.

Ava DuVernay

Winner of the Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Awards, Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay is a writer, director, producer and film distributor. Her directorial work includes the historical drama Selma, the criminal justice documentary 13TH and Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, which made her the highest-grossing black woman director in American box office history. Based on the infamous case of The Central Park Five, her next project, When They See Us was released worldwide on Netflix in May 2019. Currently, she is overseeing production on her critically-acclaimed TV series Queen Sugar, her new CBS limited series The Red Line, and the OWN series Cherish the Day.

Debra Granik

Debra Granik is the director and co-writer of Winter's Bone, which premiered and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2010. The film was nominated for four Oscars®, including Best Picture, and featured Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes. Granik and co-writer Anne Rosellini were also Oscar-nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her first film, Down to the Bone won Granik the Best Director prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and starred Vera Farmiga.

Nicole Holofcener

Nicole Holofcener has written and directed six films. Her most recent was Enough Said starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis Dreyfus, and The Land of Steady Habits starring Ben Mendelsohn. She has directed numerous television shows and wrote the screenplay for Can You Ever Forgive Me?. Currently she is working on an original project and co-writing the script for The Last Duel to be directed by Ridley Scott.

Kirsten Johnson

Kirsten Johnson’s Dick Johnson Is Dead premiered at this year’s 2020 Sundance and won the Jury Prize for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling. Her previous film, Cameraperson, named New York Times ‘Top Ten Films of 2016’ was shortlisted for the Academy Award and is part of The Criterion Collection.

Wanuri Kahiu

Wanuri Kahiu is a filmmaker, speaker, and science fiction writer. Her short award-winning science fiction film Pumzi (2009) about futuristic Africa premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (2010) and received international acclaim. In 2018, Kahiu’s award-winning film Rafiki, was the first Kenyan film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival and has since won multiple awards across the world.

Barbara Kopple

Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award-winning (Harlan County USA and American Dream), nine-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Heading up Cabin Creek Films in New York City, Barbara is a director and producer of documentaries, scripted films, episodic television and commercials. Her most recent work is Desert One about the US Special Ops daring mission during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019.

Mira Nair

Mira Nair is an Academy-Award nominated director best known for her visually dense films that pulsate with life. Her debut feature, Salaam Bombay! (1988), garnered over 25 awards, including the Caméra d’Or at Cannes. Her successes include Mississippi Masala (1991), Monsoon Wedding (2001), which won the Golden Lion, Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013) and Queen of Katwe (2016).

Kimberly Peirce

Kimberly Peirce staked her place as a writer and director of singular vision and craft with her unflinching debut feature, Boys Don't Cry, which earned numerous honors including Oscar nominations for Hilary Swank and co-star Chloë Sevigny, and an Oscar win for Swank. Peirce subsequently co-wrote and directed Stop-Loss, an emotionally penetrating drama inspired by her brother’s military service in Iraq. In 2013 she directed a masterful remake of Carrie that won the People’s Choice Award. In television, Kimberly has directed acclaimed episodes of American Crime, Turn, Halt and Catch Fire, Manhattan, Six, I Love Dick, Dear White People, P-Valley, and Kidding. She is Executive Producer and Director of Impact at A&E.

Penelope Spheeris

Spheeris attended UCLA, earning a master's degree in film from UCLA while working as a waitress. She went on to work as a film editor before forming her own company, Rock 'n'Reel, which was the first pre-MTV music video production company in Los Angeles, focused primarily on performance videos.

Sabiha Sumar

Sabiha Sumar is a multiple award-winning filmmaker and a Sundance alumnus. As writer, director and producer she has made narrative features as well as documentaries. Her most notable films are Who Will Cast the First StoneSilent WatersDinner with the President and Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent. She produced the Academy Award and Emmy winner Saving Face.

Claudia Weill

Claudia Weill produced and directed her first feature, Girlfriends in 1979 which she sold to Warner Brothers after winning multiple awards at Cannes, Filmex and Sundance. In 2019, it was acquired by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry and by the Criterion Collection. Her second feature, It's My Turn, for Columbia Pictures with Michael Douglas and Jill Clayburgh, won her the Donatello (European Oscar for Best New Director). She began in film by shooting and directing documentaries - notably, the Academy Award-nominated The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir, with Shirley MacLaine,  about the first American Womens’ Delegation to China in 1973 and the multi-award-winning doc, Joyce at 34 with Joyce Chopra (Criterion).