Photo of C.J.
Photo by Joe Mazza

About C.J.

No matter the medium, C.J. Arellano loves telling genre-driven stories through an empathetic lens.

As a writer, C.J. won grand prizes in the 43rd Asian-American International Film Festival's Screenplay Competition, the New York International Screenplay Awards, and the Chicago International Film Festival's Pitch at Industry Days competition. He was named one of the Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch by the International Screenwriters' Association. Viewers can watch "Griffica," a short he wrote and directed, on short channel Omeleto.

As a director, C.J.'s work has been honored at multiple international festivals. He won Best Director at the Artists' Forum Festival of the Moving Image and the Rising Star Award at the British Horror Film Festival. His work also won Best Series/Pilot at the Deep Focus Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Horror Short at Out on Film: Atlanta's LGBTQ+ Festival. C.J. has also directed commercial projects for big names such as McDonald's, Chef Boyardee, Motorola, Heaven's Door Whiskey, and The Second City.

C.J. has served as a video editor for many eye-catching and purpose-driven projects. He acted as lead editor for Art & Pep, a feature documentary about the owners of Sidetrack, an iconic Chicago gay bar and wellspring of LGBTQ+ activism for over four decades. said it "works as both an intimate personal story and as a broader historical exploration... The result is a real charmer." The film is available to stream on Peacock.

C.J. co-created and directed Lavender Scare, a horror anthology podcast featuring audio plays written and performed by LGBTQ+ artists. He also co-hosts Bottle Episodes, a podcast that discusses TV episodes that take place in a single location. Both shows are available on podcatchers everywhere, including Apple and Spotify.

Get in touch, and let's make some magic!:


The writing is sharp. The characters are wonderful, and the dialogue is first-rate. It has incredible market potential. It has everything one asks for in a script.

New York Screenplay Contest

C.J. Arellano’s video design is sharp and dynamic.

Time Out Chicago

The show boasts slick video design by C.J. Arellano.

Chicago Reader

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