Commercial Directors Diversity Program Fellows Debut Spec Spots During Showcase At DGA
Pictured (l-r) are Alexander Gilbert, CDDP Fellow; Rhym Guisse’, CDDP Fellow; M.G. ‘Grace’ Evangelista, CDDP Fellow; Lisa Rich, CDDP Advisory Board; Tamika Lamison, executive director, CDDP: Matt Miller, president and CEO, AICP; Andrew Rhee, CDDP Fellow; and L.J. Johnson, CDDP Fellow
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The Commercial Directors Diversity Program’s (CDDP) Industry Showcase recently debuted in Los Angeles at the Directors Guild of America (DGA). The Showcase featured spec spots directed by the five fellows for this fourth cycle of the full CDDP program. The directors are: Alexander Gilbert; M.G. “Grace” Evangelista; Rhym Guisse’; L.J. Johnson; and Andrew Rhee. 

Led by executive director Tamika Lamison and CDDP Committee Advisory head Lisa Rich, the CDDP offers a six-month program consisting of workshops, mentorships, networking, shadowing, a grant to make a spec commercial, and an industry showcase to share the work.  

The CDDP is a joint effort between the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA). It reflects the commitment of both organizations to bring about change and increase the representation of women and other underrepresented groups in the directing ranks of commercials and marketing communications. The goal of the program is to introduce directors to the commercial industry in the hopes that they will sign with AICP member companies and eventually join the DGA. 

For this latest cycle, the mentoring production companies--which also helped facilitate the creation of each director’s spec piece--were: Arts & Sciences, Caviar, Invisible Collective, Rattling Stick and Spears & Arrows. Each Fellow and mentoring company were teamed with agencies including: Saatchi & Saatchi LA; High Dive/Chicago; TRG (The Richards Group)/Dallas; and Wieden+Kennedy/NY--all of which generously supplied scripts and worked with the directors providing valuable creative insight.

In addition to the spec pieces, the Showcase featured documentary profiles of each director and a panel discussion comprised of the Fellows, and moderated by Suzanne Hargrove, VP, executive producer, PRETTYBIRD, who serves as president of the AICP West Board.

The expanded CDDP Program that first launched in 2018 has graduated 21 Directing Fellows, 13 of whom have been signed to production companies including Tamer Shaaban, a 2021 Fellow who signed to Durable Goods, his mentoring company, Iqbal Ahmed, a 2021 Fellow who signed to Rattling Stick; and LJ Johnson, one of this years’ Fellows who was mentored by Arts & Sciences and signed by Hungry Man. Information about the program and current submissions is available here.


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