Laurens [pronounced La-RENZ] Grant is a three-time Emmy and Peabody award winning documentary filmmaker, and former Sundance Institute Fellow. She is a voting member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - Documentary Branch, and the Television Academy - Emmys. She was recently invited to join the Academy’s Screening Committee, and the Television Academy’s Documentary Peer Group Executive Committee.
Most recently, Grant was a Story Consultant on the 3-hour sports documentary series Shut Up & Dribble [Showtime], Executive Produced by LeBron James. Grant is also a consulting producer on the documentaries United Skates, Mr. SOUL!, and TheRape of Recy Taylor.
Her previous work includes The Nineties (CNN), where she produced and directed the episodes Can We All Get Along? (ACE editing award nominee), and New World Order. Grant also directed and produced Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement (BET), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Grant produced The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution for Independent Lens (PBS), the most watched documentary ever on that series and also selected as one of the Top 5 Documentaries of 2015 by the National Board of Review. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Grant directed Jesse Owens, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Research and received two additional Emmy nominations. The film influenced the Hollywood movie Race with Stephan James [If Beale Street Could Talk] and William Hurt. Grant produced Freedom Riders, the winner of three Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. The documentary influenced the Hollywood film Selma, and clips were used in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Before working in documentary, Grant was a freelance foreign correspondent based in Mexico City and Panama, Central America, writing for various US-based newspapers including Newsweek, The San Francisco Examiner and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She was also a stringer correspondent for Reuters, heading up their Panama bureau.
Grant has also directed short films for non-profits on the bail system in America; reforming America’s high schools; and educational programs in Haiti and the Somali region of Ethiopia.
Grant received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism with a major concentration in French language and literature. Grant also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, from Governors State University, Illinois.