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 is the founder and president of Pureland Pictures. Her work has been lauded by publications such as the New York Times for gaining unprecedented access into hidden worlds and taking an honest approach to delicate subject matter. She has produced and directed documentaries for networks such as PBS, The Oprah Winfrey Network, MTV, Showtime and the Sundance Channel. She also directs documentary-style commercial campaigns, most recently for Johnson & Johnson.

Abt’s first documentary, “Take It From Me,” is about the human impact of welfare reform. She created the film when she was a 23-year-old caseworker in New York City and it aired nationwide on PBS as part of the highly acclaimed P.O.V. series’ 2001 season. In 2004, Abt received her MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University’s graduate film school. Her thesis film was created when she was awarded a yearlong Fulbright fellowship 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 in 2010 by Strand Releasing. Recent feature projects include “True To The Game,” a screen adaptation of the New York Times bestseller commisioned by producer Troy Carter, and “Audrey’s Run,” currently in development (Paula Patton and Mike Epps are attached to star, Abt will direct). In addition, Abt produced/directed an episode of “Love/Lust” for the Sundance Channel.

Abt teaches narrative and documentary filmmaking at Princeton University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

Winning Project: All Of Us


“All of Us,” Pureland’s second documentary, explored the growing and disproportionate rate of HIV among African-American women by following the research of Mehret Mandefro, a medical resident in the South Bronx. Pureland received more grants for this film, with contributions from the Independent Feature Project, the New York State Council (2008), The Adrienne Shelley Foundation (2008), the Women In Film Finishing Fund (2008), The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund (2007), the Open Meadows Foundation (2007), The Valentine Foundation (2007), the International Women’s Health Collection (2007), and The Swanee Hunt Family Foundation (2006). “All of Us” aired nationwide on the Showtime Network where it was selected as their World AIDS Day film. The film was also theatrically released in New York City and garnered rave reviews from many critics such as Nathan Lee of the New York Times who called it “a striking feminist inquiry.”

“All of Us,” 2008

Currently in Production:

“Daddy Don’t Go” //