Red Hot Entrepreneurs 2014

Leaders of the pack!

Founder and CEO, The Cynical Owl

A Harlem native, Melissa Murray seemed destined for a career in filmmaking. Her mom, a cinematographer, introduced Murray to Hollywood classics at a young age; she found her calling as a junior high school student in the South Bronx. ″I started to become really conscious of the fact that there aren´t varied stories for people who look like me. It really began to nag at me, because there´s a great benefit to growing up and seeing positive images of yourself in different media platforms,″ she says. After honing her on-set and business skills at Lee Daniels Entertainment and Cinetic Media, she launched her own production company, The Cynical Owl, to produce original creative content for her own clients. ″The Cynical Owl LLC was created to balance the scales. [We] felt that frustration of being omitted or overlooked in film and television, and wanted to create a little safe haven in the digital space for people to see images of themselves. Not only people of color, but the LGBT community, weirdos, outcasts,″ Murray explains. She´s written and directed several original shorts and is working on her first feature. This month, The Cynical Owl is releasing an installation of viral short films. ″I want people to feel a part of our journey,″ Murray adds. ″When they feel a part of the journey, they´re more inclined to support it and share it.″

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