Liz Mermin is a director with seven feature documentaries and countless hours of broadcast and SVOD docs and shorts to her name. She specialises in creative character-driven films which tell stories from all over the world – from the inner lives of Irish racehorses, to strange encounters between Afghan and American hairdressers in Kabul, to Eurovision-inspired violence against journalists in Baku. All her films have been broadcast internationally and played major film festivals, five were made for BBC's Storyville strand, and four were released in cinemas in the US or UK. Her films have been praised for their light touch, sensitivity, balance, and often unexpected sense of humour.
Recently she has been working on big international series. She is currently directing two episodes of a CNN Originals series about US First Ladies. Prior to that, she was a director on a 12-part Netflix Originals series about the first year of life.
As a director/producer/editor in New York Liz made many hours of television, ranging from current affairs to ob-docs, for PBS, ABC, Discovery, and a variety of other cable channels. Her work at this time included a series about the lives of teenage girls across the US, an 2002 ABC special about first responders at the World Trade Center in September 2001, and advocacy pieces on gun control and human rights defenders. Her first documentary, co-directed/shot/edited with Jenny Raskin, was financed by grants, including a MacArthur grant, released in cinemas by Cowboy Pictures, and picked up by the Sundance Channel.
In 2014 Liz was brought in to the Thomson Reuters Foundation to introduce documentary to their editorial coverage. As Director of Visual she built up and oversaw a team creating short docs and interactive features on global humanitarian topics. These were creative pieces distributed globally across the Reuters network, held to the most rigorous standards of journalism. Whilst there she directed a three-part series on climate change and child marriage in Bangladesh with Participant Media. It was a great experience and important work, but she missed directing, to which she returned in 2017.
Liz has presented her work at universities, film festivals, and workshops around the world. She has served on many juries, including the Emmys, Griersons, and Hotdocs. She also writes, most recently publishing a cover story about the Pakistani-American behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks in the Indian magazine Caravan. She has a Masters in cultural anthropology from NYU, where she studied filmmaking in the Culture and Media program. She first became interested in film as a Fulbright Scholar in Dakar, Senegal, after studying Literature at Harvard. She received a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship and was a Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program, where she wrote about African American independent cinema.
She is on the board of the Farkhunda Trust, a charity that provides scholarships to talented under-privileged Afghan girls to attend university in Afghanistan.
Liz started her directing career in New York and moved to London in the mid-2000s, where she is now (relatively) settled. She has been a dual American-British citizen since 2015.