Talent Guide

Barbara Stepansky

  • Discipline:Director
  • Program Year:Directing Lab 2002


Barbara Stepansky is an award-winning independent feature film director. Her first feature film was Hurt, a thriller starring Melora Walters (Big Love, Magnolia) and William Mapother (In the Bedroom, Lost). High Treason Productions released the film in the US on DVD in 2009. Her second feature Fugue, a thriller/horror, will be released in 2011.

Stepansky was born in Poland, but her father’s involvement in the Solidarity movement led to the family relocating to Germany. After receiving a degree in philosophy of science from University College London, Stepansky decided to pursue her Master’s at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Her USC short Blueberry Pancakes garnered the Directors Guild of America Student Film Award and played at the Kodak Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Program in Cannes. She was invited to participate in the Film Independent Directors Lab with her feature script Sugar In My Veins. Stepansky completed a second graduate degree in Directing at the American Film Institute, winning the Student Emmy for Best Director for her thesis film, The Trojan Cow. The film also won the Grand Jury Prize at the USA Film Festival and in 2007 it was on the short list for the Academy Awards.

Stepansky is the recipient of several scholarships, including the King Family Foundation Scholarship for Excellence in Film and Video Production, the Mary Pickford Foundation Scholarship for Excellence, the Bridges Larson Foundation Production Award, the Patrick Peyton Award for Excellence, and the Franklin J. Schaffner AFI Fellow Award.

Stepansky believes in telling stories with themes about persistence, resilience and the triumph of the human spirit against all odds – in whatever genre that may be.

Current Project

Sugar In My Veins (Narrative Feature)


Fourteen year old violin prodigy Jillian falls head over heals for her sister's boy-friend, twice her age, only to find that playing with fire is much riskier than playing an instrument.