THE SQUAD CLASS of 2020
Jen grew up in Santa Barbara, spending her school years as a skate-loving drama-geek and her summers living with extended family in the woods without electricity (Little House in the Prairie style). She began traveling at a young age, went to University of Nairobi at 19, and credits her exciting upbringing with the wide range of stories she loves to tell. In episodic, Arnold has directed comedy and drama including THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, SHAMELESS, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, THE L-WORD: GENERATION Q, YOUNGER and many more. Her independent and documentary work has premiered at prestigious festivals worldwide, including four separate appearances at Sundance. Arnold’s documentary A SMALL ACT, won the Humanitas Prize and was nominated for the Best Documentary Emmy. Her other documentaries include THE DIPLOMAT and TIG, about comedian Tig Notaro. Arnold lives in Los Angeles with her wife, the esteemed cinematographer Patti Lee.
Mentor: Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton
Morenike Joela Evans
Morenike is a Director, known for her calm leadership, clear vision and positive vibes on set. She’s passionate about directing stories for TV & Film that are compelling, provoking and have heart. She’s currently one of only six Black women actively working as a multi-cam director in scripted television and has recently directed episodes of the iCarly reboot, Family Reunion, Raven’s Home and Sydney to The Max. Also a single camera director, Morenike directed 3 episodes of the Paramount+ series Guilty Party starring Kate Beckinsale, two episodes of Apple TV’s Astro, and an episode of Diary Of A Future President. She transitioned to directing scripted television after an impressive career producing & directing unscripted programming for MTV News, BET, NBC, TNT, OWN, TV One and PBS. Originally from the DC area, she earned her Master’s in Film from American University and is a proud Prairie View A&M undergraduate. She’s married and raising two children in LA. If she wasn’t working as a director, she’d be Janet Jackson’s backup dancer, a detective, or an archeologist–in that order.
Mentor: Debbie Allen
Sharon is a 3-time Emmy nominee and has directed over 125 episodes of unscripted television, including NBC’s “World of Dance”, NBC’s “A Little Late with Lilly Singh”, and Comedy Central’s “The High Court”. Her 2019 award-winning musical comedy “Brentwood” played dozens of festivals around the world and won Best Short Film at the Independent Filmmaker Showcase in Los Angeles. Sharon’s original sci-fi “Polybius” premiered at Fantastic Fest in 2019. Sharon began her career as a television editor, and was the Executive Producer of ABC’s long running Disney Christmas specials. She was part of NBC’s Alternative Directors Program, and was named one of the “Future Women of Television” by Blackmagic Collective in 2020.
Mentor: Claire Scanlon
Kimmy is a director, writer, and actress you may recognize from her on-screen roles as Stacey on Netflix’s critically acclaimed series “GLOW” or as Coach Crowley on Atypical. As a director, she will be making her feature debut, “Good on Paper” written by and starring Iliza Shlesinger for Netflix, premiering globally June 23rd. Credits include “Girls5Eva” (Peacock) “The Babysitters Club” (Netflix) “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (The CW) “Sesame Street” (HBOMax) and “Timeline,” an interactive series produced by Will Gluck’s Olive Bridge Entertainment. Gatewood’s breakthrough short “CONTROL” was a standout on the national festival circuit, winning eleven awards and garnering official selections from over 40 festivals including the Palm Springs International ShortsFest. Her short “Consent” won the JFL’s highest award, and her most recent short, “Navel Gazers,” won Outstanding Sci-fi at Micheaux Film Festival. Upcoming projects include scripts with her writing partner Alison Becker, including Girlworld produced by Red Hour at Amazon.
Mentor: Kay Cannon
Annette began her directing career with THE FOOT SHOOTING PARTY starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Spielberg saw the film and offered her an episode of Amblin’s SEAQUEST and that led quickly to her first feature, FOXFIRE. Annette became known for her astute casting eye when she pulled Angelina Jolie from auditions for a minor role and offered her the lead. Her reputation for working with actors grew with each film as she discovered new talent and cast some of the most acclaimed—Sam Shepard, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julie Harris, Ron Silver. Annette is equally proud of the beauty of her films. Her original ambition to be a cinematographer shapes her vision and attracts talented cinematographers and production designers. Annette’s career includes screenwriting and script-doctoring. She is in development on a new film she wrote, a transgender family story, and is writing a screenplay set in Berlin that she is attached to direct.
Mentor: Tara Miele
Li was born in Suzhou, China and raised in Sugar Land, TX. She received her BA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, graduating cum laude. Her debut feature THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE won three Best Feature awards. A TOWN CALLED VICTORIA, a docuseries about an arson of a Texas mosque, has garnered support from the Sundance Institute, Firelight Media, Austin Film Society, Islamic Scholarship Fund, CAAM, ITVS, Reel South, and others. Currently, Li directs television and is developing episodic and feature projects. A maker of fiction and documentary films, her form-fluid work aims to create social impact and expand BIPOC representation.
Mentor: Marta Cunningham
Also known as Princess Monique Filmz, has come a long way from growing up in the inner city of Cleveland. From humble beginnings, she has used her life experiences to fuel her creativity and ignite her passion of storytelling embodied in her robust career. Princess Monique is an accomplished TV/film producer, director, writer, and author. She is also an alumni of the Walt Disney/ABC Directing Program: Class of 2020, which helped launch and cultivate her career as a television director. Adding to already remarkable credits, her transition into TV directing is a notable feat that came about when she directed OWN hit drama Greenleaf, and most current, Princess was tapped as a director for the award-winning ABC comedy series Black-ish which aired May 2021.
Mentor: Millicent Shelton
SJ is an award-winning Costa Rican-American filmmaker whose work as a dramatic episodic director is supported by industry talent labs including NBC’s Female Forward and Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative. She’s a graduate of UCLA’s School of TFT, the MFA Film Directing Program of Columbia University New York, and she holds a PhD from EGS Switzerland. Prior to working professionally as a director, SJ held a number of industry positions, including serving as Director of Development for Merchant Ivory Films and as a freelance Commercial Production Supervisor. SJ is repped by CAA and The Shuman Company.
Mentor: Kari Skogland
Pratibha is an award winning T.V. and film director. Pratibha’s credits include her debut narrative feature, Nina’s Heavenly Delights, a rom com set in Scotland released in the UK & US. Pratibha’s film Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, the definitive film on this Pulitzer Prize winning author The Color Purple was broadcast on American Masters (PBS) and BBC. Pratibha made her US debut as a director of scripted television in 2019 when invited by Ava DuVernay to guest direct episode 12 of Season 4 of Queen Sugar, executive produced by Ava DuVernay & Oprah Winfrey for OWN/Warner Brothers. She is currently completing her hybrid feature doc, My Name Is Andrea about the radical feminist writer Andrea Dworkin. The film features Amandla Stenberg, Ashley Judd, Andrea Riseborough, Soko and Christine Lahti. Pratibha is enthusiastically focused on directing more scripted episodic television. A member of the Directors Guild of America & Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Pratibha is represented by Nathan DeRemer at APA.
Mentor: Julie Anne Robinson
Mo is an award-winning film and television director. Her first feature, a relationship drama called Quiet Little Marriage, won several awards including the grand jury award at Slamdance and was distributed by IFC. Her second feature, a comedy called The Last Time You Had Fun, also won festival awards and was distributed by Gravitas. She’s now developing her third feature; a dramatic thriller called The Longest Road. Recently Mo directed an episode of the Sci-Fi drama Manifest for NBC and season 2 of the musical comedy I Ship It for the CW. Mo’s UCLA grad school thesis film, Piss Hat, was nominated for a Student Academy Award. She’s an alumnus of The Ryan Murphy Half Initiative, WeForShe, WB TV Directors Workshop and Sony Diverse Directors’ Program. Currently Mo’s developing several series for television including one inspired by the hippie commune she grew up on. She’s represented by CAA and Brillstein.
Mentor: Nicole Kassell