Iyabo E. Kwayana

Assistant Professor
Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Film and Media Studies Department
Affiliate, African and African American Studies Program

Iyabo Kwayana is an independent filmmaker and cinematographer who uses sensorial and immersive techniques in cinematography, directing and editing in order to amplify the more discreet, often hidden aspects of film narratives, compelling viewers towards an immersive, supra-sensorial, and transformative experience.  

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She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships including the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, the Edie and Lew Wasserman film fellowship, the Stanley Kramer Fellowship in Film Directing and the Women in Film Foundation's Loreen Arbus Fellowship in Cinematography.  Her film Macarrão is a BAFTA shortlisted film.  She won Jury Prizes at Zanzibar International Film festival and BlackStar International Film Festival as well as the Hellen Hill Jury Award at IndieGrits film festival.  Amongst the places she has screened are Visions du Réel, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Camden, AFI Docs Festival, Chicago UndergroundFestival, and Museum of Moving Image .  Other works to which she is a key collaborator have screened widely both domestically and internationally.


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Black Family Visual Art's Center, # 212
HB 6194
Film and Media Studies
B.A. Spelman College
M.F.A. University of California, Los Angelos
M.F.A. Northwestern University

Selected Publications

Commercial Campaigns:

Until We All Win Campaign, Nike, Camera Operator


Selected Films:

2017 Practice, China, Director, Co-Cinematographer, Editor

2018 The Offering,  Director, Co-Cinematographer, Editor

2018 An Exercise in Transfiguration, Archival, Director, Editor

2015 Macarrão, narrative, Writer, Director

2013 Bound, documentary, Co-Cinematographer

2010 La Receta: (The Recipe) narrative, Director, Writer, Editor

2010 El Nazareno (Black Christ of Portobello), documentary, Director, Cinematographer



2017 Practice, Director and Co-cinematographer

2018 Bridge/Refrain, Cinematographer

2017 Palenque, Columbia, Co-Cinematographer & Production Team 

2013 All Men are Flowers, Director of Photography

2012 Special Moments by Oksana, Director of Photography

2012 Maria Moderne, Director of Photography

2011, Los Gigantes, Co-Cinematographer

2010 Little Creatures, Director of Photography

Works in progress


By Water

Selected Screenings/ Exhibits

Selected Screenings/ Exhibits

Upcoming (2020):

•February 2020 

Maccarão (Writer, Director):Screening at AAMP (African American Museum Philadelphia) in conjunction with the exhibit In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity by MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora.

•April 2020 Presenter.  Black Women's Film Conference, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem


Directorial Screenings 

Works for which I was Director and/or additional roles 

Practice (Director, Co-Cinematographer, Editor)

Past  Screenings Practice

Visions du Réel 

AFI Docs

Chicago Underground Film Festival

AricaDocs (Chile)

Camden International Film Festival

Tacoma Film Festival

Shint Worldwide Short Film Festival

San Diego Asian Film Festival

Video Consortium (NYC, NY)

London Short Film Festival,

Museum of the Moving Image

Fargo Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

Las Palmas de Gran (Spain)

Salem Film Festival

BlackStar Film Festival

Concorto Film Festival (Italy)

New Orleans Film Festival

Bushwick Film Festival

Best of BlackStar @Colgate University

Nominations:London Short Film Festival Best Short Film, BlackStar Film Festival: Best Short Documentary

Awards: Received Helen Hill jury award


Macarrãro (Director, Writer, Editor)

Past Screenings Macarrão


•Rome International Film Festival(RIFF)

•Pan African Film Festival

•Zanzibar International Film Festival

•BlackStar Film Festival

• Newport Beach Film Festival

•Festival Du Film Salaam Kivo (Goma,Congo)

•Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Fest

•Palm Beach International Film Festival

 •UCSD Women Behind the Lens

      ​ Nominations:Student Academy Awards

Awards:BlackStar film Jury Prize Winner, Ousmane Sembene Jury Award (Zanzibar International Film Fest),BAFTA Shortlist, UCLA Spotlight Film Festival Director's Festival


Cinematography Screenings (SELCTED SCREENINGS)

Works for which I was Cinematographer or Co-Cinematographer (Production Team)


All Men Are Flowers (Dir. Shirley Kim-Ryu)
•Happy Food Night Market Film Screening Series 

•Festival de Cortos de Bogotá / Bogotá short film festival 

•Crown Heights Film Festival 

•Auburn International Film Festival 
Blue Bell Honor Award Nomination - Best Short Film Competition Category 

•MICA International Film Festival 
•Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF)

•Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival 

•32nd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival "DAUGHTERS RULE THE WORLD" SECTION
•APA Film Festival 
•65th Columbus International Film + Video Festival 

24th UCLA Film Festival 

Nominations: Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival, Best Dramatic Short and Best Cinematography
Awards: Best Cinematography UCLA Film Festival


Palenque (Dir. Sebastián Pinzón Silva)
•Locarno Festival 
•New Directors/New Films 
•Camden International Film Festival
•Festival dei Popoli 
•Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal 
•Portland International Film Festival 
•Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse
•Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias 
•New Adventures in Non-Fiction - Museum of the Moving Image 
•San Francisco International Film Festival
•Cine las Américas International Film Festival 
•Maryland Film Festival 
•Palm Springs ShortFest
•Curta Taquary 
•Doc Buenos Aires
•La Guarimba
•Festival de Curtas Belo Horizonte 
•Panorama del cine colombiano en París
•New Orleans Film Festival 


Maria Moderne (Dir. Shirley Kim-Ryu)

•Melnitz Students and Alumni Festival 
2014 FiloFest 

2013 Shorts Competition, New York Korean American Film Festival, New York

In The Palace International Short Film Festival, Varna, Bulgaria 

2013 Opening Night, UCLA Film Festival, Los Angeles, California