Indie film directors, television editors and a former Spike Lee Fellow are among the 10 program directors chosen by Disney-ABC Television Group to take part in its 2016-17 Directing Program. The participants will be pitched to shadow on such ABC series as Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, The Real O’Neals, Quantico and Scandal; Freeform’s Shadowhunters and Young & Hungry; and Disney Channel’s KC Undercover and Stuck in the Middle.
The newly named program directors are indie film directors Pete Chatmon (Premium), Anthony Lucero (East Side Sushi); television editors Dane Collier (Timeless), Jill D’Agnenica (Switched at Birth), who made her episodic directing debut on the same series; former Spike Lee Fellow Jess dela Merced, who was named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film; award-winning documentarian Sarah Feeley (CNN Films’ Raising Ryland); Steven J. Kung (Dear White People), Co-Chair of the DGA’s Asian American Committee and writers’ assistant; Mundo Fox segment producer Rebecca Murga, who is also on the Board of Advisors for Veterans in Film and Television; Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, whose Born With It garnered awards at the Toronto and Pan African film festivals; and script supervisor Aprill Winney, (The Fosters), who made her episodic directing debut on the same series.
More than 20 DATG 2016-17 series episodes are being directed by program alumni, including an unprecedented six ABC assignments for 2012-14 participant Jude Weng. Since booking her first directing assignment last season for Fresh Off the Boat, she’s booked black-ish, Dr. Ken, The Goldbergs and The Real O’Neals, and has been invited to direct two more Fresh Off the Boat episodes this season.
“We’re very proud of the considerable momentum our program has gained in its efforts to add more female and diverse directors to the episodic directing talent pool,” said Tim McNeal, Vice President, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion. “Although we make every effort to identify strong directors on the cusp of breaking into episodic directing, the results we achieve across the company would not be possible without the commitment and support of our creative executives, showrunners and producing directors.”
Since a redesign six years ago, Program Directors have shadowed more than 100 TV episodes and directed nearly 80 episodes of Disney-ABC Television series. Alumni include Emmy-winner Regina King (Scandal, The Catch), Zetna Fuentes (How to Get Away with Murder, Jane the Virgin), Nzingha Stewart (The Fosters, Major Crimes), Rob Greenlea (Grey’s Anatomy, Madam Secretary) and David Rodriguez (Scandal, Queen of the South).