Oakland, CA


Nijla is a writer and filmmaker whose artistic background spans poetry, photography, short fiction, dance, and film criticism. Hailing from the East Bay Area, she tells stories about black girls and women who find themselves between worlds and identities. Her short films have screened at festivals and venues across the country, including the Pan African Film Festival, Outfest, and BAMcinématek . She has written for Shadow & Act, Bitch Media, The Los Angeles Times, and Vice. She is the recipient of the 2012 Princess Grace Foundation- Cary Grant Award for her short film, Deluge. Recently, she was one of 10 writers selected for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive. She was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the 2014 Urbanworld Film Festival, for her script Noor. She is a 2013 dual-degree graduate of CalArts MFA Film Directing and Writing Programs. She is currently developing her first feature film, Jinn. In 2016, she raised over $25,000 through Kickstarter for the project, and was selected to attend Film Independent’s Fast Track program.


Featured Works



After witnessing the mass drowning of her friends and struggling with the decision not to jump in, 15-year old Tiana must decide if she will join the order of black mermaids that protect the waters where her friends rest. This film is partly inspired by the 2010 mass drowning of six black teens in a Shreveport, Louisiana sinkhole. None of them could swim. The film blends coming of age drama and fantasy to explore traumatic memory in a post- BP oil spill New Orleans.


Sometimes what the road takes, can't be reclaimed.
A 12-year-old girl strives to rekindle her parent’s dwindling romance at her desert town’s annual carnival, and learns painful lessons about love in the process. Adapted from Nijla Mu'min's short story, "The Carnival," this bittersweet family drama looks at dream and reality in the mind of a developing girl who waits for her truck-driving father to come home.