CDDP announces finalists and 5 new fellows

(courtesy AICP)

Tamika Lamison, Executive Director of the Commercial Directors Diversity Program (CDDP), today announced the five Fellows who have each been awarded $25,000.00 stipends to produce spec spots during the Program’s 2022 cycle.

The Fellows are: MG ‘Grace’ Evangelista, Alexander Gilbert, Rhym Guisse’, LJ Johnsn and Andrew Rhee.

According to Lamison, almost 700 Directors applied to the program – more than ever before. Most of these directors began their careers in other media – documentaries, dramatic shorts, music videos, etc.

This fourth cycle of the program comes after the pandemic hold during which the CDDP launched its 50/50 Mentorship program where more than 50 Directors were matched with industry professionals who mentored them via zoom.

The five 2022 CDDP Directing Fellows will participate in a six-month program meant to provide them with experience and exposure to the inner workings of commercial and content production.

The program begins with a series of workshops where the directors learn from industry professionals about the nuances of commercial production – from pitching treatments to working with clients on set and in the post process.

The directors have been paired with mentoring companies and agencies who will give them first-hand access and insight into the process; then work with them to produce spec spots based on scripts provided by the agencies.

Mentoring companies this year are Spears & Arrows, Invisible Collective, Caviar, Rattling Stick and Arts & Sciences.

Agencies include: Saatchi & Saatchi, TRG-The Richards Group/Dallas, The Martin Agency/Richmond, High Dive/Chicago and Wieden/Kennedy-NY.

The program culminates in an industry showcase for company owners, directors, agencies, and clients that will, hopefully, lead the Fellow directors to being signed by AICP member companies and becoming DGA members.

“The CDDP is the only program in existence that affords this kind of expansive access, support and real-world change to talented, under-represented directors. We are committed to being the change that we want to see in the commercial world,” noted Lamison. “Being inclusive while championing and nurturing unique pov’s- is a win-win for everyone.”

DGA fellows and Tamika Lamison- CDDP Exec. Director, Lisa Rich- CDDP Advisory Chair and Michael Floyd-Director, DGA Commercial Contracts. Credit: Arnold Turner

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In addition, several Finalists have been invited to participate in the program’s Workshops in person: Rachel Myers, Stephanie Martin, Andrew Reid, Danielle Shapira, Alfredo Vidal, Davis Northern, Tayo Amos, Carlos Asse, Guillermo Casarin, Victor Ridaura, Cris Gris, Temi Ojo, Savannah Sivert & Taylor Hinds, Star Victoria, Brian ‘BLT’ Tan, April Maxey, Carlos Hurtado and Leon Lozano. Semi-Finalists can join virtually.

Last year the program launched five fellows: Tameer Shaaban (recently signed by his Mentoring Company Durable Goods), Manjari Makijany, Siyou Tan, Iqbal Ahmed, and Araeia Robinson. All of whom are becoming mainstream commercial/content directors.

The CDDP’s mission is to foster awareness and increase opportunities for women and other under-represented directors in the commercial production industry through a targeted program of outreach, mentorship, and exposure.

The program works to pair unsigned directors with AICP member production companies.  In addition to receiving a grant to create a spec commercial, the Program includes an industry showcase of the directors’ work, workshops specific to the intricacies of the ad world, mentoring, and shadowing with commercial production companies.