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Zoey Martinson is an award winning writer/ director in film and theater. Her work focus's on nuanced stories from the Diasporia. Born on the Menominee Nation then lived in Africa, London and the USA has given her work a unique lens into the stories she tells. Her theater company Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative creates work around social justice themes and has toured internationally presenting  and organizing Arts Missions for the United States Consulate General.

Her short film The Fisherman, shot in Ghana won the Programmer's Award Short Narrative at the PAFF 2019, finalist HBO Shorts at ABFF, Cinquest, Brussels Short Film Festival, Winner of Diversity in Cannes 2020. The Fisherman is streaming on HBO Max. She was commissioned by Tribeca Studio’s to create the short Cupids, for their 8:46Films premiering at Tribeca Film Festival 2021, airing on BET & CBS moderated by Gayle King. 8:46Films was nominated for an NAACP Image Award 2022. Writer & Director of "Incomplete" for Hulu's Bite Sized Halloween, Directed season 2 episodes 1-6 of Ziwe for A24 on Showtime, TV Movie “Uthandiwe” for South Africa’s DSTV MzansiMagic, Directed an episode of Disney Discovers Talent for ABC Disney, Writer for season 2 of Betty, HBO Max. Her award winning short film ‘La Oposición’ played at Casa Mexico Program SXSW 2019, distributed by Aspire TV.

She got her start in theater as a commedia dell'arte street performer around Europe and directing at UCB (Uprights Citizens Brigade) in NYC. Her play Olityelwe won the NYCFringe award for best play and ran off broadway 59E59 Street Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, then toured to South Africa and the UK. Skype Duet won the 100 Grand award at HAU2 Theater, Berlin then toured Europe and Australia. Her play The Alien Nation was workshopped at Lincoln Center Education and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). Directed the world premiere of Gutting by Jeremy Kamps at the National Black Theater / Company Cypher. Created/Directed interactive  #HashtagProject at the Transmediale Festival in Berlin. Her musical Dreamer commissioned by The Kennedy Center, workshopped at South African State Theater.  Director/ Creator of immersive Off Broadway show The Black History Museum...  According to the United States of America that premiered fall 2019 at HERE.

Published in five anthologies. Named one of the 18 Women Making Black History by


  • Graduate: M.F.A. TISCH New York University, NYC (Dept. Fellowship)

  • College: BFA   S.U.N.Y Purchase Collage Conservatory of Theater Arts & Film, Purchase, NY 

  • Richmond University, London U.K. (Photography & Classic Theatre)

  • Stage Directors & Choreographers (SDC) 2017-2018 Observership Class

  • UCB, Upright Citizens Brigade (Monthly show called Gravid Water)

  • Dramatists Guild Playwriting Fellowship 2017- 2018

  • MTC (Manhattan Theatre Club) 2017- 2018 Directing Fellow

Awards & Nominations:

  • 8:46 Films was nominated for an NAACP Image award 2022 (Writer, Director)​

  • Play NDEBELE FUNERAL received nominations for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, Sustainable Practice Award and was the Winner of FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award- Best Play.

  • Winner of Diversity at Cannes 2020 for her film The Fisherman

  • Inaugural recipient of the Women’s Film, TV and Theatre Fund, Mayor’s Office NYC, 2019

  • Nomination for Best Short Film, African Movie Academy Awards, 2019 Nigeria

  • Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Award

  • Pan African Film Festival,*Winner Programmer’s Award- Best Narrative Short (Academy Award Qualifying)

  • March on Washington Film Festival - Jury Award for Best Narrative Short (La Oposicion)

  • Souq Film Festival in Milan - Special Jury Award (La Oposicion)

  • Resident Artist at HERE Arts Center, New York City 2016-2019

  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recipient (Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Arts International)

  • Venturous Theater Fund Grant

  • Puffin Foundation Grant Recipient

  • Virginia B. Toulmin Women Playwright Commission Award

  • TCG Global Connection Grant

  • Jerome Foundation Award​

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