Melissa Azizi earned a Bachelor of Arts Hons I (Performance Studies and Art History & Theory) at The University of Sydney followed by a Masters in Media Arts and Production at The University of Technology, Sydney.
After being awarded several prizes from both universities for her short films, Melissa produced the short film, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN through Screen NSW’s Young Filmmakers Fund and SHOPPING, in association with Metro Screen and the Australian Cultural Fund.
Both films have screened in over one hundred film festivals worldwide, including major gay and lesbian film festivals. They have both been nominated for City of Sydney and City of Melbourne awards and between them, collected Best Achievement in Sound for a Short Film at the 2009 Australian Screen Sound Guild Awards, nominated for an Australian Screen Music Award and collected Best Original Song for a Short Film at Long Island.
Through Women in Film & TV NSW, Melissa has undertaken valuable mentorships with Screen Australia’s Julia Overton and award-winning producer Kath Shelper (SAMSON AND DELILAH, HERE I AM). In 2012, Melissa attended the highly competitive UCLA Summer Professional Program in Producing. She interned with Los Angeles-based management and production company Industry Entertainment (NORTH COUNTRY, WE OWN THE NIGHT, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) and with production and finance company Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (HELL OR HIGH WATER, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, LARS & THE REAL GIRL).
For five years, Melissa has worked as Development Executive for critically acclaimed US Producer, Gail Mutrux (THE DANISH GIRL, iBOY, SHOW ME A HERO mini-series, NURSE BETTY, KINSEY, QUIZ SHOW, DONNIE BRASCO, RAIN MAN, HOMOCIDE tv series).
Melissa is on the judging panel for scriptwriting contest, WeScreenplay; the CINE Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Contest and CINE Golden Eagle Awards; the New Filmmakers LA preview panel; Outfest Los Angeles; for UCLA Screenwriters Showcase; and is a mentor for the Young Storytellers Program, a non-profit that inspires low-income students to learn how to write original stories and see them brought to life on stage and film. Melissa is also an alumni mentor for students of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Melissa has several feature projects in development, including the black comedy, THREATS based on the PEN/Faulkner-nominated book by Amelia Gray; an adaptation of Camus’ THE STRANGER set within the Australian outback; and a biopic based on the life of Horace Wells, the inventor of laughing gas who would ironically take his own life.