Shola Lynch is an award-winning and acclaimed filmmaker. She holds a Master’s in American History and Public History Management from the University of California, Riverside as well as a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. She makes films about audacious women – and in particular black women.
She is best known for her documentaries Chisholm ‘72 – Unbought & Unbossed and Free Angela & All Political Prisoners. Chisholm ’72 follows Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s historic run for president in 1972 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS’s POV series. The film won two Independent Spirit Award nominations and a prestigious Peabody for excellence. Free Angela & All Political Prisoners received critical acclaim and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Excellence for Best Documentary Feature.
She has produced and scripted stories that have aired on BET, CNN, ESPN, HBO Sports, TV One, and PBS. In 2013, The Sundance Institute selected Shola as one of five women who show great promise to be mentored in their prestigious Women’s Filmmaker Initiative. In 2016, she was selected to the Documentary Jury of the Sundance Film Festival. Shola was also awarded a prestigious Creative Capital Award for her first scripted film – and the lead character is, of course, a black woman. Also in 2016, she was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In addition to her work in film, Shola is the Curator for the Moving Image & Recorded Sound Division archive at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Through the work of rediscovering this large collection, she hopes to inspire an army of storytellers from students and scholars to artists of all kinds.
She believes deeply in the value of preserving history and its power in storytelling.