First Place Narrative
Nijla is a writer and filmmaker whose artistic background spans poetry, photography, short fiction, dance, and film criticism. Hailing from the East Bay Area, she tells stories about black girls and women who find themselves between worlds and identities. Her short films have screened at festivals and venues across the country, including the Pan African Film Festival, Outfest, and BAMcinématek . She has written for Shadow & Act/Indiewire, East Bay Express, The Los Angeles Times, and Vice. She is the recipient of the 2012 Princess Grace Foundation- Cary Grant Award for her short film, Deluge. In 2014, she was one of 10 writers selected for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive. She was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the 2014 Urbanworld Film Festival, for her script Noor. She is currently developing her first feature film, Jinn. In 2016, she raised over $25,000 through Kickstarter for the project, and was selected for Film Independent’s Fast Track program and Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program. She is a 2013 dual-degree graduate of CalArts MFA Film Directing and Writing Programs.