MacArthur “Genius Grant” Recipient Directed Recent HBO series, “Mind over Murder”

Nanfu Wang
Documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang. Photo courtesy of the Vilcek Foundation/Peter Hurley.

Nanfu Wang, an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose works include “One Child Nation,” which examined the history of China’s one-child policy, and the HBO series “Mind over Murder,” will join the faculty of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute as a Distinguished Journalist in Residence.

“Nanfu Wang stands out because of her tenacity, authenticity, ethics, and vision,” says Marcia Rock, director of the Carter Journalism Institute’s News and Documentary program. “Producing documentaries in China carries risks and requires bravery and resourcefulness. She has both. Wang finds a way to tell a Chinese story that resonates with audiences in the West, with a focus on human rights that crosses all borders.”

Wang, whose appointment in the News and Documentary program begins in the fall of 2023, will teach courses, including a newly created class, “Reporting in Closed Societies/Communities.” The class will explore the challenges of reporting in such environments with discussions on practical skills and ethical considerations for covering these stories by viewing works by Wang and others, including documentaries on Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. Other filmmakers will participate as guest speakers to provide their insights into their processes.

A 2014 graduate of the Carter Journalism Institute’s News and Documentary master’s program, Wang has won two Peabody Awards, a George Polk Award, a MacArthur Genius grant, and a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Filmmaking, which is awarded to rising immigrant filmmakers. She has also been shortlisted for three Academy Awards and received seven Emmy nominations. Her first feature documentary, “Hooligan Sparrow,” stemmed from her NYU thesis project.

In addition to “One Child Nation,” which was the Grand Jury Prize winner at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and “Hooligan Sparrow,” Wang’s feature documentaries include “I Am Another You,” which was a Special Jury Prize winner at the 2017 South by Southwest Film and TV Festival, and “In the Same Breath.” She was the director and executive producer of “Mind Over Murder,” a six-part documentary series that received an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Born in a farming village in China’s Jiangxi Province, Wang also holds master’s degrees from Shanghai University and Ohio University.    

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; has 12 other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra; and both sends more students to study abroad and educates more international students than any other U.S. college or university. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU is a leader in conducting research and providing education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and professional studies, among other areas.


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