Visual Arts Past Faculty

Emily Abt

Emily Abt headshot

Photo From the Adrienne Shelly Foundation


Selected as one of Variety magazine’s “Top 10 Directors to Watch,” Emily Abt is an award-winning filmmaker dedicated to creating fiction and documentary projects with social-issue themes. She has produced content for broadcast on PBS, MTV, Showtime and the Sundance Channel and also directs documentary-style commercial campaigns, most recently for Johnson & Johnson. Recent feature projects include True To The Game, a screen adaptation of the New York Timesbestseller about the girlfriend of a drug dealer during the crack epidemic, and Audrey’s Run, a political thriller Abt wrote and will direct with Paula Patton attached as star actor/producer. Abt is also developing a documentary titledDaddy Don’t Go, which will follow three young men in Brooklyn as they struggle to be good fathers.

Abt's first feature film, Take It From Me, was made while Abt was a caseworker in New York City and documents the human impact of welfare reform. It aired nationwide on PBS as part of the 2001 season of P.O.V. Abt earned an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University's graduate film school in 2004. Her thesis film was created with the support of a Fulbright fellowship, which allowed her to live in London and collaborate with local Muslim girls. All Of Us, her second documentary feature, was about a young doctor's fight against HIV/AIDS among black women and was the Showtime Network’s World AIDS Day film in 2008. Abt’s first narrative feature, Toe To Toe, which she wrote, directed and co-produced, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was released nationwide by Strand. New York Times’ film critic A.O. Scott lauded the film as “an unusually honest, compassionate and challenging view of contemporary youth.”

Abt began teaching film courses at Princeton in 2009 and is now teaching a documentary filmmaking course. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Shamik Dasgupta and their daughters, Dylan and Elowyn.

Toe to Toe Trailer

Toe to Toe in the News

Emily Abt, “Toe to Toe”: Privelege, Responsibility, and Public Service, interview with IndieWire, January 13, 2009

The New York Times review of the film

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Lewis Center for the Arts
185 Nassau Street

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