Hilari Scarl, writer/director/producer

Hilari Scarl is an award-winning director who was selected out of 12,000 filmmakers by Steven Spielberg to appear on his show On the Lot (2007), where she was heralded by directors including Garry Marshall, Carrie Fisher and Jon Avnet as one of best up-and-coming filmmakers in the country and received a first-look deal at DreamWorks.

The show galvanized Hilari to direct/produce See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary. The film received rave reviews including the New York Times Critics’ Pick, several festival awards and can be seen on Amazon, iTunes and Netflix. The film was distributed theatrically by Hilari's company Worldplay, Inc. and screened in 800 cities in 19 countries, earning a spot as one of the top 350 grossing documentaries of all time. Hilari secured Sprint to sponsor the music video and directed the film's title song featuring Phil X (Bon Jovi's guitarist) and Ninette Terhart. See What I'm Saying has enjoyed success with the studios, screening for employees at DreamWorks, Universal Studios and Walt Disney Imagineers; Disney was inspired to create a special weekend event around the film at Downtown Disney called "SIGNin' in the Street" with ABC Family's Switched at Birth.

Hilari has served as a creative consultant for Amazon Studios, Google, Anheiser-Busch, Nike, Sprint and Disney as well as several studio films. Her fields of expertise include Deaf culture/sign language, theatrical distribution, creative think tanks and improvisation.

Writing credits include several award winning short films and story consultant on two award-winning features. Hilari taught screenwriting at a new film studio in Beijing, China through Relativity Education for three months and later partnered with her interpreter for an original short for a new streaming platform.

Even though she is a NERDA (Not Even Related to a Deaf Adult), Hilari's interest in the Deaf community began in 1992 when she started working in Deaf theatre in New York, and was cast as a voicing actor with the Tony Award winning National Theatre of the Deaf. She spent a year on the road touring with An Italian Straw Hat with an ensemble of 17 deaf actors that inspired See What I’m Saying. Hilari is fluent in sign language and advocates casting deaf actors in mainstream roles.

Prior to directing her first feature, Hilari produced/directed 12 short films in three years that won film festivals, were broadcast on television and sold to distributors. She also worked as a television producer for shows on CBS, The History Channel, TLC and Court TV, and has served as a panelist/speaker for Women in Film, UCLA, Peter Broderick and several film festivals. She was one of nine participants accepted into the Producers Guild of America's Power of Diversity Workshop in 2012, and developed a one-hour TV drama. Hilari was a board member of the Alliance of Women Directors, the AWD Event Director (hosting dozens of panels, screening and events) and Film Fatales.

Hilari Scarl - smiling photo

Now that the shiny credits are up top, here's the real scoop:

Hilari found her acting roots at a young age in Chicago when she was accepted into the Academy for Performing Arts High School, and went on to work as a professional actress in Atlanta while finishing college and earning her B.A. in theater from University of Georgia and Georgia State University. She received a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and has appeared in over 75 theater productions, including starring as the lead in Mary Rogers’ Freaky Friday in a two-year national tour and Theatreworks, USA’s production of Jekyll and Hyde where she performed in fabulous theaters including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center and the Promenade Theater (Off Broadway) in New York. Hilari also worked as a playwright, winning the Heideman Award for her short play Cozenage that was performed at the Actors Theater of Louisville.

Between acting jobs, Hilari performed in and directed several sketch and comedy improvisation groups, performing at prestigious places (The Improv) and odd places (a moving train, Austin’s Big Stinkin’ Comedy Festival and a Mensa Convention.) During her summers off, Hilari performed as a singing wench and a fire-eater at the Atlanta and New York Renaissance Festivals, which became the subject of The Girl From Nowhere, a much-acclaimed solo show produced in Los Angeles. I swear I am not making this up.

In college, Hilari founded a successful youth theater program called the Young Players Ensemble that went on to produce several shows in Atlanta, New York, Maine, Northern Ireland and Los Angeles. Several of Hilari’s students have went on to professional careers, including Liz Feldman (Dead to Me on Netflix) and Steven Parker (Little Miss Sunshine.) The Young Players Ensemble created original multimedia theater productions with young people from different cultures, and became the subject of her first documentary Northern Ireland Now. The program migrated to film, which resulted in a new coming of age series THE WHATEVER YEARS. More can be found about the program on the Young Players Ensemble page on this site.

Hilari segued to film in 1996 after moving to Los Angeles, working as an assistant to Clark Peterson (Monster) where she managed to snag a special effects cameo role in Wes Craven’s Wishmaster. Her rarely talked about yet essential-to her-development assistant work includes working with Academy Award nominated actor Djimon Hounsou, legal work for MGM Studios and for Bon Jovi’s attorney. Even though her acting work in Los Angeles earned her several voice over jobs, a Jack in the Box commercial and a banking commercial directed by Academy Award winner Errol Morris, she moved behind the scenes to work on The Real World and O-Town before moving up as a TV producer.

Hilari currently lives in Burbank, CA, enjoys biking away from traffic and has completed two triathlons to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is an avid dog lover and the happy owner of a spunky Jack Russell girl named Charlie. Hilari is occasionally inspired to bake whimsical desserts including melty snowman cookies, duck shaped delights and the famous purse cake. While waiting for the oven timer and wondering what Charlie is up to, she’s attached to direct her magical realism feature film and has several other scripts in development with her production company Worldplay, Inc.


The Singletons (short experimental film) - 2020 - Semifinalist at Burbank International Film Festival
The Whatever Years (proof of concept) - 2018 - Coming of age teen drama filmed by Tommy Maddox Upshaw
Sign With Robert (30 episode educational series) 2015
No Ordinary Hero (award winning narrative feature) - 2013 - world premiere at Heartland Film Festival
Because (award-winning PSA) 2015
Safe (educational short film about preventing HIV/AIDS) 2011
See What I’m Saying (multi-award winning feature documentary) 2010
IEP (short educational film) 2010
Sprint Music Video (title song of feature film with rock band Powder) 2009
It’s My Life (short educational film against teen pregnancy for GLAD) 2009
The Wendy Dilemma (short documentary - Current TV) 2008
Reverse (short film broadcast On the Lot - FOX TV) 2007
The Library (short film - On the Lot – FOX TV) 2007
Ditto (5-minute short comedy, Palm Beach Film Festival, distributed by Ouat Media) 2007
Snips & Snails (short dark comedy, Audience Award at Dances with Films, LA Shorts Festival, First Glance Philadelphia, Mix Festival Brazil, Winnipeg International Film Festival, Frameline31, Vail Film Festival, distributed by Mini Movie) 2007
I’m Hilari Scarl (45 second Spartacus Spoof) 2007
This is Allergan (short industrial film) 2007
Think Pink (The Making of Snips & Snails/EPK) 2007
Rouchambeau (short documentary - Current TV) 2007
Ice Cream Man (short documentary - Current TV) 2007
Paving the Way (short documentary, Big Sky Film Festival, IDC semi-finalist, distributed by Current TV) 2006
Northern Ireland Now (60-minute feature documentary) 2003
Girl From Nowhere (mockumentary) 2001
Behind the Curtain (comedic short) 2000

Check out Hilari's IMDB page