INDEPENDENT WOMEN MAKING INDEPENDENT FILMS

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Gianni​-Amber North

Writer/Director/Producer Gianni-Amber North graduated from the University of Redlands’ Innovative Johnston Center program on a tennis and academic scholarship.  She landed at Edmonds Entertainment and was guided under award-winning writer/director/producers like Matt Jackson, Carol-Ann Shine, and Patrick Ian-Polk. She convinced her university to purchase a camera so she could make her first short film, SHINE, the story of a young, African-American teen who struggles with the decision to use non-violence when confronting his neighborhood adversaries.


Not long after graduation, Gianni was hired at now Getty Images) where she worked with photographers and editors in-house as well as at award shows and other red carpet events. Gianni has also worked in the reality television world on such shows as Amazing Race, Hell’s Kitchen, and Celebrity Rehab. She also directs short media content for Tastemade and was an assistant at Awesomeness TV.


Gianni has written and directed several projects including AFFECTED, a story of love in the face of the AIDS epidemic. The film screened at numerous festivals including the Urban Media Makers Film Festival in Atlanta, the Hollywood HD/DV Film Festival, Cinema Mostra Aids in Brazil, and the FESPACO Festival in Ghana. 


Gianni and Melanna shot their first project together,  ENGAGEMENT, starring co-writer/executive-producer, Melanna Gray; along with Amir Arison, Aaron D. Spears, and legendary actor/writer/producer Bill Duke; produced by Cheryl L. Bedford.  The film was accepted by Holly Shorts and Sistas Doing It For Themselves Film Festivals, both in Los Angeles, CA. 

Melanna Gray

Actress/Producer/Writer, MELANNA GRAY, graduated from the University of Southern California on a full track and field scholarship and continued studying theatre at the UMKC, Missouri Repertory Theatre - Graduate Training Program. 

 

Melanna has appeared in Verizon, Bank of America, and Sears national commercials, as well as on several regional and New York stages. She also originated a few theatre roles, including, "Julia" in Theresa Rebeck/Alexandra Vassiliros' play, “Omnium Gatherum,” at the Human Theatre Festival and continued with the show in New York. She also played, “Scylla,” in Ricardo Khan’s production of, “The Darker Face Of The Earth.” 

 

Melanna’s film career began with Tim Story’s feature, “Firing Squad.” She also had the opportunity to record looping segments with Forest Whitaker, for his film, “Waiting To Exhale.” She’s also a singer, songwriter, and award-winning poet. At the advice of mentor, the legendary Bill Duke, Melanna extended her skill set from actor to writer/producer. She and Gianni wrote their first short and started learning the business of the show. She traveled to Africa as Bill's Production Coordinator for the International Accra Film Festival. 

 

Melanna is currently developing a multi-media one-woman show titled ZORA 2020 based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston.