Lewis Center Past Fellows
Afia Serena Nathaniel
Computer-scientist-turned-filmmaker, Afia loves pushing the boundaries of narrative cinema. Afia’s debut feature film DUKHTAR (Daughter) premiered at Toronto in 2014 and was Pakistan’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards®. The film has played to critical acclaim in over 20 countries and became a Critics’ Pick New York 2015 and the People Magazine’s Pick of the Week, winning several awards along the way. Afia has been featured in Variety, New York Times, Indiewire, NPR, Huffington Post and Screen Daily. Variety says, “Nathaniel proves her mettle in a national industry where distaff directors are rare”, with Indiewire labeling DUKHTAR as “groundbreaking” and LA Times calling it a “gorgeous, suspenseful cinematic achievement.” She has been featured on Fox 5 as “Women who shape the future.” Afia is the recipient of the Adrienne Shelly Award for Directors and was nominated for a 2013 Gotham Award. She is a NYFA Fellow, World Studio Foundation Fellow, AAUW International Fellow, James Wolfensohn Fellow (MMMF), recipient of a Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant and Ezra Litwak Award for Distinction in Screenwriting. Born and raised in Pakistan, Afia is now settled in New York. She has taught screenwriting at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.