DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFPOST

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFPOST

Crystal Kayiza was raised in Oklahoma and is now a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker. Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” her work focuses on pursuing more nuanced storytelling about the African Diaspora. She is a recipient of the 2017 Jacob Burns Film Center Woman Filmmaker Fellowship and the 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellowship. As a Woman Filmmaker Fellow she directed and produced, Edgecombe, a short documentary examining the ways trauma repeats and reinvents itself in a rural Black community in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. The film premiered at the 2018 BAMcinemaFest and was an official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. 

After graduating from Ithaca College in 2015 with a degree in Documentary Studies and Production, Crystal spent two years at the ACLU working on racial justice and criminal justice issues. She received a Heartland Emmy Award in 2012 for her film All That Remains, which profiles Boley, Oklahoma, one of the nation's last all-Black towns.