Contessa Gayles

Contessa Gayles is an independent documentary filmmaker, an award-winning journalist and an Emmy-nominated producer. She tells stories about identity, movement and social change, with a focus on race, ethnicity and gender. From 2014 - 2018, she was a producer at CNN, where she created, produced, directed, shot and edited award-winning original series and documentaries, including her first feature film, 'The Feminist on Cellblock Y' (2018 Vera Institute Award Winner, 2018 Eppy Award Finalist), 'Women Who March' (2018 Webby Award Honoree, 2017 Eppy Award Finalist), 'Women Who March: The Movement' (2018 Eppy Award Winner), 'This Is Birth with Lisa Ling' & 'This Is Sex with Lisa Ling' (2017 & 2018 Namic Vision Award Nominees) and the 2016 News & Documentary Emmy-nominated 'Feeding America's Most Vulnerable Children.' She has additionally contributed to VICE, PBS NewsHour, PBS Frontline, AFROPUNK and forthcoming independent documentary features, including 'Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project' (dir. Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster), 'Surge' (dir. Hannah Rosenzweig, Wendy Sachs) and 'Black Mothers' (dir. Débora Souza Silva). Contessa holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, with a concentration in Documentary Film. Her thesis documentary, School of Yoga, screened at the 2015 DOC NYC film festival.