By Benjamin Sepinuck (2019)
Daughter of a first generation Italian immigrant, Lorene Scafaria was born May 1, 1978 in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, where she attended Holmdel High School. There, she first began pursuing creative endeavors, penning a play at the age of seventeen and premiering it at a local art house movie theater. This is also when she began acting, which would later help her in her film career. After studying English and theater at Lafayette College and Montclair State University, Scafaria moved to New York where she worked at a production company answering phones. While there, she wrote, produced, and performed in the play That Guy and Others Like Him, which she adapted into a feature screenplay following positive reviews. This led to her further pursuing screenwriting, entering into writing contests and sending her second script, Has Been, to as many agents as she could, eventually getting noticed by a representative in Los Angeles.
After moving to LA, Scafaria began living and working with Demolition writer Bryan Sipe, collaborating on projects such as Legend Has It, which the pair sold to Revolution Studios in 2002. She also got work as an actress, appearing in various shorts and movies directed by other writers such as Sipe and veteran screenwriter John August. While it wasn’t until 2008 that one of her screenplays, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, was actually produced, during this period she wrote and sold numerous other scripts and became close friends and colleagues with fellow writers Diablo Cody, Dana Fox, and Liz Meriweather, who collectively refer to themselves as “the Fempire.” Scafaria has called these women her best friends, and expressed an admiration for their work that predates their personal relationships. This group of women received the Athena Film Festival’s Award for Creativity and Sisterhood in 2012.
2012 was also the year of the release of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Scafaria’s first project as a director. The film, based on her own screenplay, received largely mixed reviews from critics, many of whom felt particularly strongly about it both positively and negatively. In it she demonstrated a strong command over the camera and was able to manage multiple conflicting tonal elements to create something full of genuine emotional sentimentality. While slightly underperforming financially, this debut was impressive enough work to earn Scafaria the chance to direct again, once again writing/directing for her 2015 film, The Meddler. She also wrote and directed 2019’s Hustlers, produced by Gloria Sanchez Productions and based on a New York Magazine article entitled “The Hustlers at Scores.” This film received the widest release of Scafaria’s career thus far and has been met with both financial and critical success, with positive reviews coming in from critics as well as general audiences. Most remarkably, she was able to preserve her artistic choices for the film despite struggling to get it produced for several years, fighting to occupy the director’s chair, and being dropped by her original distributor; Scafaria says that it was important for her to be able to tell a story about women and money and crime that didn’t become something black and white, and the reception of Hustlers indicates that she succeeded.
Scafaria continues to work as a writer, with an upcoming project to be directed by the iconic Ivan Reitman, and due to the success of Hustlers will almost certainly be helming more films in the near future.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) - writer
Love is Dead (2013) - director
The Meddler (2015) - writer/director
To quote this bio, please use the reference: Sepinuck, Benjamin (2019), "Biography of Lorene Scafaria" Gynocine Project