Dagny fell in love with astronomy at a young age, growing up in rural Arkansas where her grandparents ran the town's local funeral home. As a high school senior, she studied cellular automata at the Research Science Institute at MIT and went on to co-win the prize for Artificial Intelligence at the Intel Inter'l Science Fair.

She earned her BSc in Astrophysics at Caltech, studying extrasolar planets. While in college, she captained a microgravity flight team onboard the KC-135 jet out of NASA's Johnson Space Center.

She went on to get her PhD in astronomy in Hawai'i, where she started making short films and decided she wanted to tell stories about everyone from hapless scientists to down-on-their-luck folks. In 2011, she moved to NYC where she recently completed her MFA in filmmaking from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. At NYU, she received the Maurice Kanbar and Leo Rosner scholarships and the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts Scholarship.

Dagny currently lives in Los Angeles where she works as the writers assistant on the AMC TV show Strange Angel, about Caltech rocket scientists in the 1930s. Executive produced by Mark Heyman, Dave DiGilio and Ridley Scott.


Dagny is the co-founder of IndieLoop.TV, a web platform that helps filmmakers connect and create. IndieLoop is about to launch its Beta version in NYC. She is a 2015-2016 Cinema Research Institute grantee, an IFP Made in NY Media Fellow and an alumna of the NYU Leslie e-labs Summer Launchpad Accelerator.

Dagny Atencio Looper


Writer, Director, Science Consultant, Astronomer


NYU Tisch School of the Arts / directing / MFA 2016

Institute for Astronomy / Astronomy / Ph.D. 2011
California Institute for Technology / Astrophysics / B.Sc. 2004
UCL / Astrophysics / exchange program, 2003

Caltech, Assistant Director of the Research Science Institute, 2004
MIT, Research Science Institute Alumna, 1999

Film Credits


Simula 67 (development), Creator, TV pilot

Oil and Water (production), Writer/Director, Documentary Feature

Tiny Mammals (2017), Writer/Director, NYU thesis film

The Lipstick Stain (2014), Writer/Director, NYU short film


FILM Awards

$100,000 Sloan finalist for Singularity, 2016
Hollywood Foreign Press Association award for Tiny Mammals, 2016
Fusion Film Festival winner for best TV script & documentary, 2015

Academic awards

Best Masters Thesis, Institute for Astronomy
Mellon Mays Fellow, Institute for Astronomy
Caltech Presidential Scholar, Caltech
Marcella and Joel Bonsall Prize for Technical Writing, Caltech
Burns Prize for Planetary Sciences, Caltech