Armenian-American writer/director Ryan Mekenian was born and raised near Whittier, California. In his youth, he'd carry around his mom's camera, shooting anything and everything in sight. When he attended the Orange County School of the Arts (or OCSA) and Francis Ford Coppola served as a guest director, Ryan learned what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. At 16, he went door-to-door raising ten thousand dollars to produce and direct his first play. Later that year, Ryan became the first student director in OCSA’s history with the California premiere of the musical Parade and the production led to the school’s formation of a directing curriculum. 

Ryan’s passion for directing led him east when he was accepted to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied under Tony-winning director Rachel Chavkin at the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, concentrating on production design and creating original work. During his freshman year, he was hired as a production assistant for the Broadway play Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks starring Mark Hamill. It was during this time Ryan reached out to director Harold Prince; Hal took Ryan under his wing as a mentee and hired him as an assistant. Later, Ryan assisted on Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention produced by Steven Spielberg, the Tony-nominated revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, The 24 Hour Plays with Jennifer Aniston and Sam Rockwell, and the final two seasons of Law & Order. He once catered Hugh Jackman's Christmas party. 

Ryan’s love of storytelling had started with his mom’s camera though, and his goal had always been to make films. So when he was accepted to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Ryan headed west to complete his studies and harness the craft of filmmaking. 

His USC thesis film, Spokespeople, garnered awards at the Oscar-Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), the BAFTA-Qualifying Bolton International Film Festival,  the Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Awards for Decolonizing/Re-Indigenizing Media, Filmed By Bike, and the Better Cities Film Festival. The doc screened at the Oscar-Qualifying Edmonton International Film Festival, Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival, Yellowknife International Film Festival, Bicycle Film Festival, Bogotá Short Film Festival, Indy Film Festival, & the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, among others. 

His screenplay, The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair, won the 2021 Screenwriting Discovery Award Grand Prize from RIIFF. 

Ryan’s goal is to direct the kind of films that inspired him as a kid — Comedies, Dramas, and True Stories that express honest, complex portrayals of the American dream. 

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