11. Dee Rees: Sharing Different Views Through Her Lens
Dee Rees saw a boldness in New York youth that she didn’t see in herself at their age. It inspired her to be more open about her own sexual orientation and to explore untold stories in film.
Her unique take on HBO’s Bessie, starring Queen Latifah, drew two of the film’s 12 Emmy nominations this year for outstanding directing and writing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special.
Rees’ breakout film was Pariah, coming-of-age story that mirrored her own life. First written as a feature film, it became a short as her thesis project at New York University. She then used the short to finance her original concept. Pariah won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
The New York University film graduate has also worked with fellow NYU alum Spike Lee on Inside Man and When the Levees Broke. Next up is a TV adaptation with Shonda Rhimes of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson.