Disney-ABC Television Group has selected its three directing fellows for the 2007-08 season. The Disney Directing Fellows program is an intense year-long apprenticeship program run in conjunction with the DGA that is designed not for novices but for people who already have already shown some promise and spunk in getting their foot in the door. The plan is to give them exposure to sets, mentors, seminars with real relevance to those in the trenches, and generally giving them access to execs, writers, producers and other directors in the Disney orbit who can help them take it to the next level, if they have the right innate stuff. I've been impressed with the level of commitment Disney and ABC brass have made to this program (it's a pet project of ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson's, among others on the Burbank lot) as well Disney's similarly structured writing fellowship program. It's basically grad school on the studio/network lot, and those who have been through the program in the past few years have thrived as helmers, A.Ds, staff writers, supervising producers, etc.
Selected from more than 300 applicants, this year's directing fellows are:
Nandi Bowe, who studied at Howard University, Temple U and AFI, and has logged time as an A.D. on numerous movies and TV series. She also had a stint as a staff writer on Fox's "X-Files" spinoff, "The Lone Gunman."
Oscar Daniels is a recent AFI grad and past winner of Showtime's Black Filmmaker Showcase contest. He had a short film, "Among Thieves," in competition this year at Sundance. In a previous life, Daniels worked as an intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency (no kidding).
Sharat Raju, a graduate of U of Michigan and AFI whose thesis film "American Made" has been on the festival circuit and racked up a number of short-film kudos and aired as part of the PBS indie film series "POV."
Pictured above, left to right: DGA's Regina Render, Bowe, Raju, Daniels and Disney-ABC TV Group's Tim McNeal, veep of talent and diversity.