Yoruba Richen

  1. Tow Professor, Director of the Documentary Program

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Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker  who has directed and produced films in the U.S. and abroad, including Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

Her latest film, “The New Black,” premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and went on to win Audience Awards at AFI Docs and Philly Q Fest and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld film festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award. “The New Black” aired on PBS’s  Emmy-Award winning program, Independent Lens, in the summer of 2014.

Yoruba’s previous film, “Promised Land,” received a Diverse Voices Co-Production fund award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and won the Fledgling Fund award for social issue documentary. It was broadcast on PBS’s POV in 2010.

In 2007, Yoruba won a Fulbright award in filmmaking and traveled to Brazil, where she began production on “Sisters of the Good Death,” a documentary about the oldest African women’s association in the Americas and the annual festival they hold celebrating the end of slavery.

Yoruba was also an associate producer for the investigative unit of ABC News as well as a producer for the independent news program Democracy Now.  She has received numerous grants, including from ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and the Ford Foundation.

Yoruba won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance producers’ fellow. She is a 2014 featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow.

In the summer of 2014, she was named to one of two new Tow professorships at the CUNY J-School, established by The Tow Foundation to recognize teachers who have demonstrated exception leadership in their fields.

She received a B.A from Brown University and Masters in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.