Shaz Bennett’s debut feature film ALASKA IS A DRAG, that she wrote & directed was highlighted as one to watch in Vogue, Filmmaker and other publications. Winning best feature film and Jury awards for Best Director at Leeds, Chattanooga, Urbanworld and the Smithsonian African American Film Festival and New Filmmakers LA.
Shaz directed her first episodic for Ava Duvernay's QUEEN SUGAR on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She has since directed BILLIONS on Showtime and directing BOSCH (Amazon) and ANIMAL KINGDOM (TNT) this season.
Bennett's first television writing job was on THE GLADES on A&E. She later joined the writing team for UnREAL on Lifetime and produced the popular spin off THE FAITH DIARIES. Then, Shaz wrote on the acclaimed Amazon show BOSCH based on the books of Michael Connelly.
Before working in film and television, Shaz worked in a fish cannery; bartended at a mafia bar; was a film programmer at Sundance, LA Film Festival and AFI FEST; peddled liquor undercover; developed films for actor Giancarlo Esposito; and was Cher’s stand-in for a day. Her films and performance pieces have been seen in festivals, theatres, museums and abandoned warehouses all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and Europe.
One of 8 women selected to the prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women, nominated as one of Fox's Top 20 Directors, selected into Ryan Murphy's HALF program, Sundance Screenwriting Labs and Film Two with director Crystal Moselle (THE WOLFPACK, SKATE KITCHEN), and Fox's inaugural Franchise Directing program (DIE HARD). Shaz's original pilot THE SALT FLATS was included as one of the top unproduced scripts written by women for WeForShe and the Blacklist.
LISTEN HERE: Shaz breaks down her favorite Action Film Kathryn Bigelow's POINT BREAK on Maximun Fun's Switchblade Sisters with critic April Wolfe.