Madeleine Olnek is a New York City based playwright and filmmaker, currently working on her third feature film — the project for which she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship — “Wild Nights With Emily,” a comedy/drama about Emily Dickinson. The project was also awarded NYSCA and Jerome Foundation funds.

Her second feature “The Foxy Merkins,” included screenings at Sundance 2014, BAM Cinemafest, Lincoln Center, and an NYC theatrical run at IFP. The film had its international premiere at the Moscow Film Festival.

Her debut feature “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” premiered at Sundance 2011. Its screening included MoMa, The Viennale and the Festival do Rio. Nominated for a Gotham award, it had theatrical runs in LA and NYC.

Her award-winning and widely screened comedy shorts, “Countertransference,” (2009) and “Hold Up” (2006), were official selections of Sundance; “Make Room For Phyllis” (2007) premiered at Sarasota. Olnek was awarded best female short film director at Sundance in 2009, by LA’s Women In Film organization.

Olnek has been commissioned by Dixon Place, the Atlantic Theater, The Actor’s Theater of Louisville, and the Public theater. She is one of the authors of “The Practical Handbook for The Actor” (with a foreword by David Mamet), a widely used acting textbook.

Olnek graduated from NYU with a BFA in drama, where she trained in the acting conservatory program. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Brown University, which she attended on a full merit-based scholarship, and received the “Weston Award for the Arts,” which cited her excellence as a teacher. She received her MFA in film from Columbia University; where she was the recipient of a grant from Panasonic, for her work co-running the “Panasonic Kids Witness News,” a program which teaches under-privileged inner-city kids how to make their own short films. At Columbia, she was awarded the “William Goldman screenwriting fellowship” and the “Adrienne Shelly Award for Best Female Director.”




Hold Up

Make Room for Phyllis

The State of New Jersey vs. Elaine Abrams


The Foxy Merkins

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same



Three Stories High
Lenore, The Human Roach Motel
You Call for The Fireman and The Arsonist Comes
Gay, Gay, Gay!
The Jewish Nun
Oona and Lurleen
Fan Mail
Help! Police!
23 Weston Road
A Bird in The Hand
It’s Not The Shoes (based on “The Twelve Dancing Princessess”)
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
From Eternity to Here
Frances Farmer Talks About Her Lobotomy 
The Destiny of Mimi
Room and Board
The Bad Neighbors Soap Opera, Episode 2
How to Write While You Sleep
Double Awareness Double Awareness
Dick Clark’s Happy Rockin’ New Year’s Eve at the Millennium (commissioned by the Joseph Papp Public Theatre)
Case Studies (segments)
The I’m-Not-Welcome-Anywhere Christmas Special
Disaster Area Nurse

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