Iranian American director Suzi Yoonessi still writes with jelly-pens, knows how to make a pretty awesome cootie-catcher and loves exploring the painful yet innocent era of adolescence where we’re guided by a voice so endearing we can’t help but embrace the memories of that time. Yoonessi’s award-winning feature film Dear Lemon Lima (2009) premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The LA Times dubbed the visually stunning film as refreshing as an astro-pop on a summer day. The film was released by Phase 4 Films, HBO, Showtime and The Sundance Channel.
Yoonessi’s ITVS FutureStates episode The Spring of Sorrow (2011) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won an ECA award for the lush lensing that captured a post-apocolypic future. For International Women’s Day, she directed #OwnYourVoice (2016) for the UN, YouTube and Portal A, which was recently nominated for a Webby and a Streamy Award. Yoonessi received a Jerome Foundation Grant for her artful documentary Vern (2003), which now resides in the SF Museum of Modern Art.
Yoonessi’s hilarious series Olive and Mocha (2012-2015) is Funny or Die’s 1st Annual Make Em LAFF award winner, and was the #1 video on Reddit for a week, with performances that won many hearts and horrified parents. Yoonessi currently directs branded, short and commercial spots for Funny or Die, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Portal A, Retrofit and Super Deluxe, and is in post-production on her second feature Unlovable, starring academy award nominee John Hawkes, academy award winner Melissa Leo and Charlene deGuzman.
Yoonessi received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and her MFA from Columbia University where she was a recipient of the FMI Directing Fellowship.