DISNEY-ABC TELEVISION GROUP ANNOUNCES 2007 PARTICIPANTS FOR THE INDUSTRY-LEADING DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Disney-ABC Television Group, in partnership with the Directors Guild of America, named three new Fellows for the sixth annual Directing Fellowship Program, it was announced today by Robert Mendez, senior vice president, Diversity, Disney-ABC Television Group.
The 2007 directing Fellows, who begin their year-long paid fellowships this month working with executives from Disney-ABC Television Group and the Directors Guild, are Nandi Bowe, Oscar Daniels and Sharat Raju.
"Disney-ABC Television Group is thrilled to have the new Fellows joining the program," said Robert Mendez. "The Fellowship is incredibly important. Not only does it expose us to upcoming directors with unique and diverse visions, it gives us the opportunity to nurture their exceptional talent and help further their careers."
DGA President Michael Apted, who co-chairs the DGA's Diversity Task force along with First Vice President Paris Barclay, stated: "For the past two decades, the Guild has been challenging the studios and networks to take action to increase the employment opportunities for women and ethnic minorities. And it is ABC that first rose to the challenge and took the mantle of leadership by creating a comprehensive diversity development program for television directors. We at the Guild are pleased that ABC is facilitating the development of new directing talent from underutilized talent pools, and wish these three new directing Fellows well with their directing careers."
Selected from more than 300 applicants, the three new Fellows join an impressive alumni group. The industry-leading directing program gives participants the opportunity to hone their craft and jump-start their careers through shadowing opportunities on drama and comedy series that allow them the first hand experience to observe the episode-directing process. Personalized mentoring with established executive producers, showrunners and creative executives from Disney-ABC Television Group and select DGA directors provides exposure to different perspectives and artistic approaches to television.
This elite group of Fellows joins a roster that stretches across the television and film industries with their successes. A small sampling of alumni now advancing in their careers includes: Seith Mann (nominated for a DGA Award for "Grey's Anatomy" and an Image Award for "The Wire"; Alex Martinez Kondracke (staff writer on "The L Word" and attached to direct a film for the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group); Dennis Lee (recently wrapped directing the feature "Fireflies in the Garden," starring Julia Roberts); Catherine Jelski ("Strong Medicine," "Watch Over Me"); and Joseph Perez ("The Division").
The Disney-ABC Television Group strives to create quality content that represents the rich diversity of their audiences, including race, culture and gender, as well as a diversity of ideas, experiences and histories. ABC and Disney's commitment to discovering and nurturing diverse talent both on and off-camera is exemplified through a variety of industry-leading talent development programs. Programs include the Disney ABC Television Group/Walt Disney Studios-Writers Guild of America West Writing Fellowship, ABC-DGA Directing Fellowship, the Casting Project, Creative Development Program, the Summer Television & Film Workshop at the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Entertainment Group Internship Program and the ABC Television Studio Production Associates Program.
2007 Disney-ABC Television Group Directing Fellows:
Nandi Bowe has worked on more than 25 feature films and TV shows as an assistant director. In addition, she has worked as a staff writer on the "X-Files" spin-off, "The Lone Gunmen." She studied at Howard University in Washington DC, Temple University in London and the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles. To her directing and storytelling, Nandi brings complexity, contrast, irony, sophistication, rawness, humor and a love of humanity. Her goal is to make television that entertains like a roller coaster and leaves the viewer richer for having taken the ride.
Oscar Daniels is a recent graduate of the American Film Institute (AFI), where he wrote and directed the short film "Among Thieves," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the 2007 Showtime Networks Black Filmmaker Showcase. In addition to his MFA from AFI, Oscar has a BS in Japanese Language and Literature and studied directing at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU). In his previous life, Oscar worked as an intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency.
A writer-director, producer and editor, Sharat Raju graduated from the University of Michigan and the American Film Institute (AFI) with an MFA in Directing. His first two films explore conflicts in post-9/11 America through accessible characters and personal stories. Sharat's thesis film, "American Made," earned seventeen awards at nearly forty film festivals around the world � including Tribeca Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, AFI Fest and from BAFTA/LA � and was broadcast nationally on PBS in 2006. His follow-up film, "Divided We Fall," is currently on tour at festivals and universities. The State of California presented Sharat with an official proclamation honoring his work for creating socially conscious stories on screen.