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Melissa Haizlip

MELISSA HAIZLIP (Producer | Director | Writer) is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York. Her work responds to pressing social issues at the intersection of racial justice, social justice, activism, and representation. Female transformation and empowerment are at the core of all of her ideas, with the goal being to advocate and amplify the voices of women and people of color. Melissa’s feature documentary, Mr. SOUL!, has been shortlisted for the Oscars, for Best Original Song. The film has won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture), and was nominated for two more, including Outstanding Documentary (Film), and Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture). Mr. SOUL! has been nominated by the Guild of Music Supervisors for Best Music Supervision for a Documentary. Mr. SOUL! won the 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Award for Best First Documentary Feature. The film received five Critics Choice nominations, including Best Documentary Feature, Best Archival Documentary, Best Historical / Biographical Documentary, and Best Narration, for which Melissa was acknowledged as Writer. In 2019, Mr. SOUL! was a finalist and won a prize for the inaugural Library of Congress Lavine / Ken Burns Prize for Film, a new, annual prize that recognizes a filmmaker whose documentary uses original research and compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history. The film won Best Music Documentary at the 2018 International Documentary Association Awards. Mr. SOUL! premiered at Tribeca and screened at 50 festivals, receiving 16 Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary, and the 2019 FOCAL Award for Best Use of Archival Footage in an Entertainment Production. To date, Mr. SOUL! has received 33 Nominations and won 19 awards including 14 Film Festival Awards. Melissa directed and produced CONTACT HIGH: A VISUAL HISTORY OF HIP-HOP and produced YOU’RE DEAD TO ME (2013) directed by Wu Tsang, about a grieving Chicana mother coming to terms with the loss of her transgender child on Día de los Muertos. The film won Best Short at the 2014 Imagen Awards, and screened at over 50 festivals and museums. Melissa’s two-channel art films have been exhibited by the Hammer Museum Los Angeles Biennial, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Melissa has been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation JustFilms, National Endowment for the Humanities, International Documentary Association, National Endowment for the Arts, Black Public Media, Firelight Media, ITVS, Awesome Without Borders, and Puffin Foundation. Melissa went to Yale University. She’s currently co-executive producing a docuseries on women in hip-hop for Netflix.

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