David Felix Sutcliffe is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work is rooted in racial justice and countering Islamophobia. His feature-length debut film (T)ERROR premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and received a 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary. (T)ERROR, co-directed with Lyric R. Cabral, is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Variety Magazine praised the film as "a vital exposé" and Newsweek said it was "astounding", declaring it one of the best documentaries of the year. The film received widespread critical acclaim, and was profiled on NPR's This American Life, CNN, and in a New York Times Magazine feature article. (T)ERROR was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, and has screened at more than 50 festivals around the world. The film received a national theatrical release in the fall of 2015, was broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens, and is now available on Netflix.
David is currently a 2017 Soros Equality Fellow and a 2017-2019 Pew Fellow. He has been a fellow at the Sundance Institute's Edit and Story Lab, and Creative Producing Lab, and at IFP's Documentary Lab. He was named by Indiewire as a Director to Watch and included in Filmmaker Magazine's annual list of "25 New Faces of Independent Film." David and (T)ERROR co-director Lyric R. Cabral were honored by the International Documentary Association with the 2015 Emerging Filmmaker Award. His work has been supported by the BBC, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Bertha BRITDOCS Journalism Fund, the NEA, the Pew Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. David has been a featured guest on Democracy Now, Huffington Post Live, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show and his writing has been published in the Guardian, Filmmaker Magazine, and The Talkhouse.
David first came to filmmaking when one of his students, a 16-year-old girl named Adama Bah, became the youngest known person arrested in a domestic terrorism investigation in 2005. The FBI accused Adama of being a "potential" suicide bomber, but failed to provide any evidence to substantiate this claim. David spent four years documenting her and her family in the wake of her arrest, capturing their experiences in an hour-long film called ADAMA. The film was first broadcast on PBS in 2011. David studied at Simon's Rock College of Bard, and holds a BA in Film Studies from Vassar College. He is now directing a documentary musical about Islamophobia and the media.
He also likes to dance.