'The Mustang' and 'Adam' Helmers Among Universal's 2019 Directors Initiative Participants

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From left: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Rhys Ernst, Atsuko Hirayanagi, Kirsten Tan

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and Rhys Ernst will join 15 other creatives for the yearlong program, now in its third year.

Universal’s global talent development and inclusion group on Monday announced the participants in the studio’s 2019 Directors Initiative, now in its third year.

Seventen directors were chosen for the yearlong program, which is meant to expose new talent to the studio production process, as well as to creative and production executives across the company, including Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Collaborators include Sundance Institute’s FilmTwo Fellowship and AFI Directing Workshop for Women and NBCUniversal International’s Filmmasters program, as well as new participants from the American Black Film Festival and the New York Latino Film Festival.

“While parts of the industry are beginning to see some progress in directing opportunities for women and people from underrepresented backgrounds, the numbers still show that much more work needs to be done,” said Janine Jones-Clark, senior vp  global talent development & inclusion, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “This year’s brilliant filmmakers have all demonstrated a compelling vision and a strong understanding of story with their previous accomplishments, and we look forward to working with them over the course of the next year to provide them with exposure and opportunities for continued success.”

Sundance Institute FilmTwo filmmakers participating in the Universal Directors Initiative include: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (The Mustang), Rhys Ernst (Adam), Atsuko Hirayanagi (Oh Lucy!), and Kirsten Tan (Pop Aye).Participating AFI Directing Workshop for Women directors are: Amber Sealey (How Does It Start), Jessica Kaye (Inheritance), Carly Usdin (Suicide Kale), Parisa Barani (Ablution (Wuzu)), Marielle Woods (Do No Harm), Shilpi Roy (Hipsterhood), Siyou Tan (Hello Ahma) and Talia Zucker (Child). Joining the Initiative from NBCUniversal’s Global Distribution & International Filmmasters program is Lukas von Berg (L’aria Del Moscerino). Numa Perrier (Jezebel) joins from ABFF; Jose Maria Cabral (The Projectionist) and Gabriela Calvache (The Longest Night) join from NYLFF; and Dinh Thai (Monday) joins from last year’s NBCUniversal Short Film Festival.

Recent alumni of the Initiative include Gandja Monteiro, who will direct her first feature film with Universal’s Talent Show, executive produced by Lena Waithe; and Sally El Hosaini, who is attached to helm Focus Features’ The Swimmers.