Skip to content

Nikyatu Jusu on Her Sundance-winning and Reimagining the Horror Genre 

Groundbreaking in several respects, a film by a Sierra Leonean-American recently captured the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Written, produced, and directed by Nikyatu Jusu, the film marks the second time that a black woman has won the prize, and the first that it’s been awarded to a horror film. Nanny has Anna Diop (Titans) in a star-making performance as a single mother who becomes unmoored while seeking the promise of the American dream. Diop’s Aisha is haunted by popular figures from West African mythology, such as the trickster, Anansi the Spider and the terrifying siren, Mami Water, even as she endures indignities at work. The only thing keeping her going is her resolve to bring her son over from Senegal to the United States. The film is a visual delight with Jusu’s singular vision through the crisp photography and the brilliant, beautiful ways in which she and her DOP light up the Black actors. It is certainly obvious the amounts of thought and detail that has gone into making every single frame.