Nigeria’s Chinonye Chukwu Is First Black Woman To Win Sundance Biggest Prize

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Chinonye Chukwu, a Nigerian-American filmmaker, emerged the first Black woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for her U.S. Dramatic entry, “Clemency.’’

Chukwu is a Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised screenwriter, producer and director, whose works had received recognition, grants and awards.

She joins Desiree Akhavan, Ryan Coogler, Damien Chazelle, Rebecca Miller, and many more many more big names as winning the Grand Jury Prize for their U.S. Dramatic entries, says IndieWire online news platform.

Her film, “Clemency,” a gripping death row drama starring Alfre Woodard, as a prison warden struggling with the emotional demands of her job, won the festival’s biggest prize, the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. dramatic entry.

In 2012, Director Ava DuVernay became the first Black woman to win a directing award for her second narrative offering, “Middle of Nowhere.’’

The filmmaker has also been tapped to direct,“ A Taste of Power’’, an adaptation of former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown’s memoir, the first and only female leader to lead the Black Panther Party.

According to Deadline, Chukwu will work with Blacklist scriptwriter, Alyssa Hill who will adapt the screenplay from the memoir, “A Taste of Power: a Black Woman’s Story.

Other notable Grand Jury Prize winners include Nanfu Wang’s “One Child Nation” (U.S. Documentary), Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir” (World Dramatic), and Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s “Honeyland” (World Documentary).

In 2018, four female directors took home the individual directing awards, including Sara Colangelo, Alexandria Bombach, Sandi Tan, and Isold Uggadottir.

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