It truly couldn’t be a better time to be a director of color. New directors such as Stella Meghie and Tahir Jetter are seeing so much love these days, from being selected for top directing workshops that place them right next to the veterans of the industry, to directing Hollywood-backed movies. They’re winning right now for sure and the recognition is just beautiful. But they’re not the only ones getting love. A major media company is giving formerly incarcerated young people an opportunity to enrich their lives. There’s definitely a lot of love going around this month. Check it out!
1. Behind the Lens
Sony Pictures TV has selected seven fellows for its 2016 Diverse Directors Program, which is designed to provide access to emerging directors of promising talent and unique perspectives. After successful participation in the workshop and shadowing veteran Directors Guild of America directors on episodes of scripted series, participants might be invited back to direct an episode of a scripted Sony Pictures TV series the next season. Notable fellows include Tahir Jetter co-producer of the romantic comedy How to Tell You’re a Douchebag, which premiered on BET earlier this summer.
2. Stella Meghie
Newbie director Stella Meghie, whose feature debut Jean of the Joneses premiered on TV One this fall is also director on the film adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything. What makes this such exciting news is that unlike Meghie’s Jean of the Joneses, Everything was developed by a major studio, MGM, and will also be distributed by Warner Bros next year. For a black woman director who isn’t Ava Duvernay this is especially inspiring. Everything stars Amandla Stenberg, a housebound sickly 17 year-old-girl who falls in love with the boy next door. Everything, Everything will be released in May 2017.
Mudbound directed by Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) will make its world premier at next year’s Sundance Film Festival. A film adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 2009 namesake novel, the story focuses on two families in the south, a friendship shaped by World War 2, and the complications of coming home. Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan (Stranger Things) star.
Mario Van Peebles, son of pioneer filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, will serve as star, writer and director for his new SyFy series Superstition. Set in an imaginary New Orleans town, Superstition introduces us to the Mosley family, owners of a funeral home and bearers of all the town folks’ deep secrets. Production on the series begins early 2017 and premieres the same year.
5. Another Chance
Vice Media is extending an opportunity to formerly incarcerated individuals for employment through an apprenticeship program set to launch early 2017. During the six-month program apprentices will assist individuals aged 18 to 25 with the skills needed to succeed in the media industry and achieve long-term employment. Partnering with the Center for Employment Opportunities, Vice Co-founder Shane Smith was inspired by his work with President Obama on Vice’s documentary on prison reform, Fixing The System, to take on the staggering recidivism rates exposed by the documentary.
The Black TV & Film Collective a 501c3 organization that operates as a NYC film collective. In our work, we support all artists of color including but not limited to black filmmakers. We are a collaborative platform that represents diversity in film and supports inclusion in Hollywood and TV. Our professional network of New York City filmmakers gives knowledge to those who want to learn how to produce film, how to make a web series, how to budget film projects and more. We host NYC film workshops that welcome a variety of experience levels from first time filmmakers who are either students in film school or to notables within the television and film industry. See how you can make a difference in the world of cinema by becoming a member of our NYC film collective.