Part of its ongoing commitment to create opportunity for diverse talent, Disney|ABC Television Group (DATG) has launched its 2016-18 Directing Program with 10 program directors who will be pitched to shadow on series such as “Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” “The Real O’Neals,” “Quantico” and “Scandal” (ABC), “Shadowhunters,” and “Young & Hungry” (Freeform), and “KC Undercover” and “Stuck in the Middle” (Disney Channel).
The newly named directors are indie film directors Pete Chatmon (“Premium”), Anthony Lucero (“East Side Sushi”); television editors Dane Collier (“Timeless”), Jill D’Agnenica (Freeform’s “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 the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2016 by Filmmaker Magazine; award-winning documentarian Sarah Feeley (CNN Films “Raising Ryland”); co-chair of the DGA’s Asian American Committee and writers’ assistant Steven J. Kung (“Dear White People”); Mundo FOX segment producer Rebecca Murga, who is also on the Board of Advisors for Veterans in Film and Television; Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, whose most recent film, “Born With It,” garnered awards at festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival; and script supervisor Aprill Winney (Freeform’s “The Fosters”), who made her episodic directing debut on the same series.
During the 2016-17 season more than 20 episodes of Disney|ABC Television Group series are being directed by Directing Program alumni. 2012-14 alumna Jude Weng, who booked her first directing assignment last season on ABC’s “Fresh off the Boat,” has booked directing assignments on “black-ish,” “Dr. Ken,” “The Goldbergs” and “The Real O’Neals.” Additionally, Weng has been asked to return to direct two more episodes of “Fresh off the Boat” this season. Across DATG this season, Directing Program alumni are directing episodes of series such as ABC’s “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Catch,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Once Upon a Time”; Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Fosters”; and Disney Channel’s “Bunk’d.”
Vice President, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion, Tim McNeal, said, “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.” McNeal added, “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 the program was redesigned six years ago, program directors have shadowed over 100 episodes of television and have directed nearly 80 episodes of series broadcasting on Disney|ABC Television. 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”).