Penelope Jagessar Chaffer is a Trinidadian multi award winning filmmaker and is the first female director of color to be nominated for a British Academy Award (BAFTA).
She has directed several well received pieces of work including the BBC's landmark interactive Shakespeare series “Shakespeare’s Stories”, which was also nominated for a BAFTA.
Starting her career at the BBC, she has won over 10 awards for her British television work, including 5 gold national and international Promax awards and is a double BAFTA, Royal Television Society and Grierson (British Documentary Awards) nominee. A documentary auteur, her films display a singularly unique perspective on the world we live in with The Observer newspaper in Britain calling her work “a joy to watch.”
In addition to her documentary work in traditional media, Penelope is developing her first feature AND her art increasingly explores the shifting new media paradigm as a multi-media, interactive pioneer, .
As one of the first journalists to explore the nexus of health, environment, chemical pollution and climate change, Penelope has testified before both the New York State and New York City environmental committees. Her work has been featured in US Vogue and she is the recipient of the prestigious “Mom On A Mission” award by Healthy Child, Healthy World, the non profit named by Vanity Fair magazine as one of Mrs. Michelle Obama’s two favorite charity organizations.
Penelope has given two well received TED talks, the first with Professor Tyrone Hayes on the effects of toxic chemicals on babies and children, which has been viewed almost half a million times and the second at the influential TEDxBrussels in the presence of members of the European Union Parliament.
She is currently developing a suite of apps and products that navigate and negate our exposure to environmental toxicity and is a member of New Inc., the New Museum's groundbreaking tech incubator for entrepreneurs operating at the crossroads of art and technology.
She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
photograph: Ramulas Burgess