Zelnick is a writer/director/producer originally from Washington, D.C. The daughter of an award winning journalist, she was encouraged to see the world from as many perspectives as possible and developed a deep and abiding love for the art of storytelling—first as a listener, and later as an author.
She has served on the production team for several award-winning films, including: as producer on James Franco’s The Clerk’s Tale (Official Selection 2010 Cannes Film Festival); assistant director on Homewrecker (Best of Next 2010 Sundance Film Festival) and William Vincent (Official Selection 2010 Tribeca Film Festival); associate producer on Camp Victory, Afghanistan (2010 SXSW Film Festival); and, currently, producer on the upcoming feature Maladies, starring James Franco and Catherine Keener, directed and written by New York visual artist Carter.
As a screenwriter, her feature screenplay The Straight was a finalist for the 2010 Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Award. Prior to her film career she served as a freelance journalist and worked for Refugees International, a Washington D.C. based advocacy NGO. She was quickly sent to Thailand, where she spent months living with and documenting the lives of the endangered Mlabri people. Her photographs and writing were instrumental in the effort to attain recognition and support for the group from the Thai government.
An MFA-candidate in the Graduate Film division of the Kanbar Institute, Zelnick graduated with honors from Dartmouth College, with a double major in Creative Writing and Film Production where she received the Lockwood Prize for Poetry for her collection Love, War and Other Childhood Memories.
In 1996, the Sloan Foundation partnered with half a dozen of the nation’s top film schools in a pioneering effort to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology, and to challenge existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in commercial film and television. In 2002, the Kanbar Institute filmmakers were the first recipients of the Sloan Foundation’s new Feature Film Production Award.
Marni Zelnick was awarded a Production grant at NYU in 2010 for Druid Peak