HBO has selected the three emerging directors to participate in the 2016 HBOAccess Directing Fellowship. Now in its second year, the program provides one-on-one mentorship with an HBO creative executive, education about the craft and business of directing, and a $100k budget to shoot a short presentation for HBO with a professional crew. The winners will participate in the workshop in July, shoot their presentation in August, and finish up post-production by the end of September.
The three directors selected are:
— Readers of this blog will be familiar with Pete Chatmon, whose debut feature, “Premium”, starred Dorian Missick, Zoe Saldana, and Hill Harper and premiered on Showtime after a limited theatrical run. Chatmon also wrote, produced, and directed “761st”, a documentary on the first black tank battalion in WWII, narrated by Andre Braugher. Chatmon received the Tribeca Film Institute “All Access” Program’s Creative Promise Narrative Award for the heist screenplay “$FREE.99”, written in collaboration with Candice Sanchez McFarlane. Through Double7 Images, his Digital Studio, he has directed content for ad agencies, Porsche, Proctor & Gamble, Lenovo, Universal Pictures, and other brands. Chatmon’s career began in 2001 with the Sundance selection of his NYU thesis film, “3D”, starring Kerry Washington. His current project, the short film “Black Card”, began traveling the international film festival circuit in Spring/Summer 2015 and premiered on HBO in February 2016.
— Kate Marks was a Project Involve fellow at Film Independent where she received the Barbara Boyle Award. She began making films after working as a playwright, theatre director, and performer in New York City. Her award winning short films (Pearl Was Here, Homebody, 7 Day Gig, and Miracle Maker) continue to screen all over the world. Highlights include Slamdance, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Mill Valley, and broadcasting on PBS. She is a graduate of CalArts (MFA) and Brown University (BA). Additionally Kate teaches filmmaking in public schools, prisons, senior centers, and parks. Her work with a wide range of students can be felt in her stories, which focus on the need to be witnessed.
— Kevin Lau is a writer/director who is a recent fellow of the Sony Pictures Television Diverse Directors Program and CAPE New Writers Fellowship. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, his thesis film, “Made in Chinatown”, swept the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival–winning Best Short, Best Writing, and Best Actor–and has gone on to screen in exhibitions at the New Americans Museum, Glass Curtain Gallery, and in classrooms at UCLA and Emerson College. Kevin is a proud native of Los Angeles and credits the culturally diverse city for shaping the stories he tells.
“We had well over 800 submissions so narrowing the list down to the top eight finalists was incredibly difficult,” says HBO’s Head of Talent Development, Kelly Edwards. “No one can say the talent isn’t out there. We saw some excellent films. All these directors need some exposure and the chance to get in a room with the decision makers.”
Marks, Chatmon, and Lau will each direct a pilot presentation for the premium channel this summer with material work-shopped through the 2015 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. Pete Chatmon will be directing “Lady Bouncer” by Sarah McChesney; Kate Marks will helm “Manic” by Yolanda Carney, and Kevin Lau will take on “F**ked Up” by Joshua Levy and Prathi Srinivasan.
Edwards is enthusiastic about the innovative approach HBO is taking with this year’s program. “We are incredibly excited about introducing a new element to our process by marrying our writing and directing programs. Since we are developing great material, the best possible outcome is to move it into production.”
Rounding out the talented group of top 8 directing fellowship finalists were Marielle Woods, Steve Acevedo, Susana Casares, Danielle Katvan, and Moon Molson.
Applications for the 2017 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship will open in March 8, 2017 through Film Freeway.
For more information go to www.hbo.com/hboaccess.