Hanelle Culpepper’s filmmaking career began in 1997 when her first screenplay “Mona Lisa” earned her admission into Bill and Camille Cosby’s prestigious screenwriting program for African-American writers. Through the program, Hanelle wrote Miss Ella. A semi-finalist in the chesterfield Screenplay competition and Honorable Mention in the Writers Digest competition, Miss Ella earned Hanelle a place in the 1999 IFP/west Screenwriters Lab.
Also in 1999, Hanelle associate produced the independent feature film Ocean Park, which is a two-time festival winner of Best Director and Best Picture.Hanelle graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Economics and French from Lake Forest College in suburban Chicago. For graduate studies, Hanelle enrolled in the Master’s program at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. While at USC, she worked behind the scenes on multiple student film projects in every position from production assistant to producer. Following her graduation from USC, Hanelle worked for writer/director Neal Israel (Bachelor Party), writer/producer Kathy Kloves (USA Network’s Weekly World News) and for the Sundance Institute. Prior to forming Hillview 798 Productions , Hanelle was hired by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise), who also became her mentor. Hanelle was fortunate enough to work with Khouri on her directorial debut, Warner Brothers Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
She has directed five short films including “A Single Rose”, which has screened at numerous film festivals worldwide, including Atlanta Women of Color International Film Festival and has won several awards, including Best Short, Best Actress and Best Music. In May 2004, it screened at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the ICG Showcase. In 2005 it ranked 12th for Academy Award Consideration.
Director: Leila, A single Rose
(USA, 2005) A woman fears love due to a painful experience in her past.
Cameo appearance by Sinbad.
(USA,2003) Set in the rural early 20th century South, Rose, an African-American beauty, has achieved her lifelong goal of an easy life of luxury and riches, but at a price – a husband who is rarely home.