AMPAS ’16: Dee Rees

AMPAS ADDS WOMEN DIRECTORS: With our commitment to reviewing all new releases written and/or directed by women, FF2 Media now plays an important role in breaking down barriers. AMPAS invited 683 new members this year, 49 of whom are female directors. Who are they? What are their stories? We already know them, and we are here to tell you!

Dee Rees is an American screenwriter and director best known for her feature films Pariah and Bessie. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, she graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School. Prior to attending NYU to begin her career as a filmmaker, Dee graduated with an MBA from Florida A&M University and worked in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, and Colgate Palmolive.

Rees released her first feature film, Pariah, in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. There, it was honored with the Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition “Excellence in Cinematography” Award (Bradford Young) and picked up by Focus Features.

The film was honored with many awards including the “John Cassavetes Award” at the Independent Spirit Awards, the Gotham Award for “Best Breakthrough Director,” “Outstanding Film –Limited Release” at the GLAAD Media Award, and seven NAACP Image Award nominations and a win for “Outstanding Independent Motion Picture.”

Her feature documentary Eventual Salvation aired on the Sundance Channel and the Emmy-awarding winning Bessie premiered on HBO in 2015.

Excerpt from FF2 Media review of Pariah from January 6, 2012:

Brooklyn teen “Alike” (aka Lee) struggles to find her voice as a writer & as a lesbian. Touching debut performance by Adepero Oduye, but what elevates this above a standard (albeit very well-done) “coming of age” story is Wayans–outstanding as mother “Audrey”–an African-American woman desperately trying to shape her family into an idealized image of middle class perfection.

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Photo Credit: Patrick James Miller for Variety

Tags: #OscarsSoWhite, AMPAS, Dee Rees, Female Directors, FF2 Media, Make Oscar Gold, Pariah, Stop Blue Oscar

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