ABC Selects Directing Program Participants

Ten directors and two alternate helmers will participate in the annual program

ABC has selected 10 directors and two alternate helmers to participate in the annual Directing Program.

The Disney/ABC Television Group teams with its current programing, development and Creative Talent Development and Inclusion executives as well as exec producers from the group's current slate and the Directors Guild of America members to identify promising candidates from more than 1,000 applications. Panelists this year included producers from ABC's Scandal, Castle and Disney Channel's Liv & Maddie and Crash and Bernstein.

The 10 participating directors selected this year are: comedy writer/journalist Tessa Blake (The Huffington Post), documentary director Benjamin DeJesus (Tales From a Ghetto Klown); comedy director Angela Barnes Gomes (Let’s Stay Together); theater director Eli Gonda (Harvey Fierstein — A Night of Scenes); actor Devon Gummersall (My So-Called Life); script supervisor Paula Hunziker (Pretty Little Liars); former News Corp. China producer Xuan Jiang, feature director Amin Matalqa (Disney’s The United); co-chair of the DGA's Latino Steering Committee David Rodriguez and litePOST postproduction house co-owner Kevin Sweeney. The two alternate directors joining the lineup are editor Ishai Setton (Glee) and DGA award-winning filmmaker John Paul Su (The Refuse).

Launched in 2001, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion redesigned the program in 2010 and has since secured more than 15 directing assignments on Disney-owned network series. The outgoing program directors who landed helming assignments include Regina King(Scandal), former key grip Rob Greenlea (Grey’s Anatomy);  music video director Nzingha Stewart (The Fosters); comedy writer Maxine Lapiduss (Jessie) and actor Kimberly McCullough (Shake It Up!).  Other Directing Program alums include Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Seith Mann (The Walking Dead) and Zetna Fuentes (Switched at Birth).

"Our production is always on the lookout for untapped talent with a unique perspective," Scandal co-executive producer/director Tom Verica said. "We are proud to support the Disney/ABC Directing Program. The Creative Talent Development team provides invaluable opportunities to a wide range of enormous talent.  It has been our pleasure to work with several of them. We look forward to meeting the next group of talented filmmakers."

Added Tim McNeal, vp Creative Talent Development and Inclusion: "Given that historically directing has been a male-dominated area in the industry, we are particularly proud that our directing program has not only successfully launched the directing careers of six talented female directors, but also through the program a total of seven diverse directors have secured directing assignments on DATG series."