Writer/Director Joanne Caputo is a former classroom teacher who has worked in film and video production since the 1980s. After creating educational, commercial, and corporate productions for a variety of clients, she began her independent filmmaking career with a children’s video, Ballerina, Ballerina! (1995), recommended by Sesame St. Magazine and featuring sister ballerinas.
Caputo's first documentary, On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream, was filmed over four years and broadcast nationally by PBS Independent Lens, where it won the 2005 Audience Award. Recommended by The New York Times, Anti-Defamation League and others, On A Roll represented the USA at international disability film festivals, and was selected for (PBS) True Stories: Life in the USA international programming through 2017. Following On A Roll, Caputo released Cutting Loose, a seven-year documentary study of an American prison artist, and Letters From Frank, winner of the Ohio State Fair’s Juror’s Choice Award (Short Film Festival).
In 2008, Caputo published Margaret Garner, a dual non-fiction book based on American slavery research for her Margaret Garner feature-length screenplay (recipient of a $5000 Ohio Arts Council Screenwriting Fellowship). From her book, Caputo has crafted a television series, co-written with Writer/Director Michael Ivey.
Caputo was raised in a big Italian family and is a magna cum laude graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master’s Equivalency Certificate. While working at KDKA-TV (CBS) in 1984, she was a zombie in Day of the Dead, along with author/illustrator Michael Fleishman, whom she married. They raised two sons, Cooper and Max, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and now reside near the Delaware shore.