Visiting Filmmakers Series: Nikyatu Jusu, with Nanny

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Johnson Center, Cinema

Join us for a free screening of Nanny, the brilliant feature film debut by Nikyatu Jusu. Nanny had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2022, where it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize, the first horror film ever to win this award at Sundance. 

Our screening will be followed by a conversation with Nikyatu Jusu, Screenwriting and Directing Professor for George Mason University's Film and Video Studies Program. 

Child and woman in Nanny

"A spellbinding blend of social observation and artful shocks, the debut feature from Nikyatu Jusu plunges into the increasingly fractured consciousness of Aisha (Anna Diop), a Senegalese immigrant who takes a job as a nanny for a wealthy white family in New York City. Separated from her own son and casually exploited by her employers, Aisha finds herself consumed by unsettling visions and a growing rage -- one that could either destroy or empower her" (Criterion Collection).

Angelica Jade Bastién writes, "Nanny is a masterwork that functions on several levels," writes . While its use of horror conventions and fabulist tropes may be its most attention-grabbing quality, the film is far richer when understood as a psychological drama that interrogates the ways that anti-Blackness and white entitlement bleed into every layer of American life."

Guillermo del Toro writes of Nanny: "Hypnotic horror film. Symbol, myth and spirit join to tell an internal saga. Fraught with danger, menace and full of mystery and power. Its remarkable color palette and rock-solid audiovisual storytelling rematched by breathtaking performances.”

Read Nikyatu Jusu's interview with the Motion Picture Association's Bryan Abrams

Listen to Nikyatu Jusu's Access to Excellence podcast interview with Mason President Gregory Washington

Read Amy Taubin's review of Nanny.

See film website. 

Nikyatu JusuSierra Leonean-American filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu's films have played at festivals nationally and internationally, garnering her many laurels and awards. Her first feature film, Nanny, debuted at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize (US Dramatic). Professor Jusu is the second black woman director and Nanny is the first horror film to be so honored: the film is opening in theaters and streaming on Prime Video in Fall 2022. The rights to her next film project have been won by Universal Studios and Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions.

Professor Jusu developed Nanny as a Fellow at the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Directors & Screenwriters Lab. In 2022, she received the inaugural MPA Creator Award, and appeared with Nanny at New Directors/New Films in New York City.

Nikyatu Jusu’s filmography straddles the lines of social resonance coupled with “butts in seats” storytelling. Race, nationality, sexuality and mental health are central themes in her oeuvre, which consistently centers nuanced portrayals of women. Professor Jusu draws from a myriad of sources, including African Diasporic mythology/folklore and contemporary social issues affecting historically marginalized communities.

Three of Professor Jusu’s short films were acquired by and aired on HBO, including Flowers and Suicide By Sunlight. The latter was funded by the production grant "Through Her Lens," sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute and Chanel. This short film was also awarded a Rooftop Films/Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant, and debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Professor Jusu earned her M.F.A. in Film Production from the Tisch Graduate Film Program at New York University, where she was awarded the Spike Lee Fellowship and the Princess Grace Narrative Film Grant. She has a B.A. from Duke University in Literature and Film.

This event is presented by Visiting Filmmakers Series; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Visual and Performing Arts; Film at Mason; CVPA's Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; African and African American Studies, English Department; Global AffairsHistory and Art History; University Life; and Women and Gender Studies. 

#VisitingFilmmakersSeries #FilmAtMason #Nanny

For more information: 

Anjuli Singh,, Exhibitions and Office Coordinator, Film at Mason

Cynthia Fuchs, Director, Visiting Filmmakers Series at Mason; Director, Film at Mason

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