SeriesFest Renews Partnership With Shondaland For Third Cycle Of Women Directing Mentorship Competition

SeriesFest and Shondaland logos

EXCLUSIVE: SeriesFest and Shondaland have reunited to highlight a new generation of directors with the return of the Women Directing Mentorship competition.

First launched in 2018, the Women Directing Mentorship is a competition designed to discover aspiring female directors with a unique voice and provide them a launchpad for their career. The mentorship supplies the selected director with an opportunity to shadow an episodic director on a Shondaland-produced series. The winner will also receive a $5,000 stipend to use during the duration of their membership.

Rachel Myers, the recipient of the inaugural mentorship shadowed director Tessa Blake on Episode 306, “Ice Ice Baby” of the Shondaland series, Station 19. Season two winner, Tamika Miller will be on-set once pandemic restrictions are lifted. Submissions to enter are open now until September 14, 2021 via . The recipient will be announced in December 2021.

“We are thrilled to continue these initiatives with the support of our incredible partners and mentors. They have, and continue to make, such a profound impact on the deserving recipients,” says Randi Kleiner and Kaily Smith Westbrook, Co-Founders, SeriesFest. “After such an eye-opening year, continuing this mission to champion diverse voices has never felt more important.”

“As a storytelling company, Shondaland is rooted in uplifting diverse perspectives and telling stories,” added Shondaland’s Head of Creative Production, Tom Verica. “A part of building the foundation for such storytelling is finding ways to continue championing equal representation in front of and behind the camera. We are incredibly excited to continue providing this opportunity for directors and look forward to the talent and creativity to come from the women in this program.”The return of the SeriesFest competition continues the non-profit’s mission to cultivate opportunities for female directors and creators.”

SeriesFest: Season seven, which will run from June 24 to July 11, will also return with its Executive Elevation Mentorship Program, which seeks to encourage diversity in the television landscape and help aspiring creatives foster relationships with established industry bosses. Since the first iteration in June 2020, the initiative has provided a opportunity for emerging executives of color to network, learn from their mentors and hone their skills. This year, the SeriesFest team partnered with six mentors whose executive skill set covered a wide range within the tv industry. Participating mentors participating this cycle include: Emmy-nominated writer, producer, showrunner Diallo Riddle (Sherman’s Showcase, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon); Aaliyah Williams, producer and founder, Just a Rebel Productions (Netflix’s Gentefied); Samantha Militante, Director of Current Series at FX; Erich C. Smith, Agent at TCA; Eric Upshur, Executive Producer, Epic Studio Entertainment; and Ming Lee Howell, Unscripted Executive Producer (Marriage or Mortgage on Netflix, CNBC’s Cash Pad).

SeriesFest will select mentees, who will have a six-month mentorship with one-on-ones with their mentors who advise on all aspects of their career and help create networking advancement opportunities. Mentees will have regular check-ins with SeriesFest and industry guest speakers to further their industry knowledge and connections.

For more information about SeriesFest: Season Seven and its mentorship programs can be found at


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