Sian Heder
Sian Heder during an interview, March 2022.jpg
Heder in March 2022
Born (1977-06-23) June 23, 1977 (age 45)
OccupationTelevision writer, television producer, and filmmaker
Years active2006–present
Notable workTallulah
SpouseDavid Newsom
ParentMags Harries and Lajos Héder
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
CODA (2021)

Sian Heder (/ˈʃɑːn ˈhdər/; born June 23, 1977) is an American television writer, television producer, and filmmaker who is best known for writing and directing the films Tallulah and CODA. CODA earned Heder an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, while the film won for Best Picture. She also won several other awards including A BAFTA Award

Early life

Heder was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 23, 1977, the daughter of Welsh artist Mags Harries and Hungarian artist Lajos Héder.[1] Her sister, Thyra, is also an artist.[2] Heder graduated with a BFA from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.[3]


After graduation, Heder moved to Los Angeles to become an actress and screenwriter while working for a nanny agency.[4] At the agency, she worked for guests with children staying at four-star hotels and her experiences inspired Mother, her first short film as writer and director.[5] In early 2005, the script for Mother was one of eight chosen to be awarded a fellowship for the prestigious American Film Institute's DWW (Directing Workshop for Women).[6] Mother won the Grand Jury Award for "Best Narrative Short" at the Florida Film Festival, and also received honors at the Cinéfondation Competition of the Cannes Film Festival[7] and the Seattle International Film Festival. The film was then selected to appear in competition at Palm Springs International Festival of Shorts and the British Film Institute's London Film Festival.

In 2010, Heder won a Peabody Award, along with her fellow writers, for her work on the acclaimed U.S. television series, Men of a Certain Age.[8] In 2011 she wrote and directed a short comedy, Dog Eat Dog (A Short Tale) starring Zachary Quinto[9] to raise awareness for pet adoption, and that short film can be watched for free on YouTube. She wrote for seasons 1-3 of the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black before taking time off from that job to direct the film Tallulah.

In 2015, Heder directed Tallulah, starring Elliot Page and Allison Janney.[10] Tallulah was backed by Route One Entertainment, Maiden Voyages Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment. The film was set to premier as one of 65 films selected for Sundance Film Festival January 21–31 in Utah.[11] Netflix obtained worldwide rights to stream Tallulah in January 2016. The film received positive reviews from critics,[12] and was released on July 29, 2016.[13][14]

In 2021, Heder's film CODA premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. After signing a deal with Apple,[15] the rights to the film were bought for $25 million.[16] Heder won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for her work on the film.

Personal life

Heder is married to actor and producer David Newsom, with whom she has two children.[17]


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2016 Tallulah Yes Yes No
2021 CODA Yes Yes No

See also


  1. ^ Meek, Tom (July 26, 2016). "Sian Heder's 'Tallulah' Pulls From 'Surreal Experiences With Bad Moms'". WBUR. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "Thyra Heder". Thyra Heder. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  3. ^ "Sian Heder's 'Tallulah' Pulls From 'Surreal Experiences With Bad Moms'". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  4. ^ "Sundance 2016: Fiction collides with reality for 'Tallulah' creator Sian Heder". Los Angeles Times. January 21, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  5. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (May 26, 2006). "A nanny's insight". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  6. ^ "AFI and Lifetime Team Up to Employ Female Filmmakers". American Film. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "Mother". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  8. ^ "Peabody Award surprises: 'Men of a Certain Age,' 'Justified'". LA Times Blogs - Awards Tracker. March 31, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "Zachary Quinto debuts rescue film 'Dog Eat Dog'". MNN - Mother Nature Network. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "Ellen Page, Allison Janney to star in Route One's 'Tallulah'". Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  11. ^ "Sundance: James Franco's 'Goat,' Ellen Page's 'Tallulah' Highlight Dramatic Competition". TheWrap. December 2, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  12. ^ "Tallulah". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  13. ^ Sharf, Zack (January 13, 2016). "Netflix Kicks Off Sundance Early By Acquiring Ellen Page-Starring 'Tallulah'". Indiewire. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Van-Syckle, Katie (April 27, 2016). "Movies About Women Nearly Impossible to Finance, Say Indie Producers". Variety. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  15. ^ White, Peter (June 9, 2021). "'Little America' Co-Showrunner & 'CODA' Filmmaker Siân Heder Strikes Overall Deal With Apple". Deadline. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  16. ^ Lindahl, Chris (March 6, 2021). "Apple Paid $25 Million for Worldwide Rights to 'CODA.' Here's Why That's a Problem". IndieWire. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  17. ^ Harman, Justine (January 25, 2016). "7 Unexpected, Unruly, Utterly Incovenient Women Coming To A Screen Near You". Elle. Retrieved July 29, 2016.