Lisa Donato is a writer, director, and activist from Billings, Montana and based in Los Angeles & Austin. Her award-winning work has screened at hundreds of film, music, and art festivals worldwide. Lisa strives to bring social awareness to marginalized and invisible communities and believes that comedy will mend the tense and politically-polarized culture of the U.S.
The first feature screenplay that she co-wrote with Fawzia Mirza, Signature Move, is a coming-of-age drama about a Muslim woman who takes care of her TV-obsessed mother and copes by taking lucha-style wrestling. It world-premiered at SXSW and can be found on Amazon Prime and iTunes.
She's currently touring with two award-winning short films:
Foxy Trot, a married lesbian couple face their relationship power struggle when they take ballroom dance lessons. (starring Laura Zak, Elizabeth Frances, and Julia Aks).
There You Are, a trans woman must dress like a boy to say goodbye to her dying grandmother in Texas (starring Jen Richards, Heather Kafka, Alexandra Anderson).
She’s also working with actress and recent stroke survivor, Maggie Whittum, on a feature documentary about a group of aspiring actors with disabilities in Denver called The Great Now What. Her mixed-media project, Hobo Salon, provides free haircuts for Austin’s homeless community and collects personal experiences through filmed interviews.
Lisa founded the independent film studio, Sparkle Motion Films, and has a magic-wand wish to create visual media that promotes equality, heals trauma, and inspires comedy in uncomfortable situations. Other story credits include shows for National Geographic Wild, Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and published personal essays in the LA Times, Self Magazine, Curve Magazine, Austin Women, Whole Life Times, and 5280 Magazine.
AWARDS / NOMINATIONS:
(Foxy Trot) Best LGBTQ Short Film, Austin Revolution Film Festival, 2018
(Foxy Trot) Best Romantic Comedy, Austin Comedy Fest, 2018
(There You Are) Iris Prize Official Selection, 2018
(There You Are) Best of Fest, Outfest, 2018
(There You Are) Best Short Film, Trans Stellar Fest, 2018
(Foxy Trot) Best Cinematography, Female Film Fest, 2018
(Foxy Trot) Best Women's Short Film, NCGLFF, 2018
(Foxy Trot) Best Comedy, Fargo-Moorhead Film Festival, 2018
(Signature Move) Best U.S. Narrative Feature, Outfest, 2017
(Signature Move) Best Screenplay, Out On Film Atlanta, 2017
(Spunkle) Best LGBTQ+ Short Film, CANNES: EMERGING FILMMAKER SHOWCASE, 2017
(The News Today) Iris Prize Official Selection, 2017
(Reclaiming Pakistan) Ron Kovic Peace Prize, My Hero Film Festival, 2017
(Reclaiming Pakistan) Dan Eldon Activist Award, My Hero Film Festival, 2017