EXCLUSIVE: WeForShe has called “Action!” on the 2018 participants for its DirectHer Program. The women’s advocacy group, which is focused on creating practical ways to establish more gender equality in television, today named nine breakout female helmers and the veteran episodic helmers with whom they will be paired.
Directors with experience outside of episodic are identified through the WeForShe Program. They then are partnered with veteran episodic directors who guarantee their work during key parts of production and shooting. The inaugural program for DirectHer placed nine female directors who collectively have gone on to direct 65 episodes of TV so far.
Here is the list of participants and their teammates are Lynn d’Angona (paired with Jonathan Frakes), Paige Morrow Kimball (Todd Holland), Jen McGowan (Mary Lou Belli), SJ Main Munoz (David Rodriguez), Melissa Oren (Tamra Davis), Bola Ogun (Tawnia McKiernan), Mo Perkins (Gail Mancuso), Amber Sealey (Daisy Von Schlerer Mayer) and Emily Moss Wilson (Christine Gernon). Read bios for the Class of 2018 below.
“The greatest barrier to acceptance for new female talent in the TV directing landscape comes down to risk on an unknown entity,” said WeForShe co-founder Katy McCaffrey. “Through the WeForShe DirectHer Program we’re future-proofing this hurdle by pairing these talented female directors with established veterans in an effort to expand the roster of proven and available talent.”
Two alums from the program also weighed in. “Proud to belong to the DirectHer/WriterHer clan, supporting all of the talented, intelligent women who deserve to be working,” said Vanessa Parise, a PD on Charmed. “I love this group of powerhouse women.” Added Rachel Goldberg, who wokred on American Horror Story: Cult: “I wouldn’t be where I am without amazing people and organizations that advance the careers of women and minorities, and programs like WeforShe’s DirectHer Program that helps us break through.”
Here is more info on the 2018 DirectHer Program participants, supplied by WeForShe :
d’Angona has 25 years experience in film and television including as 1st AD on Shondaland’s “Gilded Lilys,” “The Glades,” “Criminal Minds,” “CSI Miami,” and “Saving Grace.” She produced and directed the digital documentary series “Promises Kept,” short documentary “R.I.S.K. – Radiation In Space = Knowledge” for NASA, and was tapped by the DGA for the 2007 Kodak 35mm short series “Moments to…Forget” with her short “Girl Talk.” She produced and directed the award-winning feature documentary, “Between the White Lines,” and was 2nd Unit on “Megiddo, The Omega Code 2.” Her directorial debut, short film “Lulu Askew,” won multiple awards.
PAIGE MORROW KIMBALL
Morrow Kimball began in unscripted and later directed films for HBO’s iconic “Sesame Street,” the comedy web-series, “Exiled Out East” and wrote and directed the award-winning comedy short “Ending Up.” Her award-winning short “Play Date” is being developed into an educational program. Her directing and producing credits include: “Project Greenlight,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Boot Camp,” and “NASCAR Driver.” She was a participant in CBS’ Directors Program and the DGA’s inaugural Diverse Directors Initiative Mentorship Program. She’s shadowed veteran TV directors including Ron Underwood, Jaffar Mahmood, Melissa Kossar, Lee Shallat Chemel, Bob Koherr, Daisy Von Sherler Mayer and Millicent Shelton.
McGowan is a Film Independent Fellow, Clint Eastwood Filmmakers Award finalist, and AWD Breakout Award for Excellence in Directing recipient. She created filmpowered.com a skill-sharing, networking and jobs resource for women in film and television, part of Sundance Women’s Initiative Resource. Her first feature Kelly & Cal – released by IFC Films – premiered at SXSW, where she won the Gamechanger Award. She’s behind the award-winning shorts Confessions of a Late Bloomer and Touch and the TV series “Angelica,” a 2018 MIPTV In Development selection at Cannes. Next up – features Rust Creek and Breaking Down the Walls.
SJ MAIN MUNOZ
Main Muñoz spent nearly 20 years in production before transitioning to directing, her films screen worldwide, garnering numerous awards. She’s worked at Merchant Ivory, Walden Media, River Road, with director Stanley Done; been supported by AWD’s Industry Support, FIND’s Project:Involve, IFP’s Emerging Narrative Filmmaker program, NALIP’s Writer’s Lab, and Producer’s Academy and Media Markets; and shadowed veteran directors Lee Rose and Ron Lagomarsino. She’s directed current shorts Reconnected and Requiescat. She holds a BA in Theatre Acting and Directing from UCLA, an MFA in Directing from Columbia University and a PhD in Media and Communications from EGS of Switzerland.
Award-winning writer and director Oren recently directed a Parents.com digital series.
She shadowed on series including “Life in Pieces,” “Modern Family,” Happy Endings, “Work It,” Thundermands” and “No Tomorrow.” Her on-set experience includes assistant to showrunner Jeffrey Richman on multi and single cams including “Frasier,” “Jake in Progress” and “Yes, Dear” as well feature Get a Job. Her award-winning short film, The Best Friend, has been accepted to numerous festivals and her writing credits, with husband Ben, include “First day,” “State of Georgia,” a Fremantle Media digital series, Awesomeness TV sketch material, and a half hour pilot for Warner Bros.
Ogun is featured on El Rey’s “Rebel Without a Crew.” Robert Rodriguez executive produced her directorial On The Run. She was selected for AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, the inaugural Ryan Murphy Half Mentorship Program, and shadowed directors Brad Falchuk, Michael Lehman and Rose Lee. Her first short The Water Phoenix received the California Institute of Contemporary Art Grant, her second – Are We Good Parents – starred Tracie Thoms. She produced the Emmy campaign music video for “Crazy E-Girlfriend,” Vanity Fair’s viral video “Ladyboss,” and worked on The Dark Night Rises, Neighbors, Battleship, “True Detective” and “FridayNight Lights.”
Perkins has a BA in film studies from UCSC and a Masters in directing from UCLA, where she received prestigious awards including the Motion Picture Association of America Award, a Student Academy Award and UCLA’s Director’s Spotlight. Her award-winning writing/ directorial debut feature A Quiet Little Marriage was picked up by IFC; her second, comedy feature The Last Time You Had Fun was distributed by Gravitas Ventures. A 2017 Sony Diverse Directors Program participant, she recently directed The CW’s I Ship It, is developing “The Farm: with Orchard Farm and is co-creator of “The Witches of Echo Park.”
Sealey is an award-winning director, writer, and producer who has made three feature films:
award-winning No Light & No Land Anywhere, executive produced by Miranda July, released theatrically by Factory 25 in 2018; award-winning How To Cheat released by FilmBuff; and her first film, A Plus D, released by IndiePix. She has been supported as an artist by Sundance, Film Independent, Women In Film, Tangerine Entertainment, and is a current fellow of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. She has directed content for AOL, Yahoo, and Oath, among others and shadowed television directors including Jill Soloway, Jamie Babbit and Daisy Meyer.
EMILY MOSS WILSON
Moss Wilson’s Twilight Zone-inspired directorial debut short Drink premiered to rave reviews on the festival circuit and has millions of views on YouTube. Through her Paper Crane Productions, she produced award-winning shorts Grande Drip and Knight to D7. Mentored by Garry Marshall, she shadowed veteran TV directors including Allison Liddi-Brown, Rick Bota, Mark Tinker and Joel Zwick. She serves as Creative Executive for the ATX Television Festival in Austin, TX and recently completed Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation Directing Program where she was paired with the Jamie Lee Curtis as her mentor. Her first feature film, Missing Daughter, premieres this year.