Esther Bell has written and directed several independent feature films that were praised in the NY Times, Variety and later distributed by Sundance and Showtime. Bell has also produced and directed over 75 biography pieces for MTV, CBS, NBC, Current, and IFC, starring Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone, Michael Moore, Lisa Cholodenko, Damon Dash and many more.
Bell's first documentary, Mark of an Amateur won an award from TLC (The Learning Channel). Before embarking upon her feature film career after college, Bell shot several successful short films, including PURPLE JESUS, which screened as part of the Nuyorican's Fifth Night Series and the Women in the Director's Chair International Festival.
Bell’s first feature film, Godass (2000), starred artist-actor Nika Feldman, Julianne Nicholson, with George Tynan Crowley as the punk protagonist's gay father, Fred Schneider of the B-52's as his lover, and Tina Holmes. The film was sold and screened on Showtime and Sundance Channel. The film received favorable reviews and won numerous festival awards. The film unflinchingly tells the coming of age story of a young punk girl with an estranged gay father.
Exist (2004) was written and performed by Ben Bartlett and Nick Mevoli, with a notable appearance by TV on the Radio lead singer Tunde Adebimpe. It received critical acclaim, as cited earlier, in the New York Times and Variety due to its incisive look into young activists' lives. Particularly relevant to a post-9/11 generation of activists, the film has been screened in festivals around the world, including the International Rotterdam Film Festival.
Earlier in her career Bell shot interviews with Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Guy Pearce, Gus van Sant and Stephen Sprouse.
Bell is featured in multiple books, including: The Last Bohemia by Robert Anasi, as well as Girl Director by Andrea Richards. She is also in a book about her dear friend & film collaborator, Nicholas Mevoli, called One Breath, an exploration of the strange and fascinating sport of freediving, and of the tragic, untimely death of America’s greatest freediver.