Cherien Dabis '04 Awarded $25K Grant at Sundance

February 9, 2018

Alumna Cherien Dabis '04 was awarded a $25,000 grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Sundance Institute for her feature-length film, What the Eyes Don’t See, which Dabis wrote and directed.


What the Eyes Don’t See is based on “a true story of how Iraqi American pediatrician and scientist Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha blew the whistle on local and state government officials for poisoning thousands of Flint, Michigan residents, especially children, by exposing them to disastrous levels of toxic lead in the water,” according to Deadline.

The award was granted by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropy that funds individuals who conduct research and seek to educate the public on issues related to science, technology, mathematics, engineering, and economics. Specifically, the Sloan Film Program “encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination.” Past projects that the Sloan award has supported include the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was adapted to film in 2016.  


According to Keri Putnam, the Executive Director of Sundance Institute, "Telling these humanizing and nuanced stories about how science and technology influence every part of our lives is more important than ever. We are thrilled to honor and support these artists and their critical, timely, and deftly-crafted work.”

Born in Nebraska to Palestinian and Jordanian parents, Dabis made her debut with Amreeka in 2009. Amreeka premiered at Sundance and won the FIPRESCI at the Cannes Film Festival and the Humanitas Prize, among others. She wrote, directed, produced, and acted in her second film, May in the Summer (2013). She has written and directed episodes for Showtime’s The L Word, Fox’s Empire, and USA’s The Sinner.