Nia DaCosta, a young and talented filmmaker, was first introduced to the Sundance Film Festival over a decade ago, where she watched two films about desperate, determined women. Both movies, Frozen River and Winter’s Bone, which won the U.S. Drama Grand Jury Prize at the festival, resonated with DaCosta and inspired her to pursue filmmaking. She subsequently sought out Sundance’s Screenwriters Lab, where she applied and was accepted, despite feeling she had no connections to the industry. Her gritty story of two sisters who survived in their rough North Dakota oil boomtown, Little Woods, was developed with the help of Sundance and went on to win the Nora Ephron Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.

DaCosta’s accomplishments did not end there. She went on to co-write and direct Candyman, the 2021 sequel to the 1992 horror film about a Black artist murdered for loving a white woman. The film debuted at number one, making DaCosta the first Black woman director to achieve that feat. She then went on to direct The Marvels, exploring the feminine soul through the lens of Carol Danvers, also known as Captain Marvel. In approaching the character as a human being rather than a superhero, DaCosta aims to delve deeper into her fears, motivations, and the weight of being the most powerful being in the universe.

Despite her early doubts about being accepted by Sundance, DaCosta’s success shows that talent and hard work can overcome any obstacle. As a Black woman filmmaker, DaCosta’s films portray worlds often ignored in mainstream media and amplify rarely heard voices. Her star is definitely on the rise.