Phebe Szatmari
Phebe Szatmari
Director - Writer - Teacher

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Bio

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I'm a writer, director, and teacher living in Brooklyn, NY. I've directed, shot, written, produced, or performed in comedy videos for CollegeHumor, UCB Comedy, Más Mejor, Scary Mommy, Sports Illustrated, among many others.

My comedy feature directorial debut, Bruce, was acquired for distribution by Comedy Dynamics and can be viewed on Prime Video and iTunes.

I was previously a writer/director of branded content for Scary Mommy/Some Spider Studios and a producer and director of photography on the digital filmmaking team, UCB1, for The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre NY.

Period Piece, a web series I directed about women on their periods in different periods of time, won Best Original Series in the 2017 WHOHAHA Female Comedy Awards.

I have an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton where I worked on my thesis with Billy Collins, (Poet Laureate 2001-2003), Grace Schulman (poetry editor of the Nation from 1972 to 2006), and Julie Sheehan (Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton).

In a previous career, I was a senior editor of educational textbooks for Oxford and Cambridge University Presses. I also taught writing and grammar immersion courses at Queens College, primarily to recent ESL immigrants similar to my father (who escaped from Hungary in 1956).

 
 
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“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action,and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open.”

-Martha Graham

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

 

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TESTIMONIALS

“Phebe isn't just a director, she is an entire production rolled into one person. Not only does she have the vision of a director and knows how everything is going to come together, she fully understands all technical aspects of photography and the logistics of planning a shoot. She is the complete package.”

- James Coker, actor, writer, comedian, NYTV pilot winner in 2013 and 2015

"Phebe is an absolute rockstar. She came out of maternity leave early to direct my web series, “Period Piece,” which speaks to her level of commitment when she finds projects she is passionate about. And, as a bonus, we got her adorable daughter Remeny as an honorary location scout! Phebe’s biggest strength is her ability to communicate with everyone on set respectfully and efficiently. She made sure to ask the right questions beforehand about what I needed from her and how she could best fulfill my vision as the creator, while also bringing her own amazing insight to the project. She helped make my writing better by bringing out comedy in the performances that I didn’t even know was possible. Long story short, I can not recommend her enough, and everyone should hire her to direct their project (though I hope she’ll still have time to work with me!). "

-Liliana Tandon, Actor, Writer, Creator of Period Piece

“Phebe is a total pro. Focused, collaborative, direct and creative. A pleasure to work with.”

- Ginny Leise, filmmaker, comedian, actor

“She brought out things in me I never thought I'd be able to do in life let alone on camera. She makes it a point to make you feel comfortable and is essential in every step of the process, from early pre production to post. Her no bullshit attitude is something I admire and aspire to.”

- Chris Burns, regular contributor/actor on Betches

“Phebe Szatmari is a creative catalyst. Her ability and enthusiasm to support an idea and make it the best version of itself is uncanny. She is my first choice for any and every passion project I have because I know the work is safe with her and will thrive under her shepherding.”

- Daniel Max Bonventre, writer at ABC Television Network

“Phebe knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. She lets nothing stop her from crossing the finish line. Phebe comes at every project with equal passion and dedication, and sees it through to the very end—giving to the smallest projects the same worth to which she would give a bigger project—because Phebe cares about her work. Such consistent caring and devotion can be a rare quality in directors, but for Phebe, it's just nature—and that shows up on screen as clearly as I have seen it while working on set with her. I jump at any opportunity I can to work with Phebe, because I know that means I'll be a valued and respected team member, and because I know I'll be working on a worthwhile project.”

- Jon Hess, Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“The first time I really felt like I was working on a professional set was with Phebe Szatmari. She has the ability to keep the fun elevated on a set while still being efficient and productive. She knows what she wants but she also knows how to work together with the actors and crew to make the most out of everyone's creativity to get the best product. She's a rising star as a director. It's fun to watch her fly. Go, Phebe, go!”

- Rosie Guarino, actor, improviser, comedy writer


 

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“Phebe is the best! Incredibly hard working, talented and resourceful. She will take your idea and ensure you see it to the finish line, but she also will make it even better and stronger than it was before. Phebe is a professional through and through and knows how to get shit done. Hire her and you will absolutely be glad you did.”

- Lana Schwartz, Editorial Specialist at Environmental Defense Fund

“She has most important things. Focus, vision of the final product, great set skills, the clock always running in her head.”

- Drew Ingber Garfinkel, photographer  

“Phebe is an actor's director. She can quickly spot an actor's strengths and knows how to draw out those strengths in a fun, positive way. She uses time wisely, keeps the larger vision in mind at all times, and maintains professional demeanor. Phebe's a great director!”

- Amanda Miller, writer, comedian, actor

“Phebe is an absolute joy to work with. Her steady personality, organization skills, trust in her actors, teamwork attitude, ingenuity on set and enjoyment of the entire process made her a pleasure to work with and be directed by. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be on set with her to grow as an actor. I will continue to seek out opportunities to work with her because of the amazing experiences I've had. She's truly a Phebeast!!!”

- Amanda Giobbi, NBC

“Phebe is a stalwart professional. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing can get in her way of directing and producing the best piece she possibly can. I've had the privilege to work with her on a number of shoots, from comedies to political PSAs, and she never fails to deliver. She is my first choice whenever I have a project that needs directing. Actors feel comfortable with her direction and she knows how to bring out the best in people. Whether I'm acting or producing, I always feel safe having her at the helm.”

- Siobhan Beasley, photographer

“Phebe is a wonderful director that has an eye for anything and everything that will make the scene better. With an ability allow the actor a safe space to work in. She is a gem that any production would benefit from.”

- Julio C. Peña, actor on The Blacklist (NBC), Law & Order SVU

“Phebe has a great eye, all the stuff she shoots turns out looking great, but that's true of plenty of people in New York. What sets her apart is her positive energy. She comes ready to whole-heartedly support whatever your initial ideas are and adds her own ideas to make them turn out even better than you'd pictured. She's cool as shit to hang out with and the same is true about working with her. The attitude she brings to a set dictates the whole shoot and makes it feel fun and easy.”

- Kelsey McLaughlin, PYPO Network, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central

“Phebe is focused, driven, and confident. She always has a clear vision of what she wants and an eye to make her unique vision come alive.”

- Lauren Brickman, actor on Maude Night at UCB, Adjunct Lecturer, comedian, performer on off-broadway show Stuffed, Story Pirate

“Phebe Szatmari is a strong confident efficient director. Her multifocus and awareness of the entire production process is balanced with a patient presence with her actors . She knows when to be detail oriented and she knows when to trust her crew and actors . I trust her creative intuition and her directorial precision.”

- Tessa Claire Hersh, improviser, performer at UCB, actor

“Phebe ruled us. She really made a full-day shoot effortless. And she roller-skated backwards to snag shots which I cannot do.”

- Adam Weinrib, Headline/Features Contributor at Onion Network, Contributor at Clickhole, Associate Producer at ESPN Films

“In the first few minutes of working with Phebe you can tell what a consummate professional she is. Passionate, driven, creative, and wonderful to work with.”

- Anne Veal, improviser, actor

“Phebe maintains a great set environment where actors feel comfortable to experiment and explore. She is very efficient and she knows what she needs and keeps things moving along.”

- Matt Mancini, improviser, actor

“Phebe Szatmari is extremely professional and talented. Knows how to find the funny and capture it. Not an easy feat.”

- Michael Delisle, comedian, actor

“Can't recommend Phebe enough. She is efficient and focused while still making sure the set is a fun and enjoyable environment and you always know your finished project is handled with the utmost care and attention. Love love her!”

- Ilana Michelle Rubin, MTV Networks

“Phebe Szatmari gets it done. She is focused and extremely passionate about her work. On set the confidence in her vision spreads to cast and crew and allows everyone to be at their best.”

- David McCullouch, actor

“She's an angel on rollerblades. Calm cool collected with vision for days.”

- Lauren Besser, National Organizer for the Women’s March on Washington, writer, performer

“Phebe is the best!” 

Joanna Bradley, writer on SNL, actor/writer for Above Average

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Looking forward to hearing from you

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