THE SQUAD CLASS of 2023
Clara Aranovich is the daughter of an Argentine physicist and a Chilean market researcher. Her directing career began in short form, making music videos for artists like Beirut and Meg Myers; commercials for MLB and Delta; and premiering her short film PRIMROSE at SXSW. Off her original web series’ premiere at Tribeca she transitioned into episodic TV. Her credits include "Tentacles" (Blumhouse/Hulu), "In The Dark" (CW/CBS/Netflix), "Nancy Drew" (CW/Amazon), “Walker: Independence,” (CW), "Promised Land" (ABC/Hulu), among others. She is the recipient of several Vimeo Staff Picks and is a Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Alumna. Clara co-founded and co-creative directs Public Assembly, a non-profit
theater company in LA which begat her latest short film, MURDER CAMP, which made its international premiere at Fantasia in 2023. A queer Latinx woman, Clara is on the LGBTQ+, Women’s, and Latino Steering Committees at the DGA. She is repped by CAA and Kaplan/Perrone.
Mentor: Ana Lily Amirpour
Faye grew up in the entertainment industry star5ng as a performer; recorded, toured,
performed plays and musicals and worked as an assistant choreographer. She was always
wanted to direct and so started working as a script supervisor hoping to make the jump by
working in TV. But with virtually no female directors in the 70’s, she remained working as a
script supervisor to support herself and her family.
She raised two kids, obtained an Honorary Bachelor’s Degree in Film from the State of California and went back to school at age 42 achieving a BM/Vocal Arts form the USC Thorton School of Music. She created and sang with the award winning acapella sextet, The Joy of Six. At age 69, Faye wrote and directed her first short film, which has been winning awards worldwide.
Recently, Faye was featured on Noam Kroll’s podcast, Show Don’t Tell, about being a late blooming director. In November 2022, Faye directed her first episode of television on
Mentor: Anne Renton
Whitney Clinkscales fell in love with storytelling at an early age after traveling the world with her parents who both served in the U.S. Navy. She’s a Black director and producer from Binghamton, NY, and her work emphasizes the beauty of inclusion and the richness of intersectionality. Her directing career began with commercials, branded content, documentaries, and live events before transitioning into directing episodic television. She was recently selected to be part of Disney’s Directing Program, granting her the opportunity to direct several segments and an episode of General Hospital on ABC. Currently, she’s directing a
docu-series for the Black Experience on Xfinity in partnership with 300 Studios. Whitney earned an MFA in Film Production from Florida State University and a B.S. in Public Relations from Syracuse University. Now she hopes to expand upon the work of those that came before her and carve a path forward for young directors in every aspect of production.
Mentor: Zenta Fuentes
Jade Jenise Dixon
Director Jade Jenise Dixon is an alum of the Disney Directing Program. In 2022, she debuted in episodic TV, directing an episode of Disney’s "Raven's Home." Continuing her success, she helmed two episodes of "Kold x Windy," an urban drama on WeTV/AMC Networks which aired in February 2023. Before Disney, Jade wrote and directed indie feature films. Notable works include "TRUTH HALL," which aired on BET, Bounce, Netflix, Tubi, and ALLBlk. "Dog Park" is available on Amazon and Tubi. As well as the award-winning short film, Sunrise.Originally from Omaha, NE, Jade flourished creatively at Atlanta's Northside High School of the Performing Arts, then pursued Theater Arts at the University of Miami and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. A member of the Directors Guild of America, Jade resides in Los Angeles, CA and is a passionate Director and content creator.
Mentor: Anya Adams
Eve Van Dyke
Eve Van Dyke is a filmmaker and writer. After living in Mexico City as a Fulbright scholar she started her career in documentary with The New York Times and VICE on HBO, where she won an Emmy Award in 2019. Recently, she directed two episodes of Shadowland, a docuseries
executive-produced by filmmaker Joe Berlinger, for Peacock. In addition to her non-scripted work, she has directed two narrative short films. REJECTORS (2019), premiered at the
Oscar-qualifying festival Hollyshorts and DIGESTIF (2021) premiered at the Austin Film Festival. BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER, the screenplay for her debut directorial feature, was selected as a top-10 script in 2021 by Screencraft. Her other scripted work has been selected for the Gotham TV Series Lab and placed in the Academy Nicholl fellowship.
Mentor: Karyn Kusama
C. Fitz is a director/producer/writer based in LA. Fitz began her career producing and directing
commercials for brands all over the world. She recently directed a campaign for McDonald’s
launching in 2024. Fitz’s award-winning feature documentary JEWEL’S CATCH ONE streamed on NETFLIX to critical acclaim. NEWNOWNEXT called it “essential viewing in America... shining a light on America’s oldest Black queer-owned discos.” Fitz made her TV scripted directorial debut working on DuVernay’s award-winning QUEEN SUGAR and went on to direct the first season of MAX’s ONE PERFECT SHOT. In unscripted TV Fitz was a development producer on the acclaimed QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY and went on to develop and eventually showrun the YA makeover show KNOCK FIRST. Her digital work with clients Pepsi and Disney garnered 4 Webby Awards. FITZ made several award-winning short films prior to starting in TV. She’s known for her powerful visual framing and creating emotional complex characters with a touch of dark humor.
Mentor: Mary Lou Belli
Courtney M. Franklin
Courtney M. Franklin, a Gary, Indiana native made her TV directing debut with NBC comedy
Grand Crew (Wine & Ojai) after a storied career as an assistant director. Having graduated from Jackson State University and working in network news, her first industry job was as a Costume P.A... Courtney later joined the Los Angeles DGA A.D. Training program. Her work as a Producer and A.D. have taken her to multiple states and eight countries to work with Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, Tony & Grammy winners. Courtney, herself, is a two-time DGA Award nominee, and one-time winner for her work on The West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote. Other culture shifting projects she’s proud to have been part of are: Single Drunk Female, The Sex Lives of College Girls, Insecure, Silicon Valley, How To Get Away With Murder, and Ugly Betty.
Mentor: Angela Barnes
Amanda is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated director whose films feature women bucking the odds in a male-dominated world. Her last documentary, HALFTIME, featuring Jennifer Lopez, opened the 2022 Tribeca film festival before its world premiere on Netflix. Amanda’s first film, JUST FOR THE RIDE, about the legendary cowgirls who founded the first professional sport in America, garnered her a student Oscar and IDA Award. In 2005, her film DOUBLE DARE explored the struggles of the blue-collar stuntwomen who take the hits for Hollywood stars.
Her 2018 film VEGAS BABY, which explored the wild west of America’s fertility industry, earned an Emmy nomination before its Netflix release. After directing documentaries and commercial work for decades, Amanda is currently developing her first narrative feature based on a true story. She has also been a celebrated cinematographer, a visiting lecturer at Stanford, and a proud member of the US Women’s Rugby Team.
Mentor: Amber Sealy
Named one of the top 40 filmmakers under 40, Anjali’s films have been supported by Cinereach, Sundance and Tribeca; screened at TIFF, IDFA and Hot Docs; won countless awards, jury prizes; gone theatrical; and been commissioned and acquired by Netflix and Amazon. Anjali just wrapped a feature-length Netflix Original about gut health and the microbiome with Tremolo Productions. She has directed dozens of commercials and in 2022, her musical fantasy CLOSER won Canada’s Prism Prize audience award. Anjali is currently in re-writes on her first scripted feature. Prior to filmmaking, Anjali was an environmental correspondent based in Nairobi for a decade, where she reported for Reuters. She also founded Timby (timby.org), a storytelling platform for communities on the frontlines of chronic environmental and social justice issues. Anjali did a master’s at the University of Oxford in climate change and a master’s in journalism at Columbia University.
Mentor: Jennifer Arnold
Kris Rey is a Cuban-American writer and director based in Chicago, Illinois. She began her career as a low-budget independent filmmaker, receiving critical acclaim with her 2015 feature film Unexpected, starring Cobie Smulders, which played in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Her 2020 comedy I Used To Go Here starring Gillian Jacobs and Jemaine Clement premiered at SXSW and can be seen on HBOMax. Recently, Rey has directed episodic television for Showtime and Disney/Hulu and is attached to direct a new feature in 2023 for 20th Century Studios with producer Scott Frank.
Mentor: Marielle Heller
Shilpi has directed on Disney Channel’s longest-running show BUNK’D, as well as Disney
Channel’s second-longest running show, RAVEN’S HOME. Shilpi sold her first television show,
BROWN GIRLS, to Freeform TV. Working with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment (AMERICAN AUTO), Nastaran Dibai (RESIDENT ALIEN), and Mark Cendrowski (THE BIG BANG THEORY), Shilpi co-wrote and co-executive-produced the pilot. Shilpi was also the showrunner of MATCHELORETTE, a CMT pilot for SoulPancake. She staffed on the Netflix Original Series TEAM KAYLIE and developed for The Disney Channel with Lilly Singh’s (THE MUPPETS MAYHEM) for Unicorn Island. Shilpi also has several feature film projects in development as a writer/director. Shilpi began her career working for Warren Littlefield, executive producer of TV’s FARGO and THE HANDMAID'S TALE, and former head of NBC Television. She is an experienced single camera and multicam director.
Mentor: Nisha Ganatra
Joan Stein Schimke
Academy Award© nominated writer/director Joan Stein Schimke has screened her short films in over 150 film festivals worldwide, garnering awards from the DGA and the National Board of Review in addition to receiving a Student Academy Award© Gold Medal. Joan made her episodic directorial debut on LAW & ORDER. She is a Sloan Foundation recipient and was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Hamptons Film Screenwriters labs. A social activist, much of Joan’s film work centers on how war, trauma and displacement affect families and communities. Joan has also volunteered in a Bosnian refugee camp while living in Budapest, Hungary; directed a short documentary about women war victims in Croatia; and was on the original development committee for V-Day with Eve Ensler. She is currently in
development on several projects. Joan is a film professor at Adelphi University and holds an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
Mentor: Tessa Blake
Lauren Wolkstein is a Baltimore-born narrative filmmaker. She recently directed two episodes of the Rachel Weisz & Alice Birch limited series DEAD RINGERS and the finale of Nick Antosca’s A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY. She also served as the Producing Director for S5 of Ava DuVernay's QUEEN SUGAR (helming a total of six episodes) and has directed episodes of FX’s Y: THE LAST MAN, Marvel's CLOAK & DAGGER, and USA's DARE ME. Her debut feature THE STRANGE ONES premiered at SXSW '17 and was one of John Waters' favorite films of the year. She co-directed the film with Christopher Radcliff, based on their Sundance short of the same name. Lauren’s previous shorts, including SOCIAL BUTTERFLY (Sundance ’13) and CIGARETTE CANDY (SXSW ’10 Grand Jury Prize), have played festivals around the world.
Wolkstein received her MFA in film directing from Columbia University. She lives in LA
with her wife and their threenager Evie.
Mentor: Jermey Podeswa