Maya Cozier’s debut feature, She Paradise, is out now through Samuel Goldwyn Films. Cozier was raised by artist parents — Irenée Shaw and Christopher Cozier — in the Caribbean twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. She gained years of experience working as a dancer/choreographer for music videos and television shows (on her own and as part of a champion hip-hop crew that represented the island at the World Hip-Hop Dance Championships). At age 18, Maya had her first international gig when Nicki Minaj flew to Trinidad with Hype Williams to direct the “Pound the Alarm” music video. It was on set as a background model that she became fascinated with the process of filmmaking. After being awarded a national academic scholarship, she enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, to pursue a degree in film. Her first short film was about a childhood friend, Shan, a limbo dancer, touring the United States with a Circus. Her thesis film, Short Drop, a story in which a recently widowed retiree’s car is mistaken for an illegal taxi bringing together unlikely individuals in Port of Spain, won the NYWIFT student award and has shown at over 20 film festivals worldwide winning best Caribbean short film at Curacao film festival and best short film at Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.