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July 11, 1989 |
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Life and career
After being discovered in junior high school, Epps starred in the low budget, short film Gowanus, Brooklyn alongside Matt Kerr, playing the role of "Drey", a high school student. The short film won the Short Filmmaking Award at "Sundance Film Festival" in 2004.
The success of Gowanus, Brooklyn led to a full-length feature film, Half Nelson. Released August 11, 2006 the story concerns an inner city middle-school teacher who forms a friendship with one of his students after she discovers that he has a drug habit. Epps reprised her role as "Drey" and the role of the teacher was replaced by Ryan Gosling. The film also starred rising star Anthony Mackie.
For Half Nelson, Epps won the Gotham Award for Breakthrough Performance (2006); was named Best Supporting Actress by the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (2006); won the WFCC Award for Female Rights To Male Roles in Movies at the Women Film Critics Circle Awards (2006); and Best Female lead by the Independent Spirit Awards (2007).
Epps also received nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association; Alliance of Women Film Journalists; Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards; Chicago Film Critics Association Awards; Chlotrudis Awards; Online Film & Television Association Award; Online Film Critics Society Awards; St. Louis Film Critics Association, US and two Black Reel Awards nominations.
Epps made her first TV appearance in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airing on April 15, 2008, titled "Undercover" as Ashley Tyler. In 2013 she starred in American Milkshake alongside Tyler Ross and Georgia Ford.
Epps currently resides in New York.
- Dinner in America with Brett Gelman (2016)
- American Milkshake (2013)
- Yelling to the Sky (2011)
- Mother and Child (2010), Ray
- My Soul to Take (2010), Chandelle Brown
- The Winning Season (2009), Lisa
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Episode: Undercover, 2008), Ashley Tyler
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), Kendra (Although credited to appear, Epps' portrayal of Kendra was completely omitted from the theatrical as well as the DVD release.)
- Neal Cassady (2007), Annie Gibson
- Half Nelson (2006), Drey
- Gowanus, Brooklyn (2004), Drey
Awards and nominations
- Black Reel Awards
- Boston Society of Film Critics
- 2007, Best Supporting Actress: Half Nelson (Winner)
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
- 2007, Best Young Actress: Half Nelson (Nominated)
- Chicago Film Critics
- 2007, Most Promising Newcomer: Half Nelson (Nominated)
- Independent Spirit Awards
- 2006, Best Female Lead: Half Nelson (Winner)
- Online Film Critics Society
- 2007, Best Breakthrough Performance: Half Nelson (Nominated)
- St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association
- 2007, Best Supporting Actress: Half Nelson (Nominated)