bio_photo One of Indiewire’s TV directors to know, the energetic and unflappable Hanelle Culpepper has credits ranging from superhero action adventures to thrillers to genre films to character-driven dramas. As director of the Star Trek: Picard pilot, Hanelle became the first woman to launch a new Star Trek series in its 53-year history. In 2021 she won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing for her work on the episode. In 2022, she was nominated for her work on Netflix’s True Story starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes, and again in 2023 for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Her recent work includes Star Wars: The Acolyte and the pilot for Neil Gaiman’s Amazon series Anansi Boys. In 2020, she co-executive produced and directed the pilot for the Berlanti produced CW drama Kung Fu, which ran for three seasons. Up next, Hanelle will direct a block for Dan Fogelman’s new Hulu series Paradise City, starring Sterling K Brown. She is also attached to direct the feature film 1000 Miles starring Shamier Anderson (produced by Zucker Productions and Castle Rock), as well as a feature adaptation of the bestselling YA novel Amari and the Night Brothers for Universal Studios, (produced by Hidden Pictures, Don Cheadle’s production company This Radicle Act, and Marsai Martin’s Genius Entertainment).

Hanelle earned her B.A. from Lake Forest College and her M.A. from USC’s Annenberg School. After working as the assistant for Oscar-winning screenwriter/director Callie Khouri, she completed AFI’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women, which launched her as a director to watch. Her short A Single Rose won numerous awards and screened at film festivals worldwide, including the 2004 ICG Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival. onset_leila

A Single Rose plus Hanelle’s viral short film spoof Six and the City, led to her first feature, the supernatural thriller Within, starring Mia Ford, Sammi Hanratty, Sam Jaeger, Lori Heuring, Brent Sexton, and featuring Aisha Hinds. The film won Outstanding Feature Film at the Big Bear Horror Film Festival and had its television premiere on Lifetime. Over the next several years, Hanelle helmed multiple thrillers, including Murder on the 13th Floor starring Tessa Thompson.


Hanelle’s television career took off after NBC Universal’s Directing Initiative led to directing an episode of Parenthood. Her diverse television work includes Star Wars, Westworld, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, True Story, Counterpart, Mayans M.C., Criminal Minds, Grimm, American Crime, The Flash, Gotham, S.W.A.T., Star Trek: Discovery and NOS4A2. In 2019, she was selected for the inaugural class of ReFrame and earned Variety’s 2019 Inclusion Impact Honor.

Hanelle proudly serves on the TV Academy’s Director Peer Group Executive Committee, and as an alternate for the DGA’s National Board and Western Directors Council. When not on set, Hanelle shepherds up-and-coming directors as the Guest Artistic Director for AFI’s DWW+ Class of 2024-2025.

Hanelle is represented by Verve Talent Agency. Her manager is Adesuwa McCalla at Metamorphic Entertainment and her lawyer is Matthew Wallerstein of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman.