Federico attended Ruth Asawa’s School of the Arts High School in San Francisco and specialized in theater technology and acting. She organized her own theater company called Shakespeare Not Stirred with a group of her fellow actors where they performed Shakespeare plays for free in parks in San Francisco. She was the co-chair organizer of the inaugural INDY EXPO which was a school-wide exhibition of multi-media arts, performances, and installations by student artists in all art departments. She also staged managed the play The Tuskegee Airmen that was performed at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor.
She earned a B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing at S.U.N.Y. Purchase in New York, and studied playwriting and screenwriting under such celebrated artists as William M. Hoffman, Lloyd Richards and J.D. Zeik. During her time at Purchase she performed with her performance art band, Time of Gigi, Featuring Happy Abra. She also performed one act plays with her Dramatic Writing arts collective and made several short video art films that were shown in various exhibitions at Purchase.
She has an M.F.A. in Film Production from Chapman University where she was mentored by production designer Polly Platt, screenwriter Larry Gross and Academy Award winner Barbara Schock. Federico was the first woman to win Best Director at Chapman for her thesis film, Bean, which was shown in over thirty festivals including the Boston International Film Festival, HATCHfest, STARz Denver Film Festival, Sidewalk Film Festival, The Jacksonville Film Festival, The Bahamas International Festival, and the Fallbrook Festival. It won the Audience Award at the Reno Film Festival, Best Short Film at The Asheville Film Festival, and Best Short Film at the Beaufort Film Festival. Giovanna’s feature screenplay version of Bean was a semi-finalist at The Nicoll screenwriting competition and The Sundance Lab.
Since 2003, Federico has taught at many institutions serving under-resourced populations. She taught at PACE Center for Girls in Jacksonville, Florida where her students created their own films, plays, and poems based on their lives in order to process their own struggles. She took these teaching experiences and taught filmmaking and playwriting to students all over LA County in libraries, private, charter, and special education schools.
In 2014 she directed and produced a site-specific immersive play written by playwright Teddy Hommrich called CAVE. It was performed in Bronson Canyon Caves in Griffith Park and was featured in The L.A. Weekly.
She is founder and former director of an after school program, FILM CLUB, where she taught filmmaking to ESL Russian and Armenian students. The students would write, direct, and produce their own work as a collaborative. The program ended with a final exhibition of their films at a local independent movie theater and were judged and awarded by industry professionals.
A highlight of Federico’s career is when she helped produce a play adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 for young audiences, which was performed during the inaugural Ray Bradbury week. The cast and crew were honored to meet the famous author atop Los Angeles’s City Hall.