American filmmaker Randa Haines was born in Los Angeles and studied with Lee Strasberg before acting in off-Broadway plays. During the '70s, she worked as a script girl before attending her first directing workshop at the American Film Institute. In 1979, she started working on her own projects. Her first directing job was Under This Sky, a dramatic program about women's suffrage starring Irene Worth as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Collin Wilcox Paxton as Susan B. Anthony. Haines also directed episodes of Knots Landing and Hill Street Blues. Her made-for-TV movies included The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, based on the book by Katherine Anne Porter, and the childhood drama Something About Amelia, which earned several Golden Globe awards. Her later television work included the anthology programs Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Tales From the Crypt.
In 1986, Haines made her theatrical feature debut with Children of a Lesser God, based on the play by Mark Medoff. Starring William Hurt, the film earned much attention at the Academy Awards, and a Best Actress Oscar for newcomer Marlee Matlin. Hurt was also the star of Haines' 1991 movie The Doctor, based on the memoirs of Edward E. Rosenbaum and adapted by Anthony Minghella. The director's next project was the low-key drama Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, starring Richard Harris and Robert Duvall. In 1996, Haines turned to producing with the Southern-style drama A Family Thing, written by a struggling screenwriter named Billy Bob Thornton. She continued producing films after that, including those that she directed herself (Dance With Me, The Outsider). In 2002, Haines produced Denzel Washington's directorial debut Antwone Fisher and the documentary Los Zafiros: Music From the Edge of Time.