Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts 2023

Yvonne Michelle Shirley

Yvonne Michelle Shirley (Director/Producer) is a filmmaker based in Newark, NJ, working in documentary and narrative forms. Her work explores radical processes of self determination in the lives of Black Americans. In 2016, her short film Flowers, won Best Short Film in the HBO Short Film Competition at the 2016 American Black Film Festival. Her documentary short, Miasia: The Nature of Experience premiered at the 2017 BlackStar Film Festival, and has screened throughout the country. She produced and directed the 5-episode digital series, Frame by Frame, for Topic, which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. She produced the Sundance 2019 documentary short, Black 14, directed by Darius Clark Monroe and executive produced by Spike Lee. Yvonne has directed and produced non-fiction work for T Magazine, Nike, and AFROPUNK.  In 2019 she was named to DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 list. She was a 2021 Impact Partners Documentary Producing Fellow; and a 2021 Catapult Research Grantee for her upcoming film, To The Unknown, a portrait of her uncle, the pianist and composer, Don Shirley. Yvonne is currently Director of the Community Media Center at Express Newark, a center for socially engaged art at Rutgers University-Newark. She is also a member of the film collective, New Negress Film Society.

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