Selected as one of Variety Magazine's '2009 Top 10 Directors to Watch' as well as Paper Magazine's 'Unhollywood 10 to Watch', Emily Abt is an award-winning filmmaker dedicated to creating both fiction and documentary projects. She is also the president of Pureland Pictures Inc., a Brooklyn based production company.
Abt's first film, “Take it From Me”, a documentary about the human impact of welfare reform that she created when she was a caseworker in New York City, aired nationwide on PBS as part of the 2001 season of P.O.V. In 2004 Abt received her MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University's graduate film school. Her thesis film was created when she was awarded a year-long Fulbright fellowship to live in London and collaborate with local Muslim girls. “All of Us”, her second documentary feature, was about a young doctor's fight against HIV/AIDS among black women and was the Showtime Network's World AIDS Day film in 2008.
Abt's first narrative feature, “Toe to Toe”, which she wrote, directed and co-produced, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Strand Releasing. In his glowing review, A.O. Scott of the New York Times had this to say about the film: "Ms. Abt provides an unusually honest, compassionate and challenging view of contemporary youth...this film's ethical seriousness is distinctive."
During her 13-year career as an independent filmmaker, Abt has also worked as a commercial director for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Bloomingdale's, MTV News & Docs, Real Branding, True Entertainment and Grey Advertising. Abt has received production grants from diverse sources including the Independent Feature Project (IFP), New York State Council on the Arts, The Adrienne Shelley Foundation, Women in Film Finishing Fund, The UK Fulbright Commission, Jerome Foundation, North Star Fund, The Playboy Foundation, the Lucius & Eva Eastman Fund, Open Meadows Foundation, The Valentine Foundation, International Women's Health Coalition, The Swanee Hunt Family Foundation and the Third Wave Foundation.
Abt also teaches Social-Issue Filmmaking at Princeton University.