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Sony Pictures TV Names 2016 Diverse Directors Program Finalists

Deadline logo Deadline 12/7/2016 Denise Petski
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Sony Pictures Television has selected seven program fellows for its third annual Diverse Directors Program, which provides opportunities for skilled artists of diverse backgrounds to work with established TV directors on SPT series.

The 2016 Program Fellows are: Erica Watson, Abi Corbin, Susan Dynner, Tahir Jetter, Kevin Berlandi, Christine Turner and Jabbar Raisani.

Each will be assigned to work on SPT series including The Blacklist, Dr. Ken, The Goldbergs, The Underground, Timeless, Preacher and The Night Shift.

“We are really looking forward to working with this innovative group of content creators and hope this comprehensive introduction to the business will both help propel their careers and bring fresh voices to the creative process now and in the future,” said Kim Rozenfeld, SPT’s executive vice president, U.S. scripted programming.

The seven finalists were chosen from more than 300 submissions for the program. 15 Program Participants were selected to take part in an intensive episodic directing workshop, which consisted of several evenings of intimate discussion and instruction from working directors, production personnel and entertainment professionals. The seven program fellows (below) were selected from among those 15 highly qualified candidates.

2016 Diverse Directors Program Fellows:

Erica A. Watson was a 2014-2015 directing fellow for Film Independent’s Project Involve, was selected for a Sundance Knight Fellowship, and was an artist-in-residence at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Abi Damaris Corbin’s short film, The Suitcase, was selected by the CAA Moebius festival, where it won the audience award. Corbin is engaged in production research with USC’s Entertainment Technology Center in conjunction with major studios and technology leaders including the Hollywood Post Alliance, SMPTE, and NAB.

Susan Dynner is the producer of Free Ride, starring Anna Paquin, for which she was awarded a Film Independent producing fellowship. She was also a producer on Brick, winner of the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the Sundance Film Festival.

Tahir Jetter is the producer/director of the web series Hard Times, and he directed and co-produced How to Tell You’re a Douchebag, a romantic comedy which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival in 2016.

Kevin Berlandi has directed commercials for brands like Nissan, Toyota, Kia, Audi, Buick, Burger King, and GMC. He also serves as a Co-Chair for the Asian American Committee at the Director’s Guild of America.

Christine Turner’s feature directorial debut, Homegoings, premiered at Documentary Fortnight at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and opened the 26th season of the acclaimed PBS series, POV. Most recently, her short film You Can Go was selected for the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

Jabbar Raisani is a visual effects artist with two Primetime Emmys for his work on Game of Thrones (2013 and 2015). He has also served as a cinematographer and as a second unit director on multiple television and film projects.

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