Filmmaker Monica Zinn was born in San Jose, Costa Rica to missionary parents, but grew up in Fairfax, Virginia. Originally interested in acting, she began studying Film and Television Production at Fairfax Academy for Communication and the Arts, where she would complete a career-intensive two-year program, and soon develop a love of narrative writing and directing. Her focus shifted to nonfiction filmmaking after experiencing the sudden loss of a family member in 2010. A year later, she completed her first documentary, Perfection about eating disorders, which screened at seven film festivals across the country, and won "Best Documentary" at the Virginia Student Film Festival in 2012. After graduating high school Zinn began her second documentary Self Inflicted about Non Suicidal Self Injury, which she crowdfunded through IndieGogo and completed in 2014. Self Inflicted screened at several film festivals around the world, and won a Bronze Telly for Outstanding Achievement in Education in 2016.
Zinn's documentaries Perfection and Self Inflicted were picked up for worldwide educational distribution by Human Relations Media in 2014. After spending years studying mental illness and maladaptive coping strategies, Zinn wanted to shift her focus to positive psychology and what makes people thrive. It was this mindset that led to the creation of her docu-series PSYCHED, which aims to introduce young people to adaptive coping strategies for things like anxiety, depression, and trauma. She completed the first episode of PSYCHED, entitled "Comics" in 2018. It won an Award of Recognition at the Impact DOCS awards, and made its world premiere at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in May of 2019.
Her work has been covered by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and Wired.com, and she has spoken at The University of Virginia, University of Mary Washington, and gave a guest lecture on Post Traumatic Growth at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, her alma mater.
In February 2019 Zinn directed her first narrative short, "Kept,” as part of an anthology series, followed closely by her second narrative “Sweet Repose” in March 2019, which she directed as part of a storytelling showcase. In 2019 she formed her filmmaking LLC “Takushi”, an homage to her maternal lineage. She is currently working on various projects in Los Angeles, her home base.