Thomas Allen Harris, an award-winning Director, is the President of Chimpanzee Productions, a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality, including feature length films, performances and multimedia productions.
Chimpanzee’s innovative and acclaimed films - Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014), Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (2005), E Minha Cara/That’s My Face (2001), VINTAGE – Families of Value (1995), - have received critical acclaim at international film festivals including Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Frameline, FESPACO, Outfest, and Sithengi/Cape Town and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. Reviews of Harris’ work have appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Jay Z’s Life and Times, Variety The Advocate, among others. His last film started its theatrical run at Film Forum in New York City, August 27th.
Harris has received numerous awards including 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film, an Africa Movie Academy Award, American Library Association (ALA) Notable Videos for Adults, Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award, Tribeca All Access Nelson Mandela Award, United States Artist Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, as well as CPB/PBS and Sundance Directors Fellowships.
Harris’s work has been supported by Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, The Fledgling Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Creative Time Inc. and the Banff Centre.
His performance-based videos have been featured at prestigious museums including: the MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, the Long Beach Museum of Art and London Institute of the Arts.
In 2009 Harris launched Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, an innovative transmedia project that combines film, photography, social media and oral histories in a live touring event that unites communities by transforming strangers into family. DDFR encourages participants to critically rethink how they read and interpret the welter of images they encounter, while also highlighting the significance of their own family photographs as historical artifacts in the making. Digital Diaspora has held 36 Roadshows in 25-cities, with over 1000 participants, 5,000 live audience participants and received over 40,000 “Likes” and in excess of 10 million media impressions.
A graduate of Harvard College, Harris began his career producing for public television, where he was nominated for two Emmy Awards. Harris has taught and lectured widely on film and multimedia and has served on a number of juries, including: Tribeca Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards, POV American Documentary, and Full Frame. A published photographer, curator, and writer, Mr. Harris taught and lectured widely on film and the use of media as a tool for social change, including training students in UNESCO’s Pan-African Workshop for Professional Media Production in Ethiopia, and as a keynote speaker at the 61st Japanese Black Studies Association Conference in Japan.