Born in San Francisco, Ca.
Lives & works in San Francisco Bay Area
Jaylani Cortés is a director, producer and writer whose films explore the intersections of life, love and the things that scare us about the human condition. Born in San Francisco’s Mission District Jaylani Cortés was born into a musical family. Daughter of Jan Brown and Alan Roberts, Jaylani grew up around creative minds and was encouraged at a young age to express herself through the arts. At 18, Jaylani entered parenthood but refused to become a statistic working two jobs and putting herself through college. After attaining a bachelors and master’s degree while supporting her son Malachi she married Ismael Cortés. During these major life changes, she still felt a strong need to tell stories from her unique perspective as a multi-racial woman of African American and Puerto-Rican decent.
Autodidactic Jaylani never had formal training but instead read and studied various directors such as Val Lewton, Tarsem Singh, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino to name a few. She spent endless hours poring over their bodies of work and reading books on filmmaking and screenwriting. At 29, she assisted a friend in the production of an 8-minute short film called “Silent” and then later assisted with a 22-minute Documentary titled “The Life of Mark Cotton”. Her exposure to film through these two pieces sparked her personal relationship with filmmaking. Writing and directing her first feature length film “Shut Up and Dance”. After its completion Jaylani immediately started working on her second piece, Mercury’s Rule and traveled to Cannes Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festivals. She continues writing daily and completed her most recent work, short film, “Run” a psychological thriller shot in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, Jaylani is still pushing fast toward her dream of filmmaking and expressing her distinctive lens as a Rising Female Director.