Twelve writers and three directors have been chosen from among thousands of applicants to participate in the 14th year of The Walt Disney Studios/ABC Entertainment Writing Fellowship program and the third annual ABC/DGA Directing Fellowship program. The announcement was made by Alex Wallau, President, ABC Television Network; Lloyd Braun, Chairman, ABC Entertainment Television Group; Susan Lyne, President, ABC Entertainment; Dick Cook, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios; Nina Jacobson, President, The Buena Vista Motion Picture Group; and Stephen McPherson, President, Touchstone Television, at a recognition ceremony today at the ABC/Walt Disney studios.
“The Writers Guild applauds ABC/Disney’s ongoing commitment of financial resources and creative expertise to the Writing Fellowship Program, and would like other studios and networks to be inspired and challenged to create similar programs,” said WGAw President Charles Holland. “The writing Fellowship has provided direct access to employment opportunities for writers from diverse backgrounds who may otherwise not have had such an opportunity. We congratulate you on your vision and leadership in recognizing that measures must be taken to ensure a diversity of voices in an industry that relies on storytelling as a business.” The new fellows will be welcomed at a reception hosted by the Writers Guild in February.
The 2004 Television and Theatrical Writing Fellows are:
Bryan Holdman: ABC Fellowship submission was Caesar, a modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar set amid the murderous politics of a hip-hop record label. This project was recently sold.
Shannon Jimenez: ABC Fellowship submission was Cry of the Hathi, about a free-spirited woman raised in India who is betrothed to an officer but pursues true love with an enlisted man. It earned her a UCLA screenwriting award in 1997. Molyneaux Mathews: ABC Fellowship submission was Wilbur and Sully, about a teacher who falls for the former female pro wrestler he is teamed with to coach his high school boy’s wrestling team.
Amy Snow: ABC Fellowship submission was First Husband. The story follows a vice-presidential candidate who runs into trouble when it’s discovered her quickie Vegas marriage from 12 years earlier was never actually annulled.
Curtis Chin: ABC Fellowship submission was a spec episode of The Bernie Mac Show entitled ”The Talent Show.” Most recently Mr. Chin worked as a writer’s assistant on ABC’s comedy series, “It’s All Relative.”
Daniel Hsia: ABC Fellowship submission was a spec episode of The Bernie Mac Show entitled “Bernie’s Budget.” One of his first forays into television has been the development of his three-minute script, “I Didn’t Really Wet My Pants,” for ABC’s Micro-Mini Series project.
Samantha Humphrey: ABC Fellowship submission was a spec CSI episode entitled “Gross.” Samantha also wrote and is producing A Moment of Grace, a short film about an American doctor who tries to save a premature baby at the height of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Carol Mayes: Carol’s submission to the ABC Fellowship program was a spec episode of The Shield titled “Karma.” A published writer, Carol won Essence Magazine’s National Short Story Contest in 1991 with “Just Insurance,” from which she adopted the short film Rituals.
Evangeline Ordaz: Evangeline submitted a spec episode of Six Feet Under entitled “Kid Fears.” She is a member of the writing and performance collective, żY Qué Mas?, and has performed her work in L.A. theaters and been featured on NPR. Her short plays, “Mass Transit” and “Esther and the Exodus,” were produced by the Cornerstone Theater Company.
Luvh Rakhe: Luvh’s submission to the ABC Fellowship program was a spec Scrubs episode entitled “My Admission: Impossible.” He spent the past year-and-a-half working in Comedy and Drama Development at Touchstone Television.
Wayne Stamps: Wayne’s ABC Fellowship program submission was a spec episode of The Bernie Mac Show entitled “You’re Not the Man You Used to Be.” Other writing credits include a produced episode of UPN’s Moesha and three produced episodes of Disney Channel/Hyperion Pictures’ animated The Proud Family. Wayne’s ABC Micro-Mini Series script, “Dirty and Dirtierer” (co-written with former Fellow Kim Duran ‘02), is currently in development at the network.
Aaron Woolfolk: Aaron’s submission to the ABC Fellowship program was a spec Karen Sisco episode entitled “Shark’s Paradise Hustle.” Aaron’s first short film, the drama Rage!, screened at several festivals and won a directing award from the DGA. He also received an ‘02/’03 ABC Talent Development Scholarship Grant for Harimaya-bashi (The Harimaya Bridge), which he hopes to make as his first feature.
The 2004 Directing Fellows are:
Leslie Harris, whose feature film submission was Just Another Girl on the IRT. Her movie tells the story of an inner-city, African-American teenager who dreams of becoming a doctor but must contend with an unexpected pregnancy. This is one of the first theatrical releases written, produced and directed by an African-American woman.
Vincent Blackhawk Aamodt, who submitted a commercial reel and the feature-length documentary The Ghost Riders, a three-year project that follows a group of young Lakota Indians as they trek 300 miles across the frozen plains of South Dakota.
Krutin Patel co-wrote, produced and directed ABCD, which dramatizes the current Asian-Indian immigrant experience in America, exploring the story of characters caught between the customs of the country they’ve left behind and the culture of their newly adopted home.
The mentors for the Writing Fellowship from ABC, Touchstone Television and other Disney-affiliated entities include the following:
Buena Vista Motion Picture Group: Doug Short, LouAnne Brickhouse, Jill Rachel Morris, Carlton Jackson, Josh Simon, Casey Wolfe, Todd Murata and Shane Snoke; Disney Feature Animation: Birk Rawlings; Touchstone Television: Julia Franz, Suzanne Patmore, Alex Weinberger, Josh Barry, Nina Howie, Jody Platt, Nicole Norwood and Brian Harvey; ABC Entertainment Comedy: Stephanie Leifer, Richard Claflin and Heather Cunningham; ABC Entertainment Drama: Thom Sherman, Heather Kadin and Julie McNamara; ABC Entertainment Current Programming: Lance Taylor, Vicki Dummer, Angela Somerville, Jocelyn Diaz and Patrick Maguire; Disney Channel: Adam Bonnett; ABC Family: Mina Lefevre; Lifetime Television: Kelly Goode; Elisa Roth, formerly of David. E. Kelley Productions.
The Fellowship Program has a track record of providing direct access to employment opportunities for writers from diverse backgrounds who may not otherwise have had such access. The program boasts an impressive roster of alumni who are now enjoying successful careers in the television and the feature workforce. As the program’s level of prestige has increased, its graduates have been called upon for assignments spanning every studio and network in the industry.
Of recent Fellowship graduates:
Sonya Steele (‘02) was staffed on ER; Veena Sud (‘02) was hired as a writer on CBS’s Cold Case; Brenda Hsueh (‘02) was staffed on Fox’s Oliver Beene; Ed Evans (’02) is Story Editor on The Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven; Monica Zepeda (’02) was a writer for the Shrek II video game; Nelson Soler (‘01) was Co-Producer for ABC’s Are You Hot: The Search for America’s Sexiest People; Dailyn Rodriquez (‘01) is Story Editor on George Lopez; John Marsh (‘01) wrote an episode for Disney Channel’s Proud Family; and David DiGillio (’01) has a film project, Antarctica, set up at Mandeville Films with a potential spring start date.
Former Fellows also include Joan Weiss (‘99-‘00), Co-Producer for The WB’s Everwood; Heather Hach Hearne (‘99-‘00) wrote Walt Disney’s remake of Freaky Friday and There’s a Pop Diva Loose in the Cafeteria for DreamWorks; Meghan McCarthy (‘99-‘00) sold her feature script, The Bachelorette, to Universal Pictures; Saladin Patterson (‘96-‘97) is Co-Executive Producer on Fox’s The Bernie Mac Show; Luisa Leschin (‘95-‘96) is Co-Producer on George Lopez; Peter Murrieta (‘94-‘95) was Executive Producer and creator of The WB’s Greetings from Tucson and is Co-Executive Producer on The WB’s All About the Andersons; Jane Espenson (‘92-‘93) was Co-Executive Producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Malcolm Lee (‘92-‘93) is writer/director of the film The Best Man and director of Undercover Brother for Universal Pictures.
Jacquelyn C. Edmonds (‘91-‘92) was Co-Executive Producer on UPN’s Abby; Laurence Andries (‘91-‘92) is Co-Executive Producer on Alias; Tony Puryear (‘90-‘91) wrote the feature Eraser; Reggie “Rock” Bythewood (‘90-‘91) wrote and directed Dancing in September for HBO and Biker Boyz for DreamWorks; Tim Doyle (‘90-‘91) served as Executive Producer on critically acclaimed seasons of ABC’s Ellen and Grace Under Fire, and is the creator of Stuck in the Middle with You, an NBC comedy slated for mid-season ‘03-‘04; and Gary Hardwick (’90-‘91) wrote the feature films Trippin’ and Bring It On, and wrote and directed The Brothers and Deliver Us from Eva.
The Directing Fellowship is a demonstration of ABC’s and the DGA’s mutual goal of increasing diversity among directors in television. The mission of the ABC/DGA Directing Fellowship is to provide talented directors from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to work with established television directors over a thirty-six week period, thereby ensuring the perpetuation of a legacy between veteran, novice and transitioning directors. Through the course of the program, each recipient will work with numerous directors in various genres, on both multi- and single-camera shows.
“The DGA congratulates this year’s ABC/DGA Directing Fellowship recipients,” said Paris Barclay, DGA Third Vice President. “It is our hope that this program will provide talented directors of diverse backgrounds access to the training and networking opportunities vital to building a successful directing career.”
The Directing Mentors who have taken part in the program are from the following television shows:
8 Simple Rules: Jamie Widdoes; 10-8: Jeff Bleckner; Alias: Perry Lang, Nelson McCormick and Lawrence Trilling; The Division: Aaron Lipstadt, Jeffrey Reiner and Rachel Talalay; The Guardian: Nancy Malone; Jimmy Kimmel Live: Michael Simon; Less than Perfect: Ted Wass; Line of Fire: Rod Lurie; Miracles: Bill D’Elia; My Wife and Kids: Andy Cadiff, Damien Wayans; The Parkers: Tony Singletary; Phil of the Future and That’s So Raven: Tim O’Donnell; The Practice: Christina Musrey, Jeannot Szwarc; Strong Medicine: John Flynn, Joe Napolitano.
The ABC Entertainment Television Group’s commitment to discovering and nurturing new talent is exemplified through many different programs, including The ABC/Disney Writing Fellowship, The Casting Project, the Talent Development Scholarship and Grant Program, the ABC/DGA Directing Fellowship, the Entertainment Associates Program, the Emma Bowen Minority Internship Program, and the ABC Micro-Mini Series television interstitials project.
Carmen J. Smith, Vice President, ABC Talent Development Programs, oversees the Fellowship. Casey Wolfe, Manager of Creative Affairs for Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, serves as liaison for the Disney Theatrical Fellowship Division.
For information about the Fellows programs or to receive an application, candidates should call the hotline at (818) 560-6894 or go to www.abctalentdevelopment.com
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