Barry Jenkins
Clint Spaulding/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
United States



Director / Writer

Putting aside the monster success of “Moonlight” on the awards circuit, the future of Barry Jenkins didn’t seem assured until very recently. Since graduating from Florida State University, where he experimented with helming short films, the road to Oscar was not traveled quickly.

While his first feature, 2008’s “Medicine for Melancholy,” was well received by critics, Jenkins didn’t exactly hurtle toward the many accolades he would later receive for “Moonlight.” He worked as a carpenter and in advertising while toiling to get his next projects made, including a lesser known 2011 work, “Remigration.”

But when Jenkins took on the cinematic adaptation of a play by fellow Miami native Tarell McCraney, momentum swung behind his career. With the backing of Plan B Productions, “Moonlight” emerged as a hot property at the Telluride Film Festival. As the performances of actors like eventual Oscar winner Mahershala Ali drew notice, Jenkins became a magnet for attention in his own right.

With a best picture statuette in hand, Jenkins is well set up for a long career. He has helmed an episode of the Netflix series “Dear White People,” and he’s set to direct an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” for Annapurna Pictures.




  • Florida State University (FL, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 10 Directors to Watch

News from Variety

Barry Jenkins' New Film Finds Lead in Newcomer Kiki Layne (EXCLUSIVE)

Barry Jenkins' New Film Finds Lead in Newcomer Kiki Layne (EXCLUSIVE)

Kiki Layne will play the lead role of Tish in Barry Jenkins and Annapurna's adaptation of James Baldwin's novel "If Beale Street Could Talk," sources tell Variety.The filmmakers auditioned more than 300 women for the role and began their search in earnest earlier this summer. Layne, who auditioned in recent weeks, immediately won over Jenkins, who was blown away by her reading."We saw hundreds of young women and while many were artists with gifts we admired, Kiki Layne's ability to...


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