- Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018
- LOS ANGELES
Eleven producers representing 10 projects in TV, film, documentary and web series have completed the Producers Guild of America’s (PGA) 14TH annual Power of Diversity Master Workshop. The eight-week workshop, led by PGA Diversity chairs Julie Janata and Sasheen R. Artis, teaches master classes on pitching, premise development, film finance, line producing, demystifying the writers’ room, agents and managers, packaging, and multi-platform content delivery through VR/AR/MR/360, headlined by some of the top producers in the industry.
This year’s speakers included: recent PGA presidents Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary, producers Dwight Williams, Anne Marie Gillen, Ian Bryce, former TV network executive Tom Nunan, TV showrunner Erica Shelton Kodish, XR producer John Canning, content and acquisitions executive Angela Northington and current PGA president Lucy Fisher.
“The PGA’s outstanding producer training workshop has been spearheading inclusivity through new projects and producers for 14 years, while providing powerful new voices with the essential skills to make themselves heard throughout the industry and around the world,” said Fisher. “I couldn’t be more impressed by the quality of the selection of producers and the projects they are crafting. Their commitment is inspiring, and I was very happy to be part of the workshop’s joyful finale.”
The Power of Diversity Master Workshop participants also worked with 20 PGA member mentors for the duration of the workshop to prepare their projects for the marketplace. The Class of 2018 is:
- Rashaan Dozier-Escalante with the TV series “McKenna’s Callings,” a female-driven actioner set in the CIA in 1978 – the dawn of modern day terrorism.
- Morenike Joela Evans with the mother-daughter TV comedy “F.A.B. (Forty and Broke)” set in Washington D.C.
- Georgina Gonzalez with the feature documentary, “Soul Mirror,” an in-depth look at the challenges of immigration and disability through the eyes of Larry, a Mexican immigrant who suffers from hypertrichosis, a condition that causes his entire face and body to be covered by hair.
- Páll Grímsson with the adventure feature “Afterlands,” based on Steven Heighton’s acclaimed novel, as ethnic and nationalist conflicts doom the 1871 USS Polaris expedition to the North Pole.
- Michael Jenson with the family feature “Up River,” as four young friends from South Central go on a quest to the tony neighborhood of Los Feliz along the Los Angeles River.
- Sylvia L. Jones with the Chicago-based TV series “Shepherd,” which follows the police department’s Chief of Communications, Jillian Shepherd, as she navigates career, family and corruption within the city.
- Lisa Leeman with the be four-part docu-series, “American Veda” on the influence and backlash against Yoga and Hinduism in America.
- John Lowe with the TV comedy “Black Men Waiting,” following the lives and loves of Black gay men in Silicon Valley.
- Jazmen Darnell Brown & Rashad Mubarak with the digital short-form hip hop series “BLOOM,” following Darnel, a misfit teen who goes to extreme lengths to swap out his geek cred for street cred at his Atlanta high school.
- Camille Tucker with the TV comedy “Sorority Sistaz,” exploring identity and sisterhood at a fictional university in the South.
“We’re so proud of our graduates, primed to launch their projects, and proud of the Producers Guild’s long-standing commitment to inclusion,” read a statement from Master Workshop co-chairs Janata and Artis, “After so many years, there’s now a groundswell of diverse voices spreading throughout our media. Audiences are eager to embrace stories that reflect their own experience, so we’re convinced industry leaders will be just as eager to embrace these producers.”
PGA Workshop participants have gone on to produce top television shows and major films, including LaToya Morgan (two-time NAACP Image Award-nominee for “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” “Into the Badlands”), Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (“S.W.A.T.”, “Sleepy Hollow,” “CSI: NY,” “Southland”), Ben Lobato (“Ice,” “Queen of the South,” “Justified”), Hollie Overton (“Shadowhunters,” “The Client List”) and Sarah DiLeo (“Bless Me, Ultima”).
The Power of Diversity Master Workshop accepts participants from around the world and is open to members and non-members of the PGA. The Workshop is free. Applications for next year’s program will be available February 2019. For more information, click here.