HBOAccess Directing Fellowship Has Its Class Of 2018


HBOAccess has selected three helmers for its 2018 Directing Fellowship. Thembi Banks, Cary Williams and Ryan Zaragoza will take part in a weeklong workshop before mounting their production in July. Read more about the new fellows below.

The program supports directors who are interested in a career in television by giving them the opportunity to shoot a pilot presentation which will air on HBO. The scripts they have chosen to direct all come from material created through the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship.

“Every year we are overwhelmed with the amazing talent introduced to us through this process,” said Kelly Edwards, VP Talent Development at HBO. “These directors are superstars on the verge of making the leap to episodic. Our hope is that we can be a small part of their story.”

The HBOAccess Directing Fellowship selects three to four fellows to participate in a biennial program designed to foster diverse directing talent. It includes a series of master classes from industry professionals that lead into the production of pilots. The classes cover subjects including creative topics such as story and character as well as the technical aspects of production and post. Upon completion of the course, the fellows are then given a budget and crew to direct a short presentation allowing them full immersion in a true industry production. HBO will continue to support the directors by screening the films for the entertainment community and offering shadowing opportunities on HBO series.

Here are details about the 2018 fellows, provided by HBO:

Thembi Banks
Born in Harlem New York, Banks is a 2017 Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow whose short film Suitable is a finalist at ABFF. She currently writes for Showtime’s Golden Globe-nominated series SMILF and will direct Unimundo by Claudia Forestieri, who recently staffed on The Fosters. Based on Forestieri’s real-life experiences at Telemundo, the script centers on a Spanish-language news producer who unexpectedly becomes a symbol for the resistance.

Cary Williams
His most recent film Emergency has received awards from festivals including Sundance and SXSW, and he has honed his craft as a mentee with Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation and a directing fellow with Film Independent Project Involve. Williams aspires to evoke thought, reflection and positive change with his work. He will team up with Katherine Craft, who recently sold a show to NBC Snap. Halfway centers on an avowed atheist forced to live in a Christian halfway home.

Ryan Zaragoza
Zaragosa was a finalist in HBO’s Project Greenlight. His directorial debut, The Painter, was an official selection of the Starz Network Film Festival. His latest short film bebé will air on HBO Latino starting in June. Zaragosa will direct Sterling by Stephanie McFarlane and Bryce Ahart, which focuses on a small town in the aftermath of a school shooting.

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