Melissa Finell is an award-winning director and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. SENSITIVITY TRAINING, her first feature film, had its world premiere at the 2016 LA Film Festival, where it was named a “Can’t Miss” film by the Hollywood Reporter. Her script for SENSITIVITY TRAINING won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant and a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award. The film went on to screen at numerous festivals worldwide including Woodstock, Frameline, and TIFF Inside Out. It was released in 2018 by Random Media in partnership with The Orchard.
Mel’s short films have screened for festival audiences around the world. Her most recent short, “Disaster Preparedness,” was a Semi-Finalist for the Student Academy Awards and has been broadcast on PBS Stations across the country as part of KQED’s “Film School Shorts” series. The film premiered at Palm Springs International ShortFest, where it was named an Audience Favorite and screened in the “Best of the Fest” program. The film also screened at Mill Valley, Cleveland, Frameline, and NewFest; it won the “Best Short Film” Jury Award at the Seattle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and was selected for “Best of Fest” at Outfest.
Mel has written feature screenplays for Lionsgate, Gunpowder & Sky, CJ Entertainment, and Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Films and has several projects in active development. Originally from New York, she received her B.A. in Women’s Studies at Smith College and studied sketch comedy writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Mel is a graduate of UCLA’s MFA program in Film and Television Directing, a former Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow, and a Ryan Murphy Television Half Initiative mentee. She is represented by CAA and Lit Entertainment Group.