David Felix Sutcliffe is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker whose work is rooted in racial justice. His film (T)ERROR, co-directed with Lyric R. Cabral, is the first documentary to capture an active FBI terror sting. 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. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and received a 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary.
David's films investigate the gap between American principles and practices. He has more than a decade of experience reporting on the failures of the U.S. war on terror and the impacts of Islamophobic rhetoric and policy. His films have been broadcast globally and translated into nearly 20 languages. His work has been funded by the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Bertha BRITDOCS Journalism Fund, the International Documentary Association, and the Open Society Foundation. He is a former fellow of the Sundance Edit Lab and the Sundance Creative Producing Lab, and is currently a Soros Equality Fellow and a Pew Fellow.
David is now directing NETWORKS, a documentary musical about Islamophobia and the media.
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. Adama was held for a month and a half and released. Her father, detained the same day as her, was held for nearly a year and a half and then deported. David spent four years filming with Adama and her family in the wake of her arrest, chronicling their experiences in an hour-long documentary called ADAMA. The film was broadcast on PBS in 2011 and rebroadcast in 2016.
David's follow-up film (T)ERROR, is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. The film received widespread critical acclaim, and was profiled on NPR's This American Life and in a New York Times Magazine feature article. (T)ERROR, co-directed with Lyric R. Cabral, received a Sundance Special Jury Prize for Break Out First Feature, an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Documentary, and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary. (T)ERROR received a national theatrical release and is now available worldwide on Netflix.
In 2017, David received a Soros Equality Fellowship and a Pew Arts Fellowship. He 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 was a consulting producer on Jon Olshefski's film QUEST (Sundance 2017 premiere) which documents ten years in the life of a North Philadelphian family, and on Stephen Maing's Sundance-winning doc CRIME + PUNISHMENT (Sundance 2018 premiere), which follows twelve Black and Brown whistleblower police officers as they expose illegal NYPD quotas. David is a producer on Nehad Khader's film UNBOWED and Débora Souza Silva's film BLACK MOTHERS, both currently in production.
David grew up in a mixed-race, working class family in upstate New York. He is committed to telling stories that illuminate race and class, and to collaborating with filmmakers of color. David is of Irish descent, plays piano, is married to Pascale, and has six sisters. He studied at Simon's Rock College of Bard and holds a BA in Film Studies from Vassar College.
He also likes to dance.