Thomas Allen

Thomas Allen Harris
Filmmaker and Performer
Greenwood Lake, NY
2006 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Thomas Allen Harris produces experimental documentaries that are autobiographical. These very personal films explore, in his words, “issues of identity, family, and desire in the context of the larger African Diasporic Community.” Harris was born in the Bronx but grew up in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. His Paulding African Trilogy is a series of films about his experiences growing up in a Pan-African household. The much-acclaimedTwelve Disciples of Nelson Mandelarecounts the story of his stepfather, who was a member of the African National Congress in exile during the 1960s. Harris received a degree in biology from Harvard University in 1984 before beginning a brief career as a journalist. His films have been screened at major international film festivals. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, NYSCA, the Paul Robeson Fund, and the Jerome Foundation, and his films have received support from the Ford Foundation.

Portrait photo courtesy Chimpanzee Productions.
  • Artwork by Thomas Allen Harris
    The Twelve Burn their Passbooks, dramatic portrayal from Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela; photo courtesy Hein Du Plessis
Artwork by Thomas Allen Harris