Sian’s powerful and refined style reflects the emotional authenticity of the subjects and subcultures she naturalistically dramatizes through her films, lifting characters typically unseen, and unheard, into the light of her visceral stories, honoring their courage, and celebrating their independent spirit.
Sian’s newest feature, CODA, received the Academy Award for Best Picture as well as Best Adapted Screenplay. Resetting the bar for the highest-selling independent film in Sundance history, CODA was purchased by Apple for $25 million after winning the 2021 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Award and the Directing Award. CODA (an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults) tells the story of the sole hearing member of a deaf family. Through her incredible storytelling and sensitive direction, Sian celebrates how expressions of love and devotion are shared between families, inspiring her characters to find the depths of their own strength.
These powerful themes can be found in Sian’s first feature film Tallulah, which she wrote and directed, following a young woman, played by Academy Award nominee Elliot Page, who moves in with her ex-boyfriend’s mother, played by Academy Award winner Allison Janney, to help raise a baby. Equally prolific in television, Sian wrote and directed the groundbreaking Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, for which she earned three WGA Award nominations, and is a writer, director and executive producer on the Apple TV+ series Little America. Sian has also directed episodes of shows that have included Hulu’s The Path, Netlflix’s GLOW and Showtime’s Queen Fur.
From her award-winning films, to her seminal work in television, Sian’s unique contemporary characters, their one-of-a-kind stories and circumstances, elegantly echo archetypal narratives understood and relatable to universal audiences. Sian is set to produce and direct Being Heumann for Apple Original Films, which she is adapting from the bestselling memoir by Judy Heumann, and is also slated to adapt and direct the feature film The Impossible Us, based on Sarah Lotz’s eponymous upcoming novel.