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 Gender 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 Writ Large and CAA.
Selected Film Projects
Narrative Feature, 2016
A misanthropic woman is forced into sensitivity training at work and forms an unlikely friendship with the bubbly woman assigned to be her coach.
Winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant and a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award
World premiered at LA Film Festival in 2016. Selected festivals include Woodstock Film Festival, USA Film Festival, Frameline, Toronto Inside Out, Seattle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Reeling Chicago, among others.
Short Film, 2014
A hurricane racing toward their apartment pulls a couple out of their comfort zone and drops them squarely at the crossroads of commitment, disaster, and the art of being prepared.
Semi-Finalist for the Student Academy Award and selected for "Best of the Fest" at Palm Springs International ShortFest and Outfest
Winner of UCLA's Director Spotlight Award and Directing Actors Award, winner of the Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, nominated for the Iris Prize
Festival Selections include Mill Valley Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, NewFest, and Frameline. Broadcast nationally on PBS.
Creative Artists Agency