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Photograph by Nick Shamblott

Samantha Aldana is an award-winning Belizean-American director/writer. Her perspective is influenced by the magical realism and folklore storytelling traditions of her multicultural upbringing in Mississippi and the Caribbean. She is inspired by stories that use genre elements to explore the human condition and is most drawn to characters and stories that have often gone unseen.


Samantha’s first feature film, SHAPELESS, was selected as a 2020 fellow of The Gotham Narrative Lab and premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. SHAPELESS was released theatrically by XYZ Films. The Guardian called it an "accomplished, visually impressive debut." 


Samantha is the recipient of the Belize Film Commissioner’s Emerging Storyteller Feature Film Award for her feature in-development, LITTLE LYING WILD. This film won the WomeninFan Pitch at the Sitges Film Festival and was selected as a Breaking Through the Lens finalist, bringing her to Cannes and TIFF. LITTLE LYING WILD has also participated in the Berlinale Talents, Tribeca Film Institute Network, Tribeca Writing in Unreal, and the Emerging Voices Program.


Samantha directed an episode of Season 3, Bite-Size Huluween, for Disney and Hulu titled ANGELS. ANGELS is currently streaming on Hulu and won the Best Supernatural Horror Film at Fear Fest and the Audience Award at Dark Bridges Film Festival. In 2023, she was selected for the Warner Brothers Directors Access program. She is an alum of the NBC Female Forward program and had the opportunity to shadow director Salli Richardson-Whitfield on Syfy’s THE MAGICIANS and Marvel's AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 

In addition to her narrative film work, Samantha directs commercials and branded content. Her previous films have won numerous honors and have screened at festivals worldwide. Her film, THE MELANCHOLY MAN, screened at Comic-Con, premiered as a top pick on The Film Shortage, and was awarded Best Narrative Film in the Audience Awards Women's Film Challenge. She received the Best Director Award for her short film THESE WILD THINGS at the NYC Damn! Film Series, and the Jury Award for Best LA Short Film at the New Orleans Film Festival. Her short SI was featured on PBS and was awarded Best Short Film and Best Cinematography at the International KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. Her film PORCELAIN won the Jury Award at the Boston Independent Film Festival. 


Samantha holds a BA in Film Directing from Columbia College Chicago and is a member of Film Fatales and NALIP.

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