Yoruba Richen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker dedicated to creating compelling, engaging films that explore vital social and cultural issues.
Her work has been featured on PBS, New York Times Op Doc, New York Magazine’s website, The Cut, The Atlantic, Frontline and the Shazaam App. She won a Clio award for her short film about the Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day.
Yoruba’s last feature film, The New Black, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and went on to win Audience Awards at AFI Docs, 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 opened theatrically at New York’s Film Forum and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens in 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 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, Fulbright and the Ford Foundation. She won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Producers fellow. Yoruba is a featured TED Speaker, a Fulbright fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow.
In 2014, she was chosen for the Root 100 list of African Americans 45 years old and younger who are responsible for the year’s most significant moments and themes. Yoruba is the 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough filmmaker award.
In the summer of 2014, she was named to one of two Tow professorships at the Newmark 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.