Meet Our Team
Melissa Skirboll, Director
Penny Jackson, Writer
Melissa Skirboll is an award winning director, writer, actor and producer and has been a strong presence in New York’s independent theater for the last 10 years.
In 2016 she turned her eye to film with “Show & Tell Tango”. “Tango” premiered at the at the Västerås Film Festival in Sweden in September 2017. An official selection in 19 festivals worldwide, “Tango” has garnered 3 wins and 6 nominations for directing, acting, writing and short film.
“The Spy Who Scratched Me” is a spy spoof created for the 48 Hour Film Challenge in NY. It premiered at the Västerås Film Festival in 2018 and continues its festival run with screenings worldwide. With 9 official selections to date, “Spy” has already garnered 5 nominations for directing, actress and comedy short.
“My Dinner With Schwartzey” begins its festival life in 2019. As director co-writer and co-producer Skirboll is very excited to share this film with audiences worldwide.
The companion piece: “Behind the Story: Schwartzey” which you can see on this site, was conceived and directed by Skirboll. It is a mockumentary “Behind the Music” style promo which provides a glimpse into the women at the heart of this story/
Skirboll is a proud member of NYWIFT and SAG/AFTRA.
Her work in theater has been recognized with a number of nominations and awards: she’s won both the outstanding playwright award (for her play Blizzard: A Love Story) and outstanding direction (for her work on The Closet by Amy Gray Piper) at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, There, she has also been nominated for acting (in Blizzard: A Love Story) for direction on both Superstars by Glory Kadigan and Straight-Faced Lies by Mark Jason Williams, and for her projections/SFX on A Madness of One Acts.
She is a member of New York Madness, a director for the Women's Work Play Lab at New Perspectives Theatre and has directed for various companies including Nylon Fusion Theater Co, Urban Stages, Abingdon Theatre and Estrogenius Festival. Ego Actus, Abingdon Theatre, and Urban Stages have staged her plays here in New York.
With her producing company, LifeDream Productions, she produced the films mentioned above as well as festival runs of the plays “Hell is Where the Heart Is” (4 Nominations, 2 Wins), “Blizzard: A Love Story” (6 Nominations, 2 Wins), and “The Closet” (5 nominations, 1 Win).
Melissa also teaches acting for the Sande Shurin Acting Studio and works with individuals as a private coach.
Penny Jackson is a playwright, novelist, short story and screenplay writer. She is the recipient of many awards for her writing including a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, The Pushcart Prize, The Gary Garrison prize for best short drama, a Mirrellies Fellowship from Stanford University and The Elizabeth Janeway Prize from Barnard College. Penny's play about gun violence, BEFORE, was chosen as one of the best American plays in 2016 by Applause Books. Her coming of age novel, BECOMING THE BUTLERS, was chosen by The New York Public Library as one of the best young adult novels of the year and was optioned for film by Warner Brother Studios. Her new film, MY DINNER WITH SCHWARTZEY, which she co-wrote and produced, is based on her award-winning short story in her published collection L.A. CHILD. Dixon Place Theater included Penny as one of their female playwrights for their photography and performance exhibition NECESSARY EXPOSURE. Penny is also the co-executive producer of the feature film BITE ME and she and her husband Thomas Campbell Jackson have produced such award-winning documentaries as PARTICLE FEVER and ART AND CRAFT.
Penny is currently a member of The Playwrights/Directors’ Unit at The Actors Studio and is a resident playwright of the A.R.T/New York theater company NYMadness. Her new play, THE BATTLES OF RICHMOND HILL, will be produced at HERE theater April 2019. Penny's plays have been produced in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dublin and Edinburgh. She is very active in promoting women in both film and theater and is an active member of New York Women In Film and Television and The League of Professional Theatre Women. http://www.pennybrandtjackson.com