Meet Dedi Felman

You may not know this, but one of the interesting things about LAPPG is that it is not just for post production professionals. Case in point, we’d like to introduce you to the super talented writer turned director, Dedi Felman, who has been a longtime LAPPG member. We spoke with Dedi about how she got interested in directing, what her experience was like winning some prestigious and exciting fellowships, and why she joined LAPPG.

Los Angeles Post Production Group: Thank you so much for sharing your time with us. Can you tell us about your work as a writer and how you  got interested in filmmaking?

Dedi Felman: I’ve spent my entire life working in story and with storytellers. I just happened to spend the first part of it in the publishing industry, eventually as a senior editor at Simon & Schuster.

I’ve always loved filmmaking. My Dad and I used to go to the movies together. He was deeply emotional yet also very Silent Generation. Getting him talk about his trauma-filled past was impossible. Yet, the movies opened him up. We’d see a film, then spend hours discussing the characters’ choices and dilemmas. As an immigrant, he also loved picking apart even the biggest summer blockbuster for what we could learn from it about American culture. The movies became our way to communicate, to assimilate, and an indestructible bond.

At university, I’d skip whatever I was supposed to be working on to attend the weekly auteur film series. I adored Scorsese—how he captured the sounds and silences of his deeply emotional NY tribe, including their rage, anger, humiliation—and love. Spike Lee also knocked me off my feet. His trailblazing, stylized storytelling in Do the Right Thing brought the streets alive. In full color. His stories were uproarious and pointed; and you couldn’t look away. And then there was Hitchcock, the master. I toted that Hitchcock / Truffaut book everywhere!

So, I did have this vague idea what directors did. But I knew no one in the industry. And back then, a career as a female writer/director just didn’t seem truly viable. So, I shelved that thought and went off to publishing.

LAPPG: I understand you were part of the inaugural class of the HBO Access Writing Fellowship. How did that come about and what did you learn from that experience?

DF: It was an incredible experience. It was effing HBO (can I say that?!)
Kelly Edwards, an ultra-wise, gifted woman was our mentor. (Read her book, The Executive Chair, if you want to share in her wisdom.) HBO’s top writers, directors, and development folk all gave us advice, which was thrilling. But it was a most unexpected meeting that changed my life. Two of my fellow fellows had arranged to meet Jay Roewe, HBO’s head of production. Game of Thrones was going full throttle then, but Jay generously made time for us. At first, I was honestly a bit baffled. Why were we there? We were writers, not filmmakers. But when, after over an hour of some of the best advice I’ve ever received, Jay told us that if we ever wanted to write for HBO, we needed to understand production, a light bulb went off. I wanted to know what the best filmmakers knew. I wanted to learn production. And I wanted to direct. There it was. The path I’d always dreamed of.

I immediately signed up for a UCLA extension course in directing and Adrienne Weiss’s invaluable course on Directing Actors. I was going to do this. Come hell or high water.

LAPPG: What is your favorite part of the directing process?

DF: That’s like asking a parent to identify their favorite child! I cannot choose. I love every piece of the process from pre-pro to post. Being able to collaborate with so many talented, creative artists at every stage, is exactly where the joy of directing lies. I’m currently shadowing a friend on a treatment process and learning how 3D artists, illustrators, and designers collab to create the visual language for cinematically intriguing, unique worlds—and it’s been mindblowing.

smaller Dedi Felman directing Katherine Lee McEwan in AmHoller copy
Dedi Felman directing Katherine Lee McEwan in AmHoller

I love working with my cinematographer(s) to figure out how to frame and tell the story. My DP is my true partner and collaborator at every step. The actors bring all the magic. They also have highly honed bullshit detectors and always help me identify the truthful and untruthful moments. I’m simply in awe of their ability to completely inhabit their characters—and to give us different, brilliant options that allow us to truly feel all the feelings. I always wish I had more money for my production and costume designers, but have marveled at their ability to create rich, believable worlds from next-to-nothing. And I love working with everyone on set from AD to gaffer et al, to create this incredibly special world that we get to step into and live in for all too brief moments. Working with stunt coordinators and grips and Steadicam ops to inject movement and action is its own special joy. And well, I’m not going to tell a post person such as yourself anything new about just how crucial what they do is. Or how they save our stories from dying on screen. But they do. And it’s awe-inspiring. Like when my editor brings me a cut with elements or a solution I never even dreamed of and I’m like, damn, THAT. That wasn’t what was in my head, but THAT is it. Or the composer dreams up a motif for a character that perfectly suits them. Or the sound designer changes the whole feel of a scene for the better by supplying that perfect missing sound. And our incredibly talented colorist just makes the whole thing POP with their painting. Etc, etc. (And this isn’t even everyone!) Collaborating with every single person in the filmmaking process is beyond exciting.

LAPPG: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced creating your short films?

DF: Money. Especially post-pandemic and with the current inflation rates. I believe in paying my crew. It’s short film rates; it’s not even what they deserve. But everything: locations, insurance, has gone sky-high lately. And it’s beyond stressful.

LAPPG: As a director, what made you join a post production group like LAPPG?

DF: As I mentioned, I came to all this late. And I certainly didn’t have the money for film school. So I’m always feeling a bit beyond the curve and always looking for opportunities to learn. Weirdly, enough it was an actor who told me about you. He was hoping to add some editing skills on the side, had learned about the group, and encouraged me to come too. It was way back when, when the group still met in the Community Room at Crossroads. There was delicious cake and coffee on the side and a talk on NAB and assistant editing in scripted TV. There were even lottery tix (though I’ve never won–ahem!) I understood maybe about 10% of what was going on that night, but I was hooked.

LAPPG is simply an amazing educational resource for someone like me. It’s BEEN my film school. Even better than film school, it’s been a concrete, on-the-ground, this is how the sausage-gets-made and it’s-so-cool learning experience. The group is also led by and filled with the most creative, inspirational, and kind people. As far as I know, nothing else like it exists in LA, except maybe Blackmagic Collective, which I also belong to, but which has a different focus. I can’t express enough how appreciative I am that LAPPG exists. You (Wendy) and Woody are a gift to the community.

LAPPG: What have you gotten out of the group or learned from the group?

DF: Yikes, what haven’t I learned? The breadth and depth of the seminars has been incredible.

Highlights for me include Dan Kneece’s presentation on shooting short schedule features. Dan was such an inspiration to so many of us. He exemplified the kind of fun, creative, collaborative, beautiful, generous filmmaking I try for, even within all the constraints of indie films.

Debbie Berman, who edits Marvel films, was another absolutely inspiring speaker. I remember her describing The Final Girls edit and how they used both black and white and bright, bright color to time shift (the characters end up in the main character’s mother’s movie). Those bright, bold yellows and greens and reds of the movie-within-the-movie also help heighten the comedy in this comedy-horror film. It was an eye-opening solution that has just stuck with me!

More recently, the session at ZEISS led to an all-afternoon camera-test for me and a fellow female director, which was illuminating in all senses of the word. We learned so much about different lenses and their uses that day. Yet another valuable connection formed thanks to LAPPG!

Debbie Berman discussing her work on Captain Marvel at the March 2019 LAPPG meeting.
Dan Kneece discussing shooting a short schedule feature at the February 2019 LAPPG meeting.
David Warner discussing ZEISS CinCraft Mapper at the ZEISS Cinema Lens Demo Center in Sherman Oaks at LAPPG's March 2023 Meeting.
Camera and Lens testing at the ZEISS Cinema Lens Demo Center.

LAPPG: Aw, thank you for your incredibly kind words. Woody and I truely appreciate that. So, I know you were a Blackmagic Collective Directing Actors Fellow in 2022. What was that experience like?

DF: Blackmagic is another educational group that I’ve belonged to for years. The Directing Actors program was a unique opportunity for us to put up scenes every month with a troupe of wonderfully talented actors. Selected sessions included invaluable advice from guest working TV directors. Jenn Page, who runs it, is a powerhouse. She would give us these exercises that pushed us way beyond our comfort zone (my first time dp’ing, ack!) but that really helped us grow. Also, as directors we are often in our own silos. To be able to interact with other directors and view how they approach a scene and the choices they make was invaluable. I miss all those folks greatly and wish I could do it all over again!

LAPPG: Do you still do any writing or teaching?

DF: Yes, I still collaboratively write for my day job. I’m also rewriting two features that I hope to direct next. Hollie Overton, a co-ep on All American: Homecoming, and I also teach TV, novel, and screenwriting at Genre Masters. Check us out at

LAPPG: What projects or topics are you interested in exploring next?

DF: My short film, TAKE GOOD CARE, which will debut at Hollyshorts, and has also been selected for Burbank International Film Festival, is a deeply personal story about aging, ambition, family, and love. The logline is: In a world where older people are expected to quietly die at 65, a single-minded scientist, desperate for more time, needs her long-neglected artist daughter to take good care–of her.

I wrote it for all the men and women who, willingly or unwillingly, ended up as caretakers, and know how emotionally complicated an endeavour that is. There’s definitely a dystopian edge (as a youth-obsessed country, we are so unprepared for and unrealistic about an aging citizenry!), yet, ultimately, it’s a love story. As I discovered taking care of my mother: it’s never too late to communicate the true care we feel for one another.

I’ve got a draft of the feature version for that. In addition, I have another feature I will pitch to anyone willing to listen. It’s a female-forward heist movie. Two estranged sisters on opposite sides of the economic divide in Kentucky must come together for the heist of a lifetime. It’s a total romp and I can’t wait to make it. Let me know if you’re interested. (wink!) And thank you for these amazing questions. I’ve learned lots too!

Free Membership Signup



We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our newest Silver Partner, Shift Media


Job Opportunities

Check out our jobs board and find your next opportunity!

Become a Partner