Spotlight: Breaking Barriers In The Theater World with Melissa Farinelli

When I first saw Wonder Woman I was over the moon with excitement. Wonder Woman has been such an icon figure in the superhero world and the way the film was created: from the set, monologues, costumes, story line, everything was fantastic. It wasn’t until after the movie was done that I saw the director was Patty Jenkins.

“A female director making a superhero movie!? Heck yes!” I said out loud.

In the land of Hollywood, female directors use to be taboo. With the exception of Barbara Streisand, many of the films produced in Hollywood were by male directors. Jump to a few years later, crowds began to see films by Sofia Coppola (director of The Beguiled and Marie Antoinette), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Katheryn Bigalow (The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty).

So it was somewhat by coincidence that I had the privilege of photographing a female director.

Melissa Farinelli is a producer and theater director in New York City. During our photo session, she was hilarious and bold. And although women are taking on directing and producer roles, Melissa was quick to state that she still sees and experiences the struggle to gain acceptance:

I remember when one of my productions was finished a critic came backstage and shook my assistant’s hand saying ‘That was so great you did an amazing job. Congratulations!’ to which he replied: ‘I’m not the director. She is.’

Melissa was such a positive force when we were in the local park and stated that “it’s great that there are female directors finally breaking through Hollywood…but we still have a long way to go.” (Click on gallery below):

I for one am looking forward to see what amazing projects she has in store for the future.

Now it’s your turn!

Have you ever experienced a struggle to gain acceptance in your line of work? How have you overcame adversity in your day to day life? Please let me know in the comments below.

Also if you are interested in being featured on the Spotlight series, you can email me at and tell me your story.

Til next time,


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