Photograph by Nick Shamblott
Samantha Aldana is an award-winning Belizean-American director and writer. Her style is heavily influenced by the magical realism and folklore storytelling traditions of her multicultural upbringing in South 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 wrote, "The gnawing omnipresence of an eating disorder becomes the source of body horror in Samantha Aldana’s 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 also selected as a finalist for the Breaking Through the Lens finance lab, bringing her to Cannes and TIFF. The project has been invited to participate in other programs, including the Tribeca Film Institute Network, Tribeca Writing in Unreal, and Emerging Voices Program.
While participating in the NBC Female Forward program, Samantha 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. Samantha recently directed an original Bite-Size Short for Disney, ANGELS, which streamed on Hulu in October 2022 for Huluween. The film recently won the Best Supernatural Horror Film at Fear Fest and the Audience Award at Dark Bridges Film Festival.
Her previous films have won numerous honors and have screened at festivals worldwide. Her short 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.