Named one of Variety’s “Ten Directors to Watch” in 2009, award-winning filmmaker Cherien Dabis made her feature film debut with Amreeka, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious FIPRESCI award at the 2009 Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight. Prior to that, she was an accomplished television writer and co-producer on Showtime Network’s original hit series The L Word.
Other credits include her short film Make A Wish (2006), which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival and Clermont-Ferrand where it picked up the Press Prize and Jury’s Special Mention. The film went on to win 11 other top awards. A recipient of grants from National Geographic, the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Tribeca Institute/Renew Media, Dabis is also a Sundance lab fellow and an alumnus of the Film Independent labs, as well as Tribeca All Access.
"I started the Columbia Film Program an amateur short story writer with very little knowledge of what it actually meant to be a director. In fact, I’ll never forget sitting in Bette Gordon’s Directing I class my first year, looking around the 360-degree room, wondering: How do you know where to put the camera? The possibilities overwhelmed me! But by the end of my first year, with the help of the wonderful faculty, I learned how to go about making that choice.