McKenzie Chinn

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With a balanced enigmatic and heartfelt vision, her work depicts the universal themes of true female empowerment.

Short Film - Gold Hugo winner at CIFF

A Real One

Growing Concerns Poetry Collective

First You Need a Body

McKenzie Chinn
Writer / Director / Actor

McKenzie is an award-winning writer, director, and actor based in Chicago. Driven by a revolutionary sensibility, her work uses rich imagery and a deeply personal lens to explore the lives, relationships, and ambitions of those who experience marginalization based on their identities, with her storytelling rooted in sensuality, everyday magic, and the beauty of the ordinary. McKeznie was named IFA Chicago’s inaugural Breakthrough Voice Award recipient in 2022, and is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab Fellow. McKenzie’s short film, A Real One, which recently completed a wide film festival run, and won the Gold Hugo for Live Action Short Film at the Oscar-qualifying 2023 Chicago International Film Festival. In 2023, McKenzie made her stage directing debut with ALAIYO by Micah Ariel Watson at Definition Theatre in Chicago. As an actor, her on-camera credits include recurring and guest star roles on the FOX series The Big Leap, ABC's Will Trent, CBS’s The Red Line, and others. Onstage she has worked with Yale Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, The Second City, Woolly Mammoth, The Studio Theatre, Congo Square, and others. Her poetry has been nominated for multiple awards including a Pushcart Prize. She is part of Growing Concerns Poetry Collective which premiered the lead singles on its second album, BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES, in AfroPunk and Essence Magazine. She holds an MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul.