Talibah Lateefah Newman was planted, watered, and home grown in Dallas, Texas. She is a writer–director and a 2013 graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program for film directing. Talibah is the eldest of five and discovered her passion of filmmaking through writing short stories and shooting short films with her family at the tender age of 11. Talibah graduated from the Hockaday School of Dallas, Texas and went on to attend Columbia University’s undergraduate program majoring in film studies, African American studies, and creative writing. Post undergrad, she braved New York City landing several internships and production jobs in her field with companies such as Ted Hope’s This is That Production Company, Jonathan Demme’s Clinica Estetico, Malcolm Lee’s Blackmaled Productions and Optomen Productions. While devoting long hours to her internships she worked tirelessly on a short film about her late Grandfather and acclaimed jazz musician, David Fathead Newman, titled American Treasure.
As an M.F.A. student Talibah sought to tell stories of familial relationships, precocious children, single character journeys into recreating identity, the complicated mosaic of religion and faith, and redefining race. Her films tackle the inner workings of family units as she seeks to discover the essence of what makes familial love last and replicate her own personal experiences with her family.
Her films Our Father, Alterations , Busted on Brigham Lane and Sweet Honey Chile’ are a testament to her mission and fervor as a budding director and writer. In addition to her narrative directorial work, Talibah is also helming a documentary titled Hair Once Sacred, which chronicles her mother’s life work and activism as a natural hair care stylist in Dallas, Texas who was arrested for practicing the ancestral art of hair braiding. When not directing, Talibah continues to chisel several feature film projects including a script titled Special, Based on The Dropout By Joseph Mathews, which is the coming of age story of a young African American boy who was unjustly placed in special education from the time he was in third grade until he decided to take control of his life and drop out. In addition, Ms. Newman has released season one of a comedic webseries titled Famous Farrah on Youtube and is currently chiseling her directorial debut feature script and working on an original television pilot.
Talibah is the 2012 Director’s Guild of America winner in the African American Category for her film Busted on Brigham Lane, which was acquired by HBO for exhibition in 2012. Talibah’s Films have screened at the Bahamas International Film Festival, Urban World Film Festival, The Chicago Black Harvest Film Festival, The Palm Springs LGBT Film Festival, The American Black Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, The Undergound Film Festival in Minneapolis, The Pan African Film Festival, Rooftop Film Festival, and many more. In addition, she is a Princess Grace Honorarium awardee as well as an Adrienne Shelly Foundation Awardee for her thesis film Sweet Honey Chile’, which was awarded best short film of 2013 at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and will be exhibited on HBO starting February of 2014.
Through film and writing, Talibah seeks to spread hope and healing to those who need it the most.