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Meet the first black female to win Sundance Grand Jury Prize

The Grand Jury dramatic competition prize, considered to be the biggest prize, was grabbed by Nigerian-American filmmaker, Chinonye Chukwu at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

And if that is not enough reason to make you marvel, the women were up and about to make history as all four of the prizes given to competition films were either directed or co-directed by a woman, according to Kate Erbland reporting for Indie Wire. Chukwu becomes the first black female in the history of the Sundance Film Festival to win the US Grand Jury Prize for her US Dramatic entry, Clemency. The 35-year-old filmmaker and director of the film made history as it is now recorded that only nine women have so far won the Grand Jury prize in the festival’s history and none was black, except for Chinonye Chukwu who just broke the box, making black female filmmakers proud.

Clemency stars Aldis Hodge and Alfre Woodard. It follows Warden Bernadine Williams (Woodard) as she wars with the demons of executing death row inmates. It all comes to a head when she connects with a man (Hodge) she’s sanctioned to kill.

Chinonye Chukwu has made history in Sundance 2019.

Filmmaker and director Chinonye Chukwu onstage during the Sundance Film Festival Award Night Ceremony.

It was equally recorded that the Nigerian-American filmmaker both wrote and directed the film. “am so thankful and can’t wait to share this film with the world!” Chukwu writes on Instagram.”

For her next project, she will be working on directing 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.


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