Film Independent Selects 6 Filmmakers For Episodic Directing Intensive
Alfonso Morgan–Terrero (photo by Kevin Xianming Yu)
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Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, revealed the six filmmakers that were selected for the third annual Episodic Directing Intensive. 

During the three-day program, the six chosen filmmakers will benefit from connecting with veteran directors, showrunners, actors, cinematographers and executives who will share their experiences and knowledge of the episodic directing landscape. A select list of industry participants includes Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Johnson Cheng, Gloria Fan, Georgina Gonzalez, Liz Kelly, Shari Page, Jeremy Podeswa, Alysia Reiner, Beth Schacter, Nancy Schreiber, ASC, Yira Vilaro, Rina Varughese, and Daniel Willis.
“In this ever-changing landscape, we are thrilled to support these talented directors and equip them with the knowledge to launch and sustain careers in episodic directing,” said Dea Vazquez, associate director of fiction programs.  
The following filmmakers have been selected to participate in Film Independent’s 2024 Episodic Directing Intensive:
John Gutierrez
John Gutierrez is an award-winning Latine writer/director from California. He’s lived and worked in New York, London, and Cape Town, learning how to craft stories that cut across geography and towards connection. An American filmmaker with a deep interest in the global, John’s films powerfully merge themes of family, mental-health, and psychic collapse through the genres of thriller, drama, and fantasy. His debut film, Sons of the Sea, won ‘Best Film’ at the 2021 Durban International Film Festival. His latest documentary, Original Sin: My Son the Killer was listed as one of the 20 “hot properties” at 2024 Cannes MIPCOM.

Lorena Lourenço
Lorena Lourenço is a passionate Latina immigrant and writer-director from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The USC Film alumna is known for her dark comedy, especially in her HBO Max licensed short film Muy Gay Too Mexicano, MTV animated music video for Anitta’s Envolver, and Frankenstein-inspired short film, Stitched. Her works have been selected for competition at festivals, such as Outfest, HollyShorts, Inside Out and LALIFF. Lorena’s Orchard Project’s workshopped series Sula and I, has Diane Guerrero attached to star and is produced by Mucho Más Media. She’s also currently setting up financing for her directorial feature debut What Ever Happened to Rosa Elena?
Alfonso Morgan–Terrero
Alfonso Morgan–Terrero is a filmmaker born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem to parents from Jamaica and Dominican Republic. He is a professor in the Department of Film & Television at NYU. His debut feature Verde (2020) was the first film ever shot in the border province of Dajabón in Dominican Republic. As a 2019 Henry Luce foundation fellow, he provided journalistic coverage of China’s film industry for American Cinematographer Magazine. He is currently adapting the nonfiction memoir "A Breed Apart" for Kevin Hart’s Hart Beat Productions and his short film Grown is screening in competition at LALIFF in June.
Huriyyah Muhammad
Huriyyah Muhammad is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose projects have been invited to the Sundance Film Festival, AFI FEST, SeriesFest, Outfest, NewFest, the American Black Film Festival and more. Her work, fun and hopeful, invites audiences to explore the world with humor, heart and often a little magic. Huriyyah is a recent participant in the prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women, a Film Independent Amplifier Fellow, and a recipient of the Sundance Creative Producing Award.
Kelsey Taylor
Kelsey Taylor was raised in the wild of Eastern Washington and moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University where she graduated Cum Laude from the school’s honors program, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and minors in both Film Studies and Music. She began her entertainment career as a cinematographer and camera assistant, which led to an intimate understanding of how to capture images. She soon transitioned into directing and has since built a diverse portfolio of both commercial and narrative work and is a member of the DGA.
So Young Shelly Yo
So Young Shelly Yo is a Korean-American filmmaker whose films were supported by HBO, SFFILM, Sloan, CAAM and others. Shelly’s first feature, Smoking Tigers, was the winner of Tribeca x AT&T UNTOLD STORIES and was awarded best screenplay, best performance, and a special mention for the Nora Ephron prize at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Prior to Smoking Tigers, Shelly created many award-winning short films including Soft Sounds of Peeling Fruit and Moonwalk with Me. Most recently, Shelly was awarded the New Voice Award at the 2023 Austin Film Festival and was chosen for the 2023 Bafta Breakthrough Program.


The Episodic Directing Intensive is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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