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Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood (born June 10, 1969) is an American film director and screenwriter. She is known for directing the films ''
Love & Basketball ''Love & Basketball'' is a 2000 American romance film, romantic sports film, sports Drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (in her directorial debut). The film is produced by writer-director Spike Lee ...
'' (2000), ''
Disappearing Acts ''Disappearing Acts'' is a 2000 American made-for-television A television film is a feature film, feature-length motion picture that is produced and originally distributed by or to a television network, in contrast to theatrical films made exp ...
'' (2000), '' The Secret Life of Bees'' (2008), ''
Beyond the Lights ''Beyond the Lights'' is a 2014 American Romance film, romantic drama film directed and written by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Nate Parker, Danny Glover, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly (rapper), Machine Gun ...

Beyond the Lights
'' (2014), and '' The Old Guard'' (2020).


Early life

Prince-Bythewood was born in
Los Angeles, California Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...
, and adopted by Bob Prince, a computer programmer, and Maria Prince, a nurse, when she was 3 weeks old. Her adoptive father is white and her adoptive mother is of Salvadorian and German descent. She grew up in the white middle-class neighborhood of
Pacific Grove, California Pacific Grove is a coastal city in Monterey County, California Monterey County, officially the County of Monterey, is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L ...
. She has four siblings through her adoptive family. In 1987, Prince-Bythewood graduated from
Pacific Grove High School Pacific Grove High School (PGHS) is a public high school located in Pacific Grove, California, between Carmel, California, Carmel and Monterey, California, Monterey. History Pacific Grove, California, Pacific Grove formed the Pacific Grove Unifie ...
. She attended UCLA's film school, where she also ran competitive track. At UCLA, she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduates. She graduated in 1991. She sought out her birth mother around 2014, but it was "not a positive experience". Her birth mother, who is white, was a teenager when she gave her up for adoption, because her family knew her child would be multiracial and they wanted her to have an abortion.


Career

After five years working in TV as a writer on shows like ''
A Different World ''A Different World'' is an American sitcom A sitcom, Clipping (morphology), clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from episode to ...
'' and ''
South CentralSouth Central may refer to: Entertainment * South Central (film), ''South Central'' (film), a 1992 film starring Glenn Plummer * South Central (soundtrack), ''South Central'' (soundtrack), a soundtrack album from the film * South Central (TV series ...
,'' Prince-Bythewood wrote her first film, 2000's ''
Love & Basketball ''Love & Basketball'' is a 2000 American romance film, romantic sports film, sports Drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (in her directorial debut). The film is produced by writer-director Spike Lee ...
.'' The film was based on Prince-Bythewood’s personal life and her experiences growing up. It was developed at the
Sundance Institute Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization founded by Robert Redford committed to the growth of independent artists. The institute is driven by its programs that discover and support independent filmmakers, theatre artists and composers f ...
's directing and writing lab. The film won 12 awards and was nominated for three more. It won Best Film and Best Film Poster at the Black Reel Awards, and Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film also grossed $27.7 million worldwide, making it the ninth most popular basketball film in the United States at that time. She directed the feature film '' The Secret Life of Bees,'' adapted from the best-selling book by
Sue Monk Kidd Sue Monk Kidd (born August 12, 1948) is a writer from Sylvester, Georgia, USA, best known for her novels '' The Secret Life of Bees'' and ''The Invention of Wings''. Early life and education Kidd was born in Sylvester, Georgia, and attended loc ...
. It was released by Fox Searchlight in October 2008, and debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and Urbanworld Film Festival that same year. In 2014, Prince-Bythewood directed ''
Beyond the Lights ''Beyond the Lights'' is a 2014 American Romance film, romantic drama film directed and written by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Nate Parker, Danny Glover, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly (rapper), Machine Gun ...

Beyond the Lights
'', starring
Gugu Mbatha-Raw Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw (; born 21 April 1983) is an English actress. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA ) is a drama school in London, England, that provides vocational conservat ...
. Prince-Bythewood began work on the film in 2007, before work on 2008's ''The Secret Life of Bees'' was completed, but struggled to find financing when the original production company,
Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mult ...

Sony
, backed out after she insisted on casting Mbatha-Raw. The film premiered at the
2014 Toronto International Film Festival The 39th annual Toronto International Film Festival, the 39th event in the Toronto International Film Festival series, was held in Canada from 4–14 September 2014. David Dobkin (director), David Dobkin's film ''The Judge (2014 film), The Judg ...
. ''Beyond the Lights,'' originally called ''Blackbird,'' is based on the
Nina Simone Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and Civil rights movement, civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of ...

Nina Simone
song "Blackbird" from the record '' Nina Simone with Strings''. Prince-Bythewood said: "That song really inspired the movie and inspired Noni's story." The main character's story was loosely inspired by the lives of
Marilyn Monroe Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 4, 1962) was an American actress, model and singer. Famous for playing comedic " blonde bombshell" characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbol A sex ...

Marilyn Monroe
and
Judy Garland Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American actress and singer. She is widely known for playing the role of Dorothy Gale Dorothy Gale is a fictional character created by American author L. Frank Baum ...
. Prince-Bythewood also stated that the movie is filled with intense personal issues with some resulting from her own adoption and her fraught encounter with her birth mother. Prince-Bythewood did research with the assistance of a number of singers, including
Alicia Keys Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American singer-songwriter. A classically-trained pianist, Keys began composing songs by age 12 and was signed at 15 years old by Columbia Records Colu ...

Alicia Keys
. The story was also inspired by an experience seeing Keys play the song "
Diary A diary is a record (originally in handwritten format) with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, thoughts, and/or feelin ...
." Elements of the film, especially the sexualization of female pop artists, act as a "critique of American media culture." The film was shot in 29 days and cost $7 million. All of the key crew members on the film were women, including costume designer Sandra Hernandez, production designer Cecilia Montiel, cinematographer Tami Reiker, and editor Teri Shropshire. Other collaborators were choreographer Laurieann Gibson (
Lady Gaga Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta ( ; born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her image reinventions and musical versatility. Gaga began performing as a teenag ...

Lady Gaga
,
Katy Perry Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and television judge. Her music has been credited with influencing the pop Pop or POP may refer to: Places * Gregori ...

Katy Perry
,
Nicki Minaj Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj (), is a Trinidadian-born rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her animated flow Flow may refer to: Science and technology * ...

Nicki Minaj
), hairstylist Kimberly Kimble (
Beyoncé Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter ( ; ; born September 4, 1981) is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Houston, Texas Houston ( ) is the most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitu ...
), and record producer
The-Dream Terius Youngdell Nash (born September 20, 1977), better known by his stage name The-Dream, is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. His co-writing credits include songs with "Me Against the Music "Me Against the Music" is a so ...
. In 2016 Prince-Bythewood announced her next project would be an adaptation of
Roxane Gay Roxane Gay (born October 15, 1974) is an American writer, professor, editor, and social commentator. Gay is the author of ''The New York Times'' best-selling essay collection ''Bad Feminist'' (2014), as well as the short story collection ''Ayiti' ...
's novel ''
An Untamed State ''An Untamed State'' is the debut novel of writer Roxane Gay, first published in 2014 by Grove Atlantic. Plot Mireille Duval Jameson is born and raised in the United States, her parents are from Haitian descent. Her parents move back to Haiti. Whi ...
''. The project would be co-written by herself and Gay and would star Gugu Mbatha-Raw. In 2017 Prince-Bythewood, along with her husband
Reggie Rock Bythewood Reggie Rock Bythewood (born July 7, 1965) is an American film director, writer, actor, and producer. Life and career Bythewood grew up in The Bronx, New York City. He loved going to the movies and to Yankees games with his father. However, his m ...
, created the show '' Shots Fired'' for Fox. Later that year, Prince-Bythewood was announced as the director for '' Silver & Black'', a movie based on
Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company The Walt D ...
characters
Silver Sable Silver Sable (Silvija Sablinova) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is usually depicted as a mercenary, hunter of war criminals, leader of the Wild Pack, and owner of Silver Sable Internati ...
and
Black Cat A black cat is a Cat, domestic cat with black fur that may be a mixed or specific Purebred, breed, or a common domestic cat of no particular breed. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) recognizes 22 cat breeds that can come with solid black coats ...
. She wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of the novel '' Before I Fall'' by Lauren Oliver. The film had an estimated $12,498,674 worldwide box office take by March 2017 after its release date (January 21, 2017). She directed the 2020 film adaptation of
Greg Rucka Gregory Rucka (born November 29, 1969) is an American comic book writer, screenwriter, and novelist. He is known for his work on well-known comics such as ''Action Comics ''Action Comics'' is an American comic book/magazine A magazine is a ...
's '' The Old Guard'' for
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
, starring
Charlize Theron Charlize Theron ( ; ; born 7 August 1975) is a South African and American actress and producer. One of the world's highest-paid actresses, Theron is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award The Academy Awards, p ...
and
KiKi Layne Kiandra "KiKi" Layne (born December 10, 1991) is an American actress. She is best known for her starring roles in such films as the romantic drama '' If Beale Street Could Talk'' (2018), the drama ''Native Son ''Native Son'' (1940) is a novel w ...
. She is the first biracial black woman to make a comic-book film. In 2020, she and her husband signed a deal with
Touchstone Television The second incarnation of Touchstone Television (formerly known as Fox 21 Television Studios) was an American television production company that is a subsidiary of Disney Media Networks The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney () ...
to produce their output using the banner "Undisputed Cinema." Prince-Bythewood is currently working on directing TriStar Pictures epic ''
The Woman King "The Woman King" is the fourteenth episode of the third season from the science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Scien ...
'', a feature inspired by true events that took place in the Kingdom of
Dahomey The Kingdom of Dahomey () was a List of kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa, West African kingdom located within present-day Benin that existed from approximately 1600 until 1904. Dahomey developed on the Abomey Plateau amongst the Fon people in th ...
, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, ''The Woman King'' tells the story of Nanisca (
Viola Davis Viola Davis (born August 11, 1965) is an American actress and producer. The recipient of an Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film i ...

Viola Davis
), general of the all-female military unit known as the Amazons, and her daughter, Nawi, who together fought the French and neighboring tribes who violated their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for. She also directed the first episode of ABC's '' Women of the Movement''. In March 2021, Prince-Bythewood took on a new role as Co-Chair of the
Directors Guild of America The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is an entertainment guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objec ...
African American Steering Committee (AASC). Working alongside Director Jeffrey W. Byrd, Prince-Bythewood will be addressing needs of the African American members of the Guild such as job creation and career advancement in this new position. On August 26, It was announced that because of Prince-Bythewood's commitments to other projects, she would not direct '' The Old Guard 2'' and will be replaced by Victoria Mahoney. Prince-Bythewood will remain as producer on the film.


Personal life

In 1998 Prince-Bythewood married film director and writer
Reggie Rock Bythewood Reggie Rock Bythewood (born July 7, 1965) is an American film director, writer, actor, and producer. Life and career Bythewood grew up in The Bronx, New York City. He loved going to the movies and to Yankees games with his father. However, his m ...
, whom she met on the writing staff of ''
A Different World ''A Different World'' is an American sitcom A sitcom, Clipping (morphology), clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from episode to ...
.'' The couple have two sons, Cassius and Toussaint, and live in
Southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million resi ...

Southern California
. Along with friends
Mara Brock Akil Mara Brock Akil (born Mara Dionne Brock; May 27, 1970) is an American screenwriter and television producer. She created the UPN comedy series ''Girlfriends (2000 TV series), Girlfriends'' (2000–2008) and its spin-off ''The Game (American TV se ...

Mara Brock Akil
, Sara Finney Johnson and Felicia D. Henderson, Prince-Bythewood endows The Four Sisters Scholarship.


Filmography


Film

Producer * ''
Biker Boyz ''Biker Boyz'' is a 2003 American sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each ...
'' (2003) * '' The Old Guard 2'' (TBA)


Television


Shorts


Awards

* ''
Love & Basketball ''Love & Basketball'' is a 2000 American romance film, romantic sports film, sports Drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (in her feature film List of directorial debuts, directorial debut). The fil ...
'' –
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay The Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay is one of the annual awards given by the Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent film and independent filmmakers. Wins and nominations 1990s 1994 * David O. Russe ...
*''
Love & Basketball ''Love & Basketball'' is a 2000 American romance film, romantic sports film, sports Drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (in her feature film List of directorial debuts, directorial debut). The fil ...
'' –
Humanitas Prize The Humanitas Prize is an award for film and television writing intended to promote human dignity, meaning, and freedom. It began in 1974 with Father Ellwood "Bud" Kieser—also the founder of Paulist Productions—but is generally not see ...
*''
What About Your Friends "What About Your Friends" is TLC (group), TLC's third single from their debut album, ''Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip''. It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, ''Billboard'' Hot 100, becoming the group's third consecutive top-ten single. The single ...
'' –
NAACP Image Award The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards ceremony presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights ...


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Prince-Bythewood, Gina 1969 births African-American film directors African-American screenwriters Screenwriters from California American adoptees
American television writers :''For several topics related to American television writers, see :Writers Guild of America...'' {{CatAutoTOC ...
American women film directors Independent Spirit Award winners UCLA Film School alumni
Living people Related categories * :Year of birth missing (living people) / :Year of birth unknown * :Date of birth missing (living people) / :Date of birth unknown * :Place of birth missing (living people) / :Place of birth unknown * :Year of death mi ...
American women screenwriters American women television writers
Place of birth missing (living people) This category is intended to be placed in the biographical entries of living people whose place of birth is not indicated. For people in :Possibly living people and historically recent individuals who are no longer alive, please use :Place of birt ...
People from Pacific Grove, California Film directors from California 21st-century African-American writers 21st-century African-American women 20th-century African-American writers 20th-century African-American women African-American women writers 20th-century American screenwriters 20th-century American women writers 21st-century American screenwriters 21st-century American women writers