Amy is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and author. Amy attended Hockaday as a third-generation Hockadaisy, following her mother, Virginia Savage McAlester ’61, and her grandmother, Dorothy Harris Savage ’35. At Hockaday, Amy would often be found in the art studio painting angsty self-portraits, covertly listening to The Smiths on her Walkman and occasionally “accidentally” splattering paint on her saddle oxfords to give them a little flair.
Teenage Amy lives on in her work, manifesting in rebellious characters with sharp voices and big feelings, like Liv in her young adult novel Liv, Forever (Soho Press) and Izzy in Hulu’s hit series Little Fires Everywhere, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Amy played an integral role in the series, including roles as the co-executive producer and writer of the final episode. This work was nominated for both a Primetime Emmy and a Writers Guild Award. She also co-wrote Avalon High, a Disney Channel movie, for which she won a Writers Guild Award.
Amy had an early career as a rock journalist, which saw her writing published in magazines like Spin, Ray Gun, Interview, and Seventeen. Her passionate love for music has followed Amy through life and her writing, including her script for the jukebox musical Valley Girl (MGM), ABC Family’s Brave New Girl (based on a book by Britney Spears), as well as the independent feature she wrote and directed here in Dallas, The Night of the White Pants, starring Oscar-nominee Tom Wilkinson, Selma Blair, and Nick Stahl.
Amy first received notice for her short films. Number One Fan won the Jury Prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival; Second Skin was in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, won several top festival prizes, and was acquired by HBO; and Bust was part of Fox’s acclaimed FXM shorts series. Her short The New Arrival was, in 2000, the world’s first 360-degree narrative film. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is cited in film history texts as an early example of online, interactive storytelling.
Filmmaker Magazine named her one of “25 New Indie Faces to Watch,” Vogue singled her out as an up-and-coming director, and, most recently, The Dallas Morning News called her “Stream Queen.”
Amy graduated Magna Cum Laude from Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Film from Columbia University, where she won the school’s top directing award. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two daughters, and a small selection of angsty teen self-portraits.
Eugene McDermott Head of School Dr. Laura Leathers remarked, “I am thrilled to welcome Amy back to Hockaday as our 2023 Commencement speaker. Her passion for writing and directing complex women on screen and her desire to innovate through art inspire us all. She truly exemplifies Hockaday’s commitment to educating girls to lead lives of purpose and impact.”