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Writer / Director

Emma Needell is a writer-director-producer from rural Colorado who stepped into the Hollywood spotlight at age 24, when Oprah Winfrey came on to produce her original script, THE WATER MAN. The film had its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, and following a summer theatrical run, the film is now available on Netflix. Needell has since worked in television for Steven Spielberg’s AMAZING STORIES, with A-List directors like Ava DuVernay and Academy Award winner Patrick Osborne, and on original projects in partnership with Netflix, Anonymous Content, MGM/Orion, and Gaumont TV. She recently directed a hybrid live-action and virtual production short film titled LIFE RENDERED, which will have its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. She was also featured on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list. 

EMMA NEEDELL_headshot.tif

Director's Statement

"I explored the depths of the internet long before I ever saw a major city. When I turned seven, my parents built a solar-powered cattle ranch in Colorado. The county was as rural as it gets, where everyone participated in the rodeo on Saturday and church on Sunday. As a nerdy Jew who’s allergic to horses, I didn’t fit in. But then our family got the internet — and suddenly it didn’t matter that I had only a few connections in real life, because I was connected to the entire world through my computer screen."
"LIFE RENDERED is about loneliness and love, born from my experience -- and my writing partner's experience as a gay man in Arizona -- as outsiders in places where conformity feels like law. In such scenarios, technology becomes a lifeline. Ultimately, LIFE RENDERED reveals how connected life can be when people are free to be themselves."

"I am proud of the themes we tackle in this project and it was wonderful to work with the disabled advocacy nonprofit Respect Ability for script consultation and casting help, as well as best practices on set, as well as script consultation with GLAAD, the leading LGBTQIA+ nonprofit in Hollywood."

– Emma Needell, May 2022

Cast & Crew


Owen Teague

as Mark Redman

Luce Rains

as Sage Redman

Armen Taylor

as Kane


Eric Day

Eric Day

Eric Day

Eric Day

Eric Day

Eric Day


Patrick Hackett


Jake Sally


Anton Fresco


Ryan Barton


Chad Herschberger


Alexis Grapsas


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