Rising director Dee Rees has much to celebrate today! After suffering many setbacks in getting her film “Pariah” shot and completed, Rees won “Breakthrough Director” at last night’s 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards and picked up two nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards this afternoon.

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The first nomination was for Adepero Oduye, who was nominated for her outstanding work as lead actress. Secondly, “Pariah” was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award which recognizes films made with a budget of $500K or less.

“Pariah” is Rees’ first film and received stellar reviews at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a film that follows a student named Alike who lives in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York as she actively embraces her sexuality while searching for a girlfriend, according to Focus Features. Alike’s development constantly becomes a topic of discussion among the family, but she is determined to express her identity.

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Dee Rees talks to Focus Films about the film name, “Each of the main characters is a ‘pariah.’ They all have their fears, desires, strengths and weaknesses, and isolations. One thing I definitely worked on in the writing was showing the characters’ struggles to connect, and their worlds away from their families -– where there are attitudes and expectations that they might not know how to handle.”

It stars Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, Sahra Meliesse and Pernell Walker.

The film will be in select theaters December 28th!


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