Crystal Kayiza was raised in Oklahoma and is now a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker. Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, her work focuses on pursuing more nuanced storytelling about the African Diaspora. She is a recipient of the 2017 Jacob Burns Film Center Woman Filmmaker Fellowship and 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellowship. As a Woman Filmmaker Fellow she directed and produced, Edgecombe, a short documentary examining the ways trauma repeats and reinvents itself in a rural Black community in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. The film was an official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
After graduating from Ithaca College in 2015 with a degree in Documentary Studies and Production, Crystal spent two years at the ACLU working on racial justice and criminal justice issues. She received a Heartland Emmy Award for her film, All That Remains, which profiles Boley, Oklahoma, one of the nation’s last all-Black towns.