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      Justin Simien

      Justin Simien

      Highest Rated: 91% Dear White People (2014)

      Lowest Rated: 37% Haunted Mansion (2023)

      Birthday: May 7, 1983

      Birthplace: Houston, Texas, USA

      Growing up in Houston Texas, Justin Simien recalled that his earliest friends at the magnet schools he attended were of such diverse races that they looked like they could have posed for an ad for the '80s clothing company Benetton. Going from that diverse community to Chapman University in Orange County, California, a school whose student body was overwhelmingly conservative, protestant and Caucasian was a shock for him. He often said that this transition was the beginning of his work on his landmark breakout film, the racial satire "Dear White People" (2014). What began as a Twitter commentary, a snide and caustic statement on white perceptions of black people, would become a funny, controversial film that would put Justin Simien on the map. But first he had to get there. He started as a publicist and marketing specialist for such entertainment companies as Paramount Pictures and Sony Films. His trailers for the films were noticed and he left marketing to take a chance in independent film development. It was during this period, in 2005, that Simien started on his first draft of "Dear White People" while developing his chops with a new series of short films, this time on the web. His editing skills came into play with "Rings," a short he did in 2006 that first got the attention of other filmmakers. By 2009 he had graduated to a web-based series of shorts, "Instant Messaging." Still working on his film idea, he continued to use Twitter to get feedback on his "Dear White People" script. The success of the short web films gave Simien the confidence to move forward with "Dear White People." Finding the funding to produce a feature-length film that was a satirical look at race relations wouldn't be easy, so he turned once again to the web, this time for funding. His Indiegogo campaign went viral and he was able to raise close to twice the funds he needed. The publicity from his campaign also helped to launch the film. It went on to be nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent at the Sundance Film Festival, amongst others.


      Justin Simien, winner of the Best First Screenplay Award for DEAR WHITE PEOPLE in the press room for 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards 2015 - Press Room, Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, CA February 21, 2015. Photo By: James Atoa/Everett Collection DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, from left: Tessa Thompson, director Justin Simien, on set, 2014. ph: Ashley Nguyen/©Roadside Attractions DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, director Justin Simien, on set, 2014. ph: Ashley Nguyen/©Roadside Attractions



      37% 84% Haunted Mansion Director $67.6M 2023
      63% 39% Bad Hair Director,
      - 2020
      91% 61% Dear White People Director,
      $4.4M 2014


      100% 80% Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop Executive Producer 2023
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Celebrity Family Feud Guest 2023
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen Guest 2021
      88% 39% Dear White People Creator,
      Executive Producer,
      2017-2019 2021
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter Guest 2018
      75% No Score Yet The Opposition With Jordan Klepper Guest 2018
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Colbert Report Guest 2014
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Tavis Smiley Guest 2014