Amanda Kernell was born in 1986 in Umeå, located in the far north of Sweden. Her roots are in two cultures, due to her Swedish mother and Sámi father. Since 2006, Kernell has directed several acclaimed shorts for the production company Direktörn & Fabrikörn, including Semestersystern (The Holiday Sister / My Summer Holiday Sister) which was Best Short at the 2009 BUFF Children and Young Adult Film Festival, and Att dela allt (Sharing All) which received the 1 km Film Award that very same year.
She has studied writing for the stage and audio-visual media at Biskops-Arnö and has completed the Filmpool Nord course "Screenwriting for low-budget feature films". In 2009, she was accepted by the National Film School of Denmark for their prestigious 4-year Film Directing programme.