Chinonye Chukwu Emerges First Black Woman to Win Sundance’s Biggest Prize

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Nigerian-American screenwriter, producer and director Chinonye Chukwu has made history as she becomes the first black woman to win Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for her U.S. Dramatic entry, “Clemency.”

Chinonye Chukwu Sundance
Via Sundance Institute

Chinonye Chukwu’s film stars the likes of Aldis Hodge, Alfre Woodard and Danielle Brooks. The story is centered on prison warden Bernadine Williams (played by Woodard) who’s spirit is at war with the nature of her job which entails the execution of death row inmates. Everything comes to a head when she connects with one of the death row inmates, she’s sanctioned to kill Anthony Woods (Hodge).

The Grand Jury Prize for a U.S. Dramatic entry is the most critical honour at the Sundance Film Festival and has been previously received by Desiree Akhavan, Ryan Coogler, Damien Chazelle, Rebecca Miller, amongst other big names in the filmmaker circles.


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