HBO announces 2018 Directing Fellowship winners


(New York – 4 May 2018) HBOAccess has selected three directors for their 2018 Directing Fellowship. The HBOAccess Directing Fellowship selects 3-4 fellows to participate in a biennial program designed to foster diverse directing talent.

The program includes a series of master classes which lead into the production of pilots. Delivered by industry professionals both internal and external to HBO, the classes cover a variety of subjects including creative topics such as story and character, as well as the technical aspects of production and post.

Upon completion of the course, the fellows are then given a budget and crew to direct a short presentation allowing them full immersion in a true industry production. HBO will continue to support the directors by screening the films for the entertainment community and offering shadowing opportunities on HBO series.

“Every year we are overwhelmed with the amazing talent introduced to us through this process,” says Kelly Edwards, VP of Talent Development, HBO. “These directors are superstars on the verge of making the leap to episodic. Our hope is that we can be a small part of their story.”

The program supports directors who are interested in a career in television by giving them the opportunity to shoot a pilot presentation which will air on HBO, HBO GO, and HBO NOW. The scripts they have chosen to direct all come from material created through the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship.

Thembi Banks – Born in Harlem New York, Thembi is a 2017 Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow whose short film Suitable is a finalist at ABFF. She currently writes for Showtime’s Golden Globe-nominated series, SMILF. Thembi will direct Unimundo by Claudia Forestieri who recently staffed on The Fosters. Based on Claudia’s real life experiences at Telemundo, the script revolves around a Spanish language news producer who unexpectedly becomes a symbol for the resistance.

Cary Williams – Cary’s most recent film Emergency has received awards from festivals including Sundance and SXSW and has honed his craft as a mentee with Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation and a directing fellow with Film Independent Project Involve. Williams aspires to evoke thought, reflection and positive change with his work. Carey will team up with Katherine Craft who recently sold a show to NBC Snap. Halfway revolves around an avowed atheist forced to live in a Christian halfway home.

Ryan Zaragoza – Ryan placed as a finalist in HBO’s Project Greenlight. His directorial debut, The Painter, was an official selection of the STARZ Network Film Festival. His latest short film bebé will air on HBO Latino starting June 2018. Ryan will direct Sterling by Stephanie McFarlane and Bryce Ahart which focuses on a small town in the aftermath of a school shooting.

The new fellows will participate in a weeklong workshop before mounting their production this July. Applications for next year’s Writing Fellowship will open February 2019.