Azza Cohen (she/her) is a documentary filmmaker and historian from Highland Park, IL., grateful to be at Stanford as a 2020 Knight-Hennessy Scholar.
Azza earned her bachelor’s in history from Princeton University, where she was awarded the Glickman Memorial Prize for inventive use of filmmaking for public service. She then earned a master’s in Culture & Colonialism from the National University of Ireland, Galway as a George J. Mitchell Scholar. Azza is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar.
Azza’s first film, Refugee, Refugee, is a micro documentary profiling a Rwandan refugee adjusting to life in Trenton, NJ. This film was produced for a class taught by Stanford alumna Purcell Carson, who inspired her to believe in the power of moving images to catalyze social and political change.
As director, her most recent film Specks of Dust follows a group of activists fighting human trafficking in India. It garnered awards and funding from the Kathryn Davis Foundation, Dalai Lama Fellows, and New York Women in Film & Television, and has been used as part of curricula on human rights and gender studies in high schools and universities around the world.
During her graduate studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway, she traveled along the Ireland-Northern Ireland border in the wake of the ‘Brexit’ vote, creating a multimedia dissertation about border towns. This work solidified her desire to use documentary film as a means of interrogating borders -- physical, international, emotional -- and providing a visual medium for people to engage with others on “the other side” of the borders dividing many communities.
At Stanford, she is eager to ask questions of documentary film ethics, explore new methods of collaborative documentary filmmaking, and join a community of devoted storytellers.