About

The Cynical Owl is an artist collective, creating content that feeds the underrepresented groups in contemporary media. We desire to give people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, oddballs, outcasts and more, films where they can see themselves in all their complexity. The world may not recognize it now, but we are all in fact human at the end of the day.

Founder/Director

Melissa V. Murray

Melissa Murray was born and raised in Harlem, NY.  She fell in love with writing and cinema at the age of nine. At the age of 15, she enrolled at the Ghetto Film School in the South Bronx, where she created several original short films, screened her first narrative work at Lincoln Center and wrote the 2007 Thesis Project script, which was produced on­ location in Paris, France.

Melissa worked for several production companies including,  Lee Daniels Entertainment and Cinetic Media, where she has gained both on-set experience as well as some of her business acumen.

Melissa also acted as the resident editor from 2011-2013 at Digital Bodega (GFS’ in­house production company), where she has edited and directed videos for major clients such as Jordan Brand, Wieden+Kennedy, Hershey’s and Deep Focus. She recently went to Chicago to direct UK band, Alt-J’s latest music video “Taro,” which had her working closely with Oscar nominated director, David O. Russell, the band’s creative director.

Melissa has written and directed several original short films over the past two years under her own production company, The Cynical Owl, and is currently in development on their first feature.

Melissa’s mission as an artist is to feature dynamic characters and stories that wholly encompass the Black American experience.

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