Melissa Finell is an award-winning director and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. Her first feature film SENSITIVITY TRAINING will have its world premiere at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival. Her script for the film won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant and a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award. Mel is a recent graduate of UCLA’s MFA program in Film Directing and a 2014 Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow.
Mel’s most recent short film DISASTER PREPAREDNESS was a Semi-Finalist for the Student Academy Awards and has been airing 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 and nominated for the Iris Prize. Disaster Preparedness” is available to view on the “Film School Shorts” Youtube Channel and VOD.
Originally from New York, Melissa received her B.A. in Women’s Studies at Smith College and studied sketch comedy writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Prior to beginning film school at UCLA, Mel worked on numerous productions such as Sex and the City 2, Gossip Girl, HBO’s How to Make it in America, and Ringer. Melissa was an associate producer of Madeleine Olnek’s award-winning feature Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, which premiered at Sundance 2011 and was nominated for a Gotham Award.