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Debra Kirschner is a screenwriter and director. She creates painfully honest stories about goofy, flawed women like herself. She is best known for writing, directing and independently producing the acclaimed indie feature THE TOLLBOOTH, starring Marla Sokoloff, Rob McElhenney, Idina Menzel, Liz Stauber, Jayce Bartok, Ron Guttman and Tovah Feldshuh, which had theatrical, DVD and VOD distribution. Currently streaming on TuBi and ChaiFlicks.

Cinematographer Stefan Forbes; Actors Jayce Bartok, Marla Sokoloff & Ronald Guttman; Debra Kirschner

THE TOLLBOOTH premiere, Photo Credit: Sari Goodfriend
(L to R Cinematographer Stefan Forbes; Actors Jayce Bartok, Marla Sokoloff & Ronald Guttman; Debra Kirschner)

Her feature script MALLWALKERS, won the New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) Ravenal Grant for a second time woman feature director. She developed the project at Cine Qua Non International Screenwriting Lab, Stowe Story Lab and NYWIFT's "From Script to Preproduction" Incubator. The project was invited to the inaugural NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Financing Lab and earned a spot on the "Wscripted List of Excellent Scripts" at Cannes Film Festival.

A prolific writer, she has several scripts in various stages of development, including three original television pilots. Her comedy television series FROG KISSERS is about single women who live in Staten Island and are determined to prove the adage “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince” by kissing frog after frog after frog.  This is based on a true story – Debra and her best girlfriends challenged themselves similarly several years back... and as a result laughed instead of cried through several romantic misadventures. Debra wrote and directed a ten-minute pilot sample of FROG KISSERS, which premiered at the International Television Festival. She is developing this into a single-camera series. Debra has written and directed several short-form projects, including her web series, THE HAPPY MOMMY HUSTLE, about two sisters, a working mom and a stay-at-home mom who grapple with their choices, their limitations and the unsolicited opinions of strangers. These sketch-comedy webisodes air on the dedicated channel

Earlier in her career, she wrote and directed the short film CHANGING CLOTHES, which toured festivals around the world. She also collaborated with Emmy-nominated, DGA-winning director Tasha Oldham to write the short film PICKLED, which Oldham directed as part of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.

As an adjunct professor, Debra teaches Screenwriting at Brooklyn College and Digital Video Production at Fordham University. As a teaching artist, Debra helped traditionally unheard writers find their own stories. She started and led the creative writing program at the Hoboken Shelter in New Jersey for nine years, and for two years she led a writing workshop for women over fifty-five at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn who helped inspire MALLWALKERS.

An active member of the New York creative community, she is as a member of NYWIFT, Film Fatales and New York Writers Coalition.  She and her husband Drew Yearian launched Kirschearian Productions as a platform to produce and create more stories alongside their creative, happy life.

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