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Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye, a native of Liberia, received her BA from Temple University and her MFA from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Dunye’s most recent film, BLACK IS BLUE, won awards at five major festivals, and has struck a power nerve with its exploration of everyday racism and transphobic experiences in the lives of trans black men. Her fifth feature film, MOMMY IS COMING, continues to win international awards as the first queer adult romantic comedy. Dunye’s fourth feature film THE OWLS, was celebrated at national and international film festivals in 2010. Her third feature film, Miramax’s MY BABY’S DADDY, was a box office success and played at theatres nationwide. Dunye’s second feature, acclaimed HBO Films’ STRANGER INSIDE, garnered Dunye an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best director in 2002. Dunye’s other works have been included in the Whitney Biennial an screened internationally at festivals in New York, London, Tokyo, Cape Town, Amsterdam, and Sydney.

In 1996, Dunye wrote, directed and starred in her first feature-length film, THE WATERMELON WOMAN. It was awarded the Teddy Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and won Best Feature at OutFest LA, Italy’s Torino and France’s Creteil Film Festival. THE WATERMELON WOMAN was recently honoured as one of three OutFest UCLA Legacy Project films, and granted a pristine 2K remastering for re-release. The film is currently being honoured with a series of 20th Anniversary screenings at top-tier festivals such as the Berlinale, OutFest, the San Fransisco International Film Festival, and at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Dunye has served on the Directors Guild of America’s Independent Council and on the advisory Board of Directors for the Queer Cultural Centre, and sits on the board of Radar Productions, as well as the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project.

In addition, Dunye, has received grants from the Astraea Foundation, Frameline, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She has been honoured with the prestigious Anonymous was a Woman Award, as well as a lifetime achievement award from Girlfriend’s Magazine.

Based in Oakland, Dunye is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cinema at San Fransisco State University.