Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1976 to Palestinian Jordanian immigrants, Cherien Dabis is an award-winning feature filmmaker who received her M.F.A. in film from Columbia University. She wrote, directed, produced and edited several short films including Make A Wish (2006), which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival as well as Clermont-Ferrand where it won the Prix de la Presse and Mention Spéciale du Jury. The film went on to win top awards in Dubai, Rotterdam, Cairo, Chicago and Aspen. Dabis worked for three seasons as a writer and co-producer on Showtime’s groundbreaking, original hit television series The L Word before going on to make her feature writing and directorial debut with Amreeka.
Amreeka (2009) world-premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (2009), opened New York’s New Director’s/New Films at the MoMA (2009) and won the prestigious FIPRESCI award in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes (2009). It was nominated for a Best Picture Gotham Award (2009), 3 Independent Spirit Awards (2010), including Best Picture and was named one of the Top Ten Independent Films of the Year by the National Board of Review (2009). The same year, Dabis was also named one of Variety’s “Ten Directors to Watch.”Amreeka was released theatrically to worldwide critical acclaim and was recently chosen as one of only five American films to take part in the Sundance Institute’s inaugural Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue initiative, an international cinematic cultural exchange and diplomacy program.
A USA Rockefeller Fellow (2010) and winner of the Humanitas Prize (2009) as well as the Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award (2009), Dabis is an alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab (2005, 2010), Film Independent Director’s Lab (2005) and Tribeca All Access (2007), where she was honored with the first ever L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth Vision Award. In support of her work, she has received generous grants from National Geographic, the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Tribeca Film Institute and the Sundance Institute.
Dabis is slated to go into production on her second feature film May in the Summer in the spring of 2011 and is currently writing and attached to direct a film for Fox Searchlight.
May in the Summer (2011)