Kasi Lemmons is an award-winning director, writer, actress and professor who has been a staple in Hollywood for nearly three decades. Her acclaimed 1997 feature directorial debut, Eve’s Bayou, was recently inducted into the National Film Registry, and is considered among the first to showcase the beauty of African American Southern culture.
The film received the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and the National Board of Review bestowed her with a special first-time director award. Eve’s Bayou marked Samuel L. Jackson’s debut as a film producer and helped launch the careers of actresses Megan Good and Jurnee Smollett.
Her fifth feature film Harriet, is a deeply resonant and powerful drama based on the life of American icon Harriet Tubman. Starring Cynthia Enviro in the titular role, Harriet will be released by Focus Features in late 2019.
As an actress, Lemmons appeared in such notable films as Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, John Woo’s Hard Target, and Spike Lee’s School Daze.
Lemmons has worked extensively as a mentor and educator, and currently serves as an Associate Arts Professor in the Graduate Film Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Along with Academy-Award nominated composer Terrence Blanchard, Lemmons recently added librettist to her formidable body of work, creating the stage adaptation of Charles Blow’s New York Times bestselling memoir Fire Shut up in My Bones, for the Opera Theater of Saint Louis.
Lemmons resides in Harlem with her husband, Vondie Curtis-Hall and their children.
Photo credit: Simon Fredrick