Janicza Michelle Bravo Ford is an Afro-Latina American writer, director, and photographer. From the time she was three months old to a teenager, she grew up between Colón and an Army base in Panama City, Panama. She spent time going back and forth between the United States and Panama throughout her childhood. When she was 12, her family moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Bravo attended the Playwrights Horizons Theater School of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in directing and design for theater, which included costume and set design. Several years after college, she moved to Los Angeles, worked as a stylist and produced small theater productions before she was approached by a cinematographer who offered assistance with filmmaking.
Bravo got her start writing and directing a series of short films. Her first film, Eat, starred Katherine Waterston and Brett Gelman and debuted at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival and was picked up by Vice. Her second film, the 2013 dark comedy named Gregory Go Boom, won the short-film jury award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, she was named one of Filmmaker magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film." In 2016, Bravo released the short film, Hard World for Small Things, a live-action virtual reality film that was a "day in the life" depiction of South Central. It was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and the AFI Festival Los Angeles. The same year, Bravo took the short, Woman in Deep, to the 2016 SXSW Film Festival.
Her debut feature film, Lemon, had its premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. In 2020, her sophomore feature, Zola, also premiered at Sundance, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Awards pre-screening.
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