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2016 - 2018 Program Directors

  • PETE CHATMON

    Comedy/Drama

    Born in New York City and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, Pete Chatmon started making Super 8 films in high school before continuing on to NYU’s, Tisch School of the Arts where his NYU thesis, 3D, starred Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Dorian Missick (Animal Kingdom, Southland). The film was an official selection at thirty festivals, including Sundance. His debut feature, Premium, premiered on Showtime after a limited theatrical run and starred Missick and Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy). Pete also wrote, produced, and directed the documentary 761st about the first black tank battalion in WWII, narrated by Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street). He received the Tribeca Film Institute “All Access” Program’s Creative Promise Narrative Award for the heist screenplay $FREE.99. Prior to being selected to the Disney-ABC Directing Program, Pete was an HBO Access Directing Fellow where he directed the pilot Lady Bouncer. His most recent short film BlackCard premiered on HBO after running the international film festival circuit. Through Double7 Images, his Digital Studio, he has produced, directed, shot, and edited content for advertising agencies and corporations such as Porsche, Proctor & Gamble, McDonald’s, and other brands.

  • DANE C. COLLIER

    Comedy

    Dane C. Collier was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Growing up an only child, Dane quickly formed a strong relationship with television, particularly comedy. His fictitious siblings included the cast of Family Matters and Full House. After graduating high school, Dane worked at Twentieth Century Fox in the mail room while attending night classes. After a year of networking and a nudge from his ever supportive mother, Dane decided to resign from the mail room and attend the Los Angeles Film School where he graduated with a major in directing and minor in editing. Post graduation, Dane returned to Twentieth Century Fox as a post-production assistant on series such as The Unit, Lie to Me, and The Finder. Dane soon advanced to work as an assistant editor for The Last Resort, Deadbeat and Suits. His most recent editorial credits include editing the webseries Lady Time and as a VFX editor on the drama series Timeless. Dane recently wrote and directed a half-hour pilot entitled Damn Near, about a young woman who finds herself “failing at life.” The pilot has garnered over 14,000 views on YouTube and is currently making its way through the film festival circuit.

  • JILL D’AGNENICA

    DGA Member

    Comedy/Drama

    A native of Southern California, Jill D’Agnenica grew up devouring stories in books and on television in the kitchens of her family’s restaurants. She received a BA in history from UCLA and an MFA in Visual Art from Claremont Graduate University. A friendship with a fellow artist/filmmaker led Jill to her career in editorial, starting in ultra-low budget films, before transitioning to steady work in television. She’s had the pleasure of working with and learning from numerous directors and producers while editing drama series such as The Division, Dirt, Undercovers, Hollywood Heights, Switched at Birth and Pretty Little Liars. In addition to her television work, Jill collaborates on music videos, PSAs, indie shorts and features and contributes as a guest lecturer, panelist, and mentor to fellow filmmakers and artists. Jill’s directorial debut, the feature film Life Inside Out, won Best Premiere at the Heartland Film Festival in 2013 and went on to be screened at 21 festivals, receiving 16 awards, including 5 Best Feature and 4 Audience Awards. After a limited theatrical run, Life Inside Out was released on DVD and VOD in 2015. Jill recently directed her first episode of television on Freeform’s Switched at Birth.

  • JESS DELA MERCED

    Comedy/Drama

    San Francisco native Jess dela Merced graduated with an MFA from the NYU Graduate Film Program where she received the 2012 Spike Lee Fellowship and the Lorraine Hansberry Arts, Performance, and Media Award. Her award-winning thesis film Hypebeasts, written under the mentorship of Spike Lee, is slated to air on PBS Fall 2016 as part of Northern California’s KQED's Film School Shorts. While at NYU she was also selected for a unique writing internship created by Chris Rock at Comedy Central. From 2014-2015 Jess was a San Francisco Film Society FilmHouse screenwriting resident and one of Independent Filmmaker Project's Emerging Storytellers. Her latest short film, Wait 'til the Wolves Make Nice, which acts as a prelude to her first feature in development titled Chickenshit premiered at South by Southwest and won the Grand Jury Prize in Detroit's Cinetopia International Film Festival. The feature script Chickenshit is a winner of NYU's 2016 Purple List. Most recently, Jess has been selected as one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2016 and a participant in the New York Film Festival's Artist Academy.

  • SARAH FEELEY

    Drama

    Born and raised in Chicago, Sarah Feeley is an award-winning filmmaker who writes and produces for film, television, and advertising. Sarah directed the award-winning Raising Ryland for CNN Films. The documentary takes viewers on a gripping journey inside the transgender experience as lived by a five-year old boy and his two loving parents. Sarah is the creator of My Side of the Sky an action sports documentary series that premiered as the #1 sports show on Hulu for adults 18-24. Sarah began her career in nonfiction as a producer and executive, where she worked on the PBS series This Emotional Life for Vulcan Productions, The Freedom Files, a PBS series about civil liberties, and the two highly acclaimed feature documentaries, Wal-Mart and Iraq for Sale, for Brave New Films. In fiction, Sarah’s credits include the Academy Award-nominated Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. In advertising, Sarah has directed, written and produced for the world’s biggest brands, such as Coca-Cola, Subway, Always, Volkswagen, Mentos and Polaroid. Sarah started in the entertainment business at Sony Pictures Entertainment working on tent-pole releases and evergreen franchises like: Godzilla, Men In Black, Stuart Little, As Good As It Gets, Dawson's Creek, The Mask Of Zorro, Starship Troopers, Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie. She holds an MFA from USC’s Peter Stark Program where she was honored with the Jerry Isenberg Studio Head Award and also has a degree in History from Boston College. Sarah is a 2016 GOOD 100 Honoree, a Sundance Institute alumna, and the former co-chair of USC’s Women of Cinematic Arts.

  • STEVEN J. KUNG

    Comedy/Drama

    The son of a tech entrepreneur and computer science professor, Steven J. Kung was born and bred in Virginia Beach and graduated from the University of Virginia where he wrote his honors thesis on human rights. After holding positions at the Kennedy Center and the Department of Justice, Steven decided to pursue a creative career in Hollywood. While earning his MFA at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, he received scholarships for incorporating Asian American and LGBT perspectives into his filmmaking. Steven’s passion for debate and civic engagement inspired him to direct the award-winning documentary, SPEW: The Competitive World of High School Debate. A dual director and UPM member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), he produced Ernest Borgnine’s last movie, The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernández, and co-chairs the DGA Asian American Committee. Steven made his feature directorial debut, A Leading Man, which won awards at the Asians on Film Festival and the VC Filmfest at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2014. The feature also prompted new site .Mic to name him as one of “Six Filmmakers Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling.” Prior to the Disney-ABC Directing Program, Steven worked as Matthew Weiner’s assistant on Mad Men and is currently the writer’s assistant on Dear White People.

  • ANTHONY LUCERO

    Drama

    Born and raised in the inner-city of Oakland, CA, writer/director Anthony Lucero’s directorial feature film debut East Side Sushi, tells the story of Juana, a Mexican immigrant who strives to become a sushi chef. Self-financed and made on a shoe-string budget, East Side Sushi (HBO/Sony/Samuel Goldwyn) went on to win 13 film festival awards, has a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score with critics, was listed as one of the “Top 10 Films of 2015” by San Francisco Weekly and one of "The most overlooked films of 2015" from the Los Angeles Times. It was also selected by USC and the U.S. State Department for the 2016-2017 American Film Showcase. After receiving his BA in Film from San Francisco State University, Lucero worked as a commercial and documentary editor and director of photography for several years, directed three award winning short films (Angels & Wheelchairs, I Need My Mocha, San Francisco is…) and spent over a decade in the visual effects world at Tippett Studio and Industrial Light & Magic (Star Wars Episode I & II, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ironman, Harry Potter III) as well as documenting the behind-the-scenes at Lucasfilm for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

  • REBECCA MURGA

    Drama

    Born and raised in Chicago, Rebecca Murga studied Electronic Media at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, while working in sports production for clients like COMCAST, ESPN, and CBS Sports. In 2004, Rebecca joined the US Army and deployed as a Public Affairs Officer and photographer to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, where she was attached to Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. After returning home, Rebecca wrote and directed the short film The Letter for ABC’s “Home for the Holidays” campaign. In 2014, she directed the War Ink digital docu-series featuring combat veterans telling their stories through their tattoos. A year later Rebecca was selected as a fellow in the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women. Her short film American Girl, starring Allegra Acosta (Just Add Magic) and Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy), about a young girl crossing the border with a former drug smuggler, was selected for the LA Shorts Film Festival, among others. In 2016, Rebecca wrote and directed the short film One Halloween, based on the true story of veteran Joey Banegas, who lost his leg in an IED attack in Afghanistan. The film is a recipient of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers’ (NALIP) Latino Lens grant, sponsored by Time Warner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as grants from Panavision and Disabled American Veterans. Prior to the Disney-ABC Directing Program, Rebecca was selected by Ryan Murphy's HALF foundation where she shadowed on Fox’s Scream Queens.

  • EMMANUEL OSEI-KUFFOUR, JR.

    Drama

    Emmanuel Osei­Kuffour, Jr. was born and raised in Houston, Texas to a Ghanaian immigrant family. He received his BA at Stanford University and his MFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore. After visiting Japan for the first time in 2007, he discovered contemporary Japanese cinema and was struck by how much he related to their understated, yet emotional stories about characters struggling to “fit in”. He then moved to Tokyo to study the Japanese aesthetic and worked for seven years in both live action and animation for studios such as Production I.G.(Ghost in the Shell), Toei Studios (13 Assassins), and Digital Frontier (Appleseed). His films have premiered in competition at festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, and Palm Springs. His most recent film Born With It, about a mixed­race Japanese boy bullied for his dark skin, played in over 50 festivals and won awards for Best Film and Greatest Social Impact Award at the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, Best Narrative Short at the Pan African Film Festival, Honorable Mention for Best Short at the Toronto Int’l Film Festival (Kids) and also received distribution on Comcast Xfinity and on French TV. He now lives in Los Angeles and is currently working on his first feature to take place in Texas and Japan.

  • APRILL WINNEY

    Drama

    Aprill Winney was born and raised in the Sequoia National Forest where, living in an isolated world of storybooks and trees, she fell in love with the art of storytelling. She earned a BA degree in Theatre at UCSD and later moved to Chicago to work its thriving theatre scene. Her four years in professional theatre taught Aprill a lot of valuable skills in storytelling and live performance but after being invited to direct part of a women’s feature film collaboration, she fell in love with filmmaking and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a new dream. Since moving to LA, Aprill has worked as both a script supervisor and director. Her script supervising credits include the indie films Jobs and Lovelace and TV shows such as Arrested Development, Family Tree, and The Fosters. She has also directed two feature films: The David Dance (2009) and Counting Backwards (2006), both of which achieved great festival success and distribution deals. In 2010 she made a return to the stage, directing two plays, Jack & Penny and Quick & Dirty, for the LA based Theatre Company, Racket Collective. She has also directed three webseries; Get Busy, Rock Hopper Nation, and Girls United. While working on The Fosters in 2014, the producers gave Aprill the opportunity to direct an episode of the show. She has since directed multiple episodes of the series.