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Producers Guild Selects the Class of 2020 for the Power of Diversity Master Workshop

Tuesday, June 16, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andrew Mahlmann
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Fourteen producers representing ten projects in TV, film, unscripted and documentary have been selected for the Producers Guild of America (PGA) 16th annual Power of Diversity Master Workshop. The eight-week workshop offers twice-weekly master classes on pitching, premise development, film finance, line producing, demystifying the writers’ room, agent & manager representation, distribution, deal making and the world of virtual & augmented reality, headlined by some of the top producers & executives in the industry. 

The PGA-member led selection committee reviewed hundreds of applications to identify stellar projects to support and help prepare for the marketplace. In addition to twice-weekly master classes, each project will be assigned two PGA member mentors who will provide in-depth feedback, make referrals and become champions for their projects to the industry. “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is profound and widespread. However, our industry is still a business built on relationships,” said Master Workshop Co-Chairs Sasheen Artis & Matt Johnson. “Without this level of access, many folks from underrepresented communities will remain on the sidelines and their stories will never be told. Now more than ever, it is imperative that established producers become allies and lead the charge in opening doors for diverse voices.”

The Class of 2020 is:

·        Jenny Callaghan & Randi Matthews with the documentary feature, The Luxury of Life: Disparities in Maternal Care

·        Marie Cheng with the animated TV comedy, Everybody Screams At Me

·        Gabrielle Cordero & Christina Licud with the reverse immigration TV comedy Gringas

·        Shari Ellis with the animated TV comedy Fangirl

·        Addison Henderson & Kevin Polowy with the sci-fi action TV drama The Healer

·        Duran Jones with the vampire TV drama Daywalkers

·        Surekha Paruchuri with the Gen Z political TV comedy Millie for President

·        Grace Santos & Elesha Barnette with the period feature International Sweethearts of Rhythm

·        Mynor Sosa with the veteran suicide feature Shotgun Lullaby

·        Harold Williams with the unscripted comedy Unpacking Black

 

Taking precautions against the coronavirus pandemic, the PGA has suspended all in-person activities this year. Therefore all mentoring support and classes will be held virtually. “Producing amid a pandemic is something that we will all have to get used to,” said Master Workshop Co-Chairs Sasheen Artis & Matt Johnson. “We knew that we had to figure out a way to pivot and ensure that including diverse voices remains top of mind for the industry. Diversity & Inclusion can no longer be an afterthought to be ‘peppered in’ later.”

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), Eugene Rhee (Into the Dark: Flesh & Blood, Despite Everything) 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).

In addition, the PGA Diversity Committee has fostered partnerships with international producers’ organizations, accepting creatives from around the world into the Power of Diversity Master Workshop, and in exchange, conducts the Workshop on four continents, in Jordan, South Africa, Brazil and Taiwan.

The Power of Diversity Master Workshop is open to members and non-members of the PGA. The Workshop is free. Applications for next year’s program will be available Feb 2021. For more information, visit pgadiversity.org.