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EMMA NEEDELL

Writer

Filmmaker

World Builder

WORK

"The Water Man" affected me so much partially because my family just experienced a similar loss, and the implications are still reverberating through our lives. Nothing will be the same again. 'Everything happens for a reason' won't cut it with children who just lost a parent."

- Sheila O'Malley, www.rogerebert.com

"It's a tricky balancing act to take an audience from a terminally-ill mom to an avalanche of insects, but director David Oyelowo (working from Emma Needell's Black List screenplay) gets all the tones just right."

- Alonso Duralde, TheWrap

WORLD PREMIERE

AVAILABLE ON

REVIEWS

THE WATER MAN

 

Writer / Executive Producer

“MOVING. BEAUTIFUL.”

– Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

WORLD PREMIERE

ACADEMY AWARD QUALIFIED

“A touching story on the humanity of technology and the many ways we find ourselves, our voice, and each other."

- Matthew Ball, author of The Metaverse

“I was taken aback by the unassuming tenderness of this short film... wholeheartedly recommend."

- Cameron Geiser, Films Fatale

BEHIND THE SCENES

REVIEWS

WINNER

+9 other festivals

LIFE RENDERED
Co-Writer / Director

Co-Writer / Director

LIFE RENDERED

Co-Writer / Director

AZURBALA

Azurbala is an expansive jungle punk franchise born from the internet merging art, culture, and IP evolution. Written & Developed by Emma Needell, produced by Tally Labs.

More at the official website.

TICK TOCK

Writer / Director

Watch the films on VIMEO.

DESERT NOIR

Writer / Director

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Director

PRESS

FORBES 30 Under 30

Her 2015 Black List script 'The Water Man' sold to Disney, with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films producing and David Oyelowo attached to direct. Her second screenplay, a prison break musical, sold to MGM/Orion, and she is also working on a feature project for Netflix with Oscar-winning director Patrick Osbourne."

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

"Netflix and RLJE films have picked up the worldwide rights to The Water Man, Selma star David Oyelowo‘s directorial debut.

RLJE Films has taken the adventure, fantasy pic for North America, while Netflix has the rest of the world rights. The Water Man, A Black List script penned by Emma Needell, portrays a sensitive young boy, played by Lonnie Chavis, who tries to save his mother (Rosario Dawson) from terminal cancer."

THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Now there’s “The Water Man,” an adventure tale written by Emma Needell about a preteen boy who, in an effort to save his dying mother, tries to find a mythical creature with healing powers that is purported to be living in the Oregon forest. Featured on the 2015 Black List, a list of the best unproduced screenplays, Needell turned down an eager studio with a director attached and chose to sell her script to Yoruba Saxon and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios for Oyelowo to star."

THE DENVER POST

“The film’s screenwriter, Emma Needell, grew up in Elbert County on a 740-acre, solar-powered cattle ranch and went to elementary and middle school in the town of Elbert. 'My brother and I would go off — and this is before cellphones — and explore the woods and the prairies and the bluffs. But they weren’t just woods and prairies and bluffs; they were mythical lands, too,' said  Needell, sitting on a bench at Crown Hill Park one recent spring morning.

'I knew I wanted (Gunner’s story) to be rooted in nature,” she said. “World building with nature has always been sort of my MO.'"

FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

"Premiering at Tribeca, Emma Needell’s short film Life Rendered tells the story of a closeted gay Colorado man who lives on a ranch, where he takes care of his aging cowboy father while seeking romance in the virtual world. Set in the near future, the short draws inspiration from the director’s own childhood."

DEADLINE

“Orion landed the coveted project in what was said to be a highly competitive situation. Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Tariq Merhab and Charlie Scully (The Revenant, Spotlight, and the upcoming Boy Erased) is producing alongside Felipe Marino (The Wackness). Multiple Grammy award-winning Ronson will also be an executive producer.

 

The story, which is not based on any true incident but set in 1984, follows a group of inmates who stage a musical as a way to escape from prison. The script was written by both Hashemi and Emma Needell (The Water Man)."

AWARDS DAILY

"In Emma Needell’s short film, Life Rendered, reality bends with fantasy. Set in the future, Mark (played by Owen Teague) splits his time between a very real, rural Colorado and a virtual reality where he can live a life out of his reach. With his family, he must take care of his ailing father, but in his own virtual reality, he can find love on his terms.

In an exclusive for Awards Daily, Needell breaks down a particular scene of her film. It is eligible for the Live Action Short Film Oscar."

JOHNS HOPKINS MAGAZINE

"Ten years later, Needell is reveling in the triumph of having her short film, Life Rendered, premiere at this year's Tribeca Festival. Her directorial debut, the film combines motion capture, computer graphics, and live action in a vividly hued and ultimately hopeful depiction of a cowboy who uses virtual reality to explore his secret inner self."

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