Thomas Allen Harris

Thomas Allen Harris

Senior Lecturer in African American Studies and Film & Media Studies

Raised in the Bronx and Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions, a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative and award-winning films, videos and transmedia projects have received critical acclaim at International film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town, exhibited at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight, the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, the Corcoran Gallery, the Gwangju Biennale and Melbourne Arts Festival; and broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, CBC, Swedish Broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television.  

A graduate of Harvard College and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, Harris has received numerous awards including a NAACP Image Award and an African Oscar as well as Guggenheim, Rockefeller and United States Artist Fellowships. Harris is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  

In 2009, Harris and his team launched the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow (, a socially engaged art project that employs touring Roadshows and virtual gathering spaces, where individuals are invited to explore and share the rich and revealing narratives found within their family photo albums. This project was developed into a TV series, Family Pictures USA which nationally broadcast on PBS beginning in 2019.

Photo credit: By - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Featured image: By - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,