Talent Guide

Dana Turken

  • Discipline:Director, Writer
  • Program Year:Grants and Awards 2013, Project Involve 2012, Screenwriting Lab 2013


Dana Turken is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker whose work lives somewhere between the real and the surreal, the dramatic and the comically absurd. She has directed eight short films and one play, through the Francis Ford Coppola One Act Festival. Dana grew up in Detroit and spent her youth training as a dancer. She studied semiotics at Brown University, directing at Prague’s FAMU Film Academy, and received her MFA in directing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television. A member of the International Cinematographers Guild, she spent five years in New York working in the camera department on feature films, episodic television, music videos, and commercials, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her MFA.

While at UCLA, Turken’s short film, Love on the Tundra, screened at the Seattle International Film Festival and the Athens Film and Video Festival, among others. Her film, Arthur and the Bunnies, premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, and went on to screen at numerous venues, including, Comic-Con, Camerimage, Mill Valley Film Festival, Cucalorus, REDCAT, and the Columbus International Film Festival, where it won the Best of Festival award. In 2012, she was a directing fellow in Film Independent’s Project Involve. She recently directed a short screwball comedy, produced by Film Independent and sponsored by the Lincoln Motor Company and Vanity Fair. Turken is currently writing a script for independent producer Bergen Swanson about the 1960s battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.

Current Project

Love on the Tundra


Seemingly together, type-A Emily becomes obsessed with trying to save mentally ill Jacob, but in the process of helping him get better, begins to psychologically unravel herself.