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RODNEY EVANS is a fiction and documentary film writer, director and producer. His debut fiction feature BROTHER TO BROTHER won the Special Jury Prize in Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. The film had its European premiere at the Berlinale and garnered four Independent Spirit Award nominations including Best First Film, Best First Screenplay, Best Debut Performance for Anthony Mackie and Best Supporting Male Performance for Roger Robinson.


Evans has received funding from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Program, The Creative Capital Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The NY State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Black Public Media (BPM). His second fiction feature,
THE HAPPY SAD, has played at over thirty film festivals throughout the world and had its U.S. theatrical premiere in August 2013 at the IFC Center in NYC an the Sundance Sunset Cinema in Los Angeles. He has taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Princeton, Cooper Union and Swarthmore.


His latest feature length film, VISION PORTRAITS, had its World Premiere in the Documentary Feature Competition at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival and won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at Frameline - The San Francisco Int'l. LGBTQ+ Film Festival. It was released theatrically at the Metrograph in NYC in August 2019 and went on to play to universal critical acclaim in major U.S. cities. The film screened virtually at the Whitney Museum for a week in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 2020. Evans was the recipient of the 2019 Frameline Award for LGTBQ+ representation, a Sundance Momentum Fellowship for 2020 and a Ford/Mellon Disability Futures Fellowship for 2021. He is an NEH/Firelight Media Spark Fund Recipient for 2022. His latest nonfiction short PORTAL is currently touring the film festival circuit. He earned a BFA in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University and an MFA from The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Film/Video Production.

Select Awards 

1999/2002/04/11 NY State Council on the Arts Grant (Individual Artists Program)

1999   Jerome Foundation – NYC Film and Video Grant

2000   IFP’s Gordon Parks Award for Screenwriting

2000/2004      Vito Russo Award and Showtime Vanguard Award (NewFest)

2000   MIX Emerging Innovator Award (NY Experimental Gay/Lesbian Festival)


2003/04  Rockefeller Foundation-Media Arts Fellowship

2004   Sundance Film Festival (Special Jury Prize, Dramatic Competition)

2004  Audience Award, Best Fiction Feature

           (San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival)

2004  Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize, Best Feature (Outfest LA)

2004  Nominee for IFP Gotham Award, Breakthrough Director

2004   Nominee for 4 IFP Spirit Awards including Best First Film and Best First     Screenplay

2005   NY Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Film/Video

2005   HBO’s Director To Watch Award, Black Movie Awards

2006  Recipient of development financing from ITVS-Diversity Development Fund


2008  Recipient of research and development funds from NBPC

2008  Creative Capital Foundation Grant

2008  Guggenheim Fellowship

2008  Tribeca All Access Program-Honorable Mention-Creative Promise Award

2008  Winner-NewFest Screenplay Competition

2009  Binger Film Lab Fellowship-Director’s Coaching Programme


2012  Frameline Completion Fund Grant

2012  Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association Grant

2016  Swarthmore Faculty Research Grant

2017 Recipient of funding from The Ford Foundation-JustFilms Program

2019 Frameline Award for Career Achievement in LGBTQ+ Representation

2019 Frameline-Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary

2019 Outfest-Award for Artistic Achievement

2020 Recipient of The Sundance Institute’s Momentum Fellowship

2020/21 Recipient of the Ford/Mellon Disability Futures Fellowship

2022 Recipient of NEH/Firelight Media Spark Fund Recipient

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