CBS Announces Participants in Its 2017-2018 DIRECTORS INITIATIVE

CBS today announced participants for the 2017-2018 Directors Initiative. Now in its 14th year, the initiative provides a platform for experienced directors to gain access to showrunners, executives, managers, agents and, more importantly, the opportunity to shadow CBS Television Network and CBS Television Studio shows throughout the year. The program helps directors develop strategic objectives aimed at cultivating meaningful relationships with industry professionals that are essential to getting hired.

"We recognize that directing episodic television is no small responsibility and in order for directors to gain the trust and confidence of a showrunner, it's essential that they spend time on set and begin fostering those relationships," said Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications, CBS Entertainment. "The program extends far past the year of shadowing as we continue to advocate and champion the participants throughout their career and provide the same opportunity for all."

This year's participants are listed below. Click HERE to download their photos.

Jennifer Derwingson, Drama Director:

Derwingson is from Mt. Shasta, Calif. and earned a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She directed several award-winning shorts and most recently directed her second episode of Syfy Network's action/horror/comedy "Z Nation."

Kevin Berlandi, Drama Director:

Berlandi was born in South Korea and raised in Newton, Mass. He earned his BS in marketing and advertising from Emerson College and has been directing commercials for brands including GMC, Buick, Audi, Kia, Toyota and Burger King. Last year, he was a participant in the Sony Pictures Television Directing program. In his free time, Berlandi co-chairs the Asian American Committee at the Director's Guild of America. He is repped by Jordan Bayer at Original Artists and managed by Peter Meyer at Meyer Management.

Maria Burton, Drama Director:

Burton is from Buffalo, N.Y. and earned a degree in theater and filmmaking from Yale University. She directed six feature films, including "A Sort of Homecoming," "Just Friends" and "Manna From Heaven." Most recently, she wrote and directed "Good Eggs" for Indigenous Media's ProjectHER.

A. Laura James, Comedy Director:

James is from Placerville, Calif. and earned a BFA in acting from Southern Oregon University. She has directed episodes of "Austin & Ally," "Bunk'd" and "Bizaardvark." She started in the industry as an acting coach/dialogue coach.

Paige Morrow Kimball, Comedy Director:

Kimball is from New York, N.Y. and earned a BFA in film and television from NYU. Recently, she directed six short films for HBO's SESAME STREET as well as the award-winning shorts "Play Date" and "Ending Up." She started her career directing and producing documentaries on the Olympics and unscripted shows including "Project Greenlight" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Past participants of the CBS Directors Initiative include Laura Belsey (ARROW, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, BULL, CRIMINAL MINDS), Lily Mariye (CRIMINAL MINDS, NCIS: LOS ANGELES), Anna Mastro (JANE THE VIRGIN), Tara Miele (HAWAII FIVE-0), David Rodriguez (NCIS: LOS ANGELES, "Queen of the South," "Chicago Med"), Steven Tsuchida (ME, MYSELF & I, "Insatiable," CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND) and Marcus Stokes (CRIMINAL MINDS, LIFE IN PIECES).

The CBS Directors Initiative also hosts various events throughout the year for all directors looking to gain access to CBS producers and showrunners.

For more information about CBS Diversity & Inclusion, please visit:

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