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Nigeria’s Chinonye Chukwu Becomes First Black Woman to win Sundance’s Biggest Prize

PARK CITY, UTAH – FEBRUARY 02: Director Chinonye Chukwu speaks onstage during the Sundance Film Festival Awards Night Ceremony at Basin Recreation Field House on February 02, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

It was a big year for women at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. All four of the Grand Jury Prizes given to competition films were either directed or co-directed by women.

Filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu, though, broke new grounds. Her film “Clemency,” a moving death row drama, won the festival’s biggest prize, the Grand Jury Prize for her US Dramatic entry.

According to reports, she wrote and directed “Clemency,” and has been directing short films since 2009.

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