Every storyteller needs a way in - a perspective, a point of view. Mine is a never ending search for authenticity. As a director I have two goals: 1- To find the truth of the moment in the story and the best way to tell that truth with artistry. And 2- To create a safe and inspiring space for people to do their best work. I believe that when you break down the walls we often hide behind and chip away the bullshit that makes it untruthful, short sighted, or self indulgent, that's where the magic happens. That's when your audience starts to see their own stories reflected in your work. That's when hearts and lives are changed.
I tell stories to help create a more empathetic world.
Amber Paige McGinnis (formerly Amber Jackson) directs both film and theatre professionally and has danced between the two mediums since she was an awkward adolescent Southern Baptist homeschooler. Originally from North Carolina, Amber is currently based in the Washington DC metro area where she enjoys hiking, playing with fire, drinking Sazeracs with her amazing partner, and having her soul examined by her overly emotional pitbull, Murphy.
Amber runs her own LLC called Outskirt Media where she recently produced and directed her first feature length film called International Falls, starring Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Matt Glave and Kevin Nealon. She has also produced and directed several short films, including The Gift, Missy and Clogged, and has worked as an Associate Producer for the Emmy Award-winning Kennedy Center Honors, where she produced biography films for Tom Hanks and Lily Tomlin.
After completing her MFA in Directing at Baylor University in luxurious Waco, TX (kidding, this was before Fixer Upper), Amber began working with new media production company WILL Interactive, where she has directed and written over twenty interactive films that focus on behavior change. These “choose your own adventure” style films with branching storylines are part video game, part narrative storytelling, and have given Amber the opportunity to work with Naval Academy students on Sexual Assault prevention, Army leaders at the Pentagon on ethical decision making, medical practitioners at HHS on opioid abuse, and in her most recent work with the Department of Justice, on bias in the police force.
Amber is the recent recipient of the Richard Bauer Emerging Artist Award, and her stage work has been hailed by the POST as “intense and visually striking” as well as “polished and perceptive.” Theatre directing credits include The Welders: Girl in the Red Corner (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Original New Play); Constellation Theatre: Equus (Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Production); Theater J: The Last Night of Ballyhoo; Keegan Theatre: TOP GIRLS; Forum Theatre: Dry Land (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Direction of a Play), World Builders; Flying V Theatre: Lobster Alice, The Oregon Trail; Pinky Swear Productions: The Last Burlesque; WSC Avant Bard: Orlando; American University: Spring Awakening; University of Maryland: The Importance of Being Earnest; Source Festival: The Uses of Enchantment; as well as collaborations with the Folger Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, and Water Tower Theatre.
Amber's work typically centers around strong female protagonists because frankly, there aren’t enough of us. Most recently, her feature-length screenplay Girl in the Red Corner, which is based on the award-winning play and co-written with playwright Stephen Spotswood, made it to the second round in the Sundance Writers Lab. She is also developing a screenplay based on a true story called Mill Mother's Lament about a Southern millworker from Amber's hometown in Bessemer City, North Carolina. Amber's gone from being the girl who couldn’t get away from home fast enough to being obsessed with reclaiming that identity. Funny how life takes us full circle.
“Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.”
-Margot Fonteyn, dancer