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. The film was released by Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY screening on Netflix now.
Shaz directed her first episodic for Ava Duvernay's QUEEN SUGAR on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She has since directed several episodes of QUEEN SUGAR and BILLIONS on Showtime, ANIMAL KINGDOM (TNT), BOSCH (Amazon) ORDINARY JOE (NBC) and many others.
Shaz'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.
Shaz is currently Showrunner and Executive Producer on the final season of QUEEN SUGAR Season 7. Shaz co-wrote with Sydney Freeland the pilot SOVEREIGN for Ava Duvernay's ARRAY, Warner Bros and NBC. Produced by Bird Runningwater and Duvernay.
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.
ALASKA IS A DRAG ON NETFLIX NOW FROM ARRAY RELEASING
LATEST DIRECTING WORK BILLIONS on Showtime and the final two episodes of QUEEN SUGAR on OWN