Meet Filmmaker, Roxanne Messina Captor – Writer, Director and Producer



Emmy Award nominee Roxanne Messina Captor is one of Hollywood’s most versatile director/writer/producers. A directing protege of Francis Ford Coppola and a founding original programming executive of Turner Network Television, Messina Captor just wrapped production on the independent digital series “The Salon,” which is currently under consideration for the 2020 “Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Emmy  Award.”  The series pre-launch buzz recently attracted the attention of Kelsey Grammer and Tom Russo, who just came on board as executive producers of the project.

“The Salon” is based upon Messina Captor’s short film, “A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser,”starring Shelley Long and Harry Shearer, which qualified for the 2009 Oscars and was a selection of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner. Additionally, it was Sofy TV and Shorts International Network’s 2009 Oscar pick and a selection of the 2009 Downtown Film Festival-LA, the 2009 LA Short Film Festival and the 2009 New Orleans Film Festival.

Most recently Messina Captor’s documentary short, “Peace Over Violence,” which explores youth education and stopping sexual and domestic violence, screened on KCET/PBS. Her documentary short Thank You For Your Service,” about women veterans in active duty, was an official selection in the 2018 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and Market 2018. The film also won “Best Narrative Feature” for the Hall of Fame, Women’s History Month. “TYFYS” and four other Messina Captor shorts are screening on Sofy TV (Largo Films, Universal Studios) and Shorts International Network, the Oscar Channel on Direct TV.

Her documentary short “Homecoming: Veterans, Wives and Mothers” screened at the San Pedro International Film Festival to rave reviews. Messina Captor also wrote, directed and produced the popular web series “The Bag,” a series of one-two minute vignettes based on the contents of a woman’s handbag, now available on Moviola.

Under the banner of Messina Captor Films, she is currently developing “Pearl”starring Judith Light, William H. Macy, John Cho, Leehom Wang, and Jing Tian, with support from The Pearl S. Buck Foundation which honored Messina Captor at the 2015 Buck Symposium in Zhenjiang, China in 2015.  Other projects include Gypsy Robe,” a feature film project based upon the Broadway gypsies of “The Great White Way,” and a number of Christmas MOW’s  for various networks.

Messina Captor directed the feature film, “A Clean Kill” (a.k.a “Seduced”), starring Perry King, Roxana Zal, Daniel Benzali, Susan Blakely, Michelle Green and T.C Carson which was the opening night selection for the 1999 Mill Valley Film Festival, featured at the Telluride Indie Festival, and premiered on Lifetime Television as “Her Married Lover.”

Messina Captor’s prior producing credits include “Dead On Sight,” starring Jennifer Beals, Danny Baldwin and William H. Macy, and three telefilms for CBS:“In Dreams,” the Emmy-nominated “Home Sweet Homeless” and “Fatal Vows,” in association with Steven Cannell Studios. Directing credits include “NYPD Blue.”

Messina Captor formerly served as Executive Director of the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIF) from 2001-2007, increasing attendance, fundraising and celebrity attendance by 40%. In recognition of her efforts, Messina Captor was awarded the prestigious 2005 Chevalier Du L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres, Republic of France, joining a prominent group of international individuals who are knighted for their work in the arts. Under Messina Captor’s leadership, the SFIFF bestowed celebrity honors to: Dustin Hoffman; Clint Eastwood, Paul Haggis, Forest Whitaker, Warren Beatty, Kevin Spacey, Terry Semel, Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Tom Waits and Danny DeVito, to name but a few. She also launched the first Hispanic film program at the SFIFF.

Roxanne Messina Captor with Clint Eastwood at the San Fransisco International Film Festival (SFIFF)
Roanne Messina Captor with Robin Williams

Messina Captor created and wrote “The Trujillos,” the first-ever Hispanic pilot series on ABC that portrayed the true values of a Latin American family which prompted an invitation from Executive Director Ivan Giroud to speak at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba.

Messina Captor got her big Hollywood break when Francis Ford Coppola chose her to assist Gene Kelly with the choreography of “One From the Heart” and  serve as Terri Garr’s “dance-in.” She was Coppola’s production directing apprentice on “The Outsiders”  and “Rumblefish” and was assistant choreographer on “The Cotton Club.”

Messina Captor was also one of the founding executives of Turner Network Television, overseeing the development and production of “Final Warning: Chernobyl, ” “When The Lion Roared: An MGM Story,”“Orpheus Descending” and “Cold Sassy Tree.”

A graduate of the Juilliard School Theatre Program, Messina Captor has an extensive list of theater credits. She directed and choreographed the pre-Broadway musical version of the MGM classic “Summer Stock” adapted by Messina Captor and  original screenwriter Sy Gomberg, with music from the Y.I.P. Harburg and Harold Arlen estates. Captor also directed the premiere of “The Vow,”a play by Stephanie Liss starring Alan Rachins, Amy Aquino and Nicholas Guest. She won rave reviews for her direction of the Vincent Canby play “After All,”starring Hal Linden, for the Showtime Act 1 Festival and for “Trotsky’s Garden,”starring Dina Merrill, Kurtwood Smith and Ayre Gross in the Strasberg Theatre production.

Other theatre credits are: Ophelia in “Hamlet” (The N.Y. Public Theater); directing “A Christmas Carol” (San Diego Repertory Theater); “As You Like It” (Berkeley Shakespeare Festival); “Inner Rhythms” (Cal-Arts Repertory Theater), “Dylan” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Messina Captor’s list of directing and choreography credits extends from the classics of “Carousel” to “A Chorus Line” and “Pippin” to the development new musical theatre projects, including “Leonardo” by Chuck Mangione. Her opera directing and choreographing credits include “The Merry Widow,” “Die Fledermaus,” “Les Pecheurs de Perles” and “La Navarraise.”

Messina Captor currently serves on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Higher Education Policy-Making Committee and was a semi-finalist in AFI’s 2019 Directing Workshop For Women. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Who’s Who in America, Creative Coalition, Greenlight Women, the Los Angeles Music Center’s Club 100 Group, the Downtown Film Festival, and is the moderator for the annual Women in the Arts Panel. She produced the  Distinguished Artists Awards for the Los Angeles Music Center which honored Garth Brooks, Jay Leno, and Kirk Douglas and is the recipient of the Ohio State Award for “support of excellence in educational informational and public affairs broadcasting.”

Roxanne Messina Captor dancing with the Harkness Ballet

Messina Captor is Film and Television Studies Professor at Santa Monica College (SMC) and Emerson College (Los Angeles) (ELA) where she founded the school’s Performing Arts Division. She is head of the documentary production program at SMC and ELA.  Messina Captor has also taught at Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, Cal-Arts, Cal-State Long Beach.

A professional ballerina at the age of 12, Messina Captor danced for Lyric Opera Ballet, The Ruth Page Ballet Company, Harkness Ballet (where Patrick Swayze was her partner), and Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century in Brussels. As a Broadway show dancer, she appeared in“Chicago,” “Pippin” and “Pal Joey” and danced in “Pennies From Heaven,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “Xanadu,” the film which brought her to the attention of Gene Kelly.

Roxanne Messina Captor with Gene Kelly
Roxanne Messina Captor with Francis Ford Coppola, her mentor