By Dino-Ray Ramos
June 16, 2020
The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has revealed the 14 participants for its 16th annual Power of Diversity Master Workshop.
The 14 producers selected for the annual workshop represent 10 projects in TV, film, unscripted and documentary. 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 participants were chosen from hundreds of applications reviewed by a PGA-member led selection committee. n addition to twice-weekly masterclasses, 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 and 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
As a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic, the PGA has suspended all-in person activities for the year. That said, all mentoring support and classes will be virtual.
“Producing amid a pandemic is something that we will all have to get used to,” said Artis and 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 alums include a roster of producers that have gone on to work on 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 free and open to members and non-members of the PGA. Applications for next year’s program will be available February 2021.
Morgan is repped by attorney Rob Szymanski.