A Harlem native, Melissa V. Murray, seemed destined for a career in filmmaking. Her mom, a cinematographer, introduced Murray to Hollywood classics at a young age; in junior high Murray joined the Ghetto Film School, a film program in the South Bronx. There, she found her calling as a director and screenwriter. Murray cut her teeth in the industry, interning and eventually a full-time staffer, at Lee Daniels Entertainment and Cinetic Media. She later worked as a freelance director, writer and editor for companies such as Warner Brothers, Funny or Die, Jordan Brand and U2 Limited to name a few. Under her own production company, The Cynical Owl LLC, she has written and directed several original short films that have gone on to play at film festivals and received distribution from companies such as Amazon and Gravitas Ventures. Melissa’s ultimate mission as a filmmaker is create a dense body of work that encompasses the Black American life.