Dee Rees is an alumna of New York University’s graduate film program and a Sundance Screenwriting & Directing Lab Fellow. Dee’s Emmy Award-winning HBO film Bessie (2015) starred Queen Latifah as the legendary American Blues singer and was nominated for a total of twelve Emmy Awards, including Dee’s individual nominations for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special. Bessie was also nominated for four Critics’ Choice Awards and Dee was the recipient of the 2016 Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Miniseries as well as the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie.
Dee’s debut feature film Pariah, starring Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival where it was honored with the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition “Excellence in Cinematography” Award and was later released by Focus Features. Pariah went on to win numerous awards including the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards (2011), the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Director (2011), Outstanding Film–Limited Release at the GLAAD Media Awards (2012) and it received seven NAACP Image Award nominations including Outstanding Motion Picture, Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Writing and won the award for Outstanding Independent Motion Picture. Pariah also earned Dee a spot on the New York Times’ 10 Directors to Watch list in 2013. Previously, she was selected as a 2008 Tribeca Institute/Renew Media Arts Fellow and appeared on Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film that same year. She is a 2011 United States Artists Fellow and her notable residencies include Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. Dee was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and currently resides in New York.