Director Biography – Melissa Skirboll (MY DINNER WITH SCHWARTZEY)

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Filmmaker of the Year 2019 Vasteras Film Festival

2020 Greetings From Sarajevo – submitting now

2018 My Dinner With Schwartzey (Director/Writer)
Best Dramedy: Manhattan Film Fest
Best Dramedy, Best Director: NYC TV Fest
Best Comedy, Best Director of Comedy: Brightside Film Fest
Best Film: CFIFF
Film Of the Month: DMOFF

The Spy Who Scratched Me (Director)
Best Comedy: Erie Intl Film Fest

Show & Tell Tango (Director/Writer/Actor)
Screenwriter of the Month: DMOFF
Silver Award Directing: NYC Indie FIlm Awards

Her first 3 shorts to date have garnered 65 nominations with 27 wins. (including an additional 10 nominations for best short/short in genre and 4 additional directing nominations)

Director Statement

When Penny Jackson approached me to help adapt one of her short plays or stories into a short film, I immediately suggested “My Dinner with Schwartzey.” I was familiar with the piece that had started life as a short story, published in 1989 (in Penny’s “L.A. Child and Other Stories”) as I had directed a staged reading of an adaptation at Dixon Place in NYC 2 years prior. The world that the protagonist Fiona describes is one I felt would suit the visual medium of film particularly well.
Populated with denizens of the downtown music and art scene, the world she describes is vivid and magical and seductive and scary – all at the same time. Like Alice through the looking glass, Fiona is in a world where reality is fluid. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party by way of Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Underlying the fantastic setting is a story that seems ever more timely as the #metoo and #timesup movements have gained traction. Fiona may want the world to think she’s all grown up but she’s just 16 and in way over her head. While she would never think of herself as a victim, the adults in the room have all checked their responsibility at the door.

To explore the journey through this world was an invitation I couldn’t pass up. One of the themes I find myself drawn to repeatedly is the nature of reality, fantasy, dreams – where one ends and the other begins. Add in alcohol, drugs, and a venue that’s designed to make the jaded gasp, and the lines dividing truth from fiction start to blur. On that line is where “My Dinner with Schwartzey” lives.

Melissa Skirboll


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