Grants & Awards


– by Dee Rees

    1. Fiction

    2. Date Awarded: Winter 2010 & Winter 2009

    3. Directors(s): Dee Rees

    1. Producer(s): Nekisa Cooper

    2. Location: USA

    1. Film Status: Completed

    2. URL: » Pariah site

    3. Distribution: Focus Features

About the Film:

When forced to choose between the fragile cohesion of her middle-class family and loyalty to her best friend, a Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

About the Filmmakers:

Dee Rees (Writer/Director) is an alumna of New York University’s graduate film program and a 2008 Sundance Screenwriting & Directing Lab Fellow. She has written and directed several short films, including Pariah, which has screened at over 40 festivals worldwide including the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and won 25 “Best Short” awards. Dee’s most recent short film, Colonial Gods, was shot on location in the UK and aired on the BBC Wales in the fall of 2009. Her documentary feature, Eventual Salvation, received a 2007 Sundance Documentary Fund Grant and premiered on Sundance Channel in October 2009. Dee’s debut narrative feature film, Pariah, was a finalist for the 2009 Sundance/NHK International Award and had it’s world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Dee received a 2008 Renew Media Arts Fellowship and also as listed as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2008 “25 New Faces of Independent Film” for her work. Currently, Dee is developing a dramatic television series called The ‘Ville and also recently finished two feature length screenplays: a dark comedy titled Large Print, and an environmental science thriller called Pandora. Dee worked as a script supervision intern on Spike Lee’s films When The Levees Broke and Inside Man and earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. Nekisa Cooper (Producer) is a 2008 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow, and has produced several projects, including the critically acclaimed narrative short Pariah. In January, she was selected to represent IFP at the 2009 Cinemart/Rotterdam Producing Lab. Nekisa produced Eventual Salvation and Colonial Gods and the feature version of Pariah. Nekisa is currently in post-production on the feature documentary, La Muneca Fea, a Creative Promise Award winner from the 2009 Tribeca All Access Program and 2010 Elizabeth Pena Fellowship Award Winner through Film Independent. Prior to film, Nekisa’s former lives included a successful career working in brand management for such companies as Colgate-Palmolive, L’Oreal, and General Electric and working as an assistant coach for women’s basketball on the Division I, Division III and high school levels. Nekisa earned a BA in Government with a minor in Japanese studies from The College of William & Mary and an MBA in Marketing from Clark Atlanta University.

Festival & Award Highlights:

Sundance 2011 – World Premiere, Excellence in Cinematography for US Dramatic Filmmaking Award
New Directors/New Films 2011
Toronto 2011
BFI London 2011

Gotham Awards 2011 – Breakthrough Director
National Board of Review 2011 – Freedom of Expression
Independent Spirit Awards 2012 – John Cassavetes Award (nom), Best Female Lead (nom)