Talent Guide

Nikyatu Jusu

  • Discipline:Director, Writer
  • Program Year:Fast Track 2013, Grants and Awards 2023


Sierra Leonean-American Writer/Director Nikyatu Jusu graduated from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Film Production in 2010. She wrote and directed award winning short films including her NYU second year film, African Booty Scratcher, which went on to earn her a Director’s Guild of America Honorable Mention and an HBO Short Film Award. While at NYU she won a Princess Grace Foundation Narrative Film Scholarship in addition to a Spike Lee Fellowship. These awards contributed to the creation of her thesis narrative short, Say Grace Before Drowning. SGBD also won an HBO Short Film Award in addition to a Directors Guild of America Honorable Mention, and Puffin Foundation Grant. Both NYU created short films were acquired by HBO, where they each aired for a year. Jusu was awarded a $50,000 Panavision Equipment Grant, which she plans to use for the development of her feature film debut, Free the Town. Her screenplay was one of 15 projects selected for Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program/Inaugural Screenwriter’s Intensive in Los Angeles.

Current Project

Free the Town


A mosaic story of three strangers: a native girl, a Brooklyn teen, and a myopic filmmaker collide in the unforgiving streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone, as they negotiate their identities in the midst of witch hunting fervor.