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AIR’s Unsigned Diverse Directing Talents Land Roster Spots


Directors land on rosters at Schofield’s Flowers and Rodeo Show as AIR’s Diversity in Talent initiatives expand

AIR’s Unsigned Diverse Directing Talents Land Roster Spots

The Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase presented by the Alliance of Independent Representatives (AIR) last year may need to adopt a new name: perhaps calling it the Currently Unsigned But Not For Long Diverse Directors Showcase would be more appropriate. 

That’s because three of the directors featured in the showcase, which was sponsored by Simian, ended up being signed to representation deals with production companies that are represented by AIR members. 

Director Paul Moore was signed to Rodeo Show (see his work here) while director Mike Palafox has joined Schofield’s Flowers (see his work here).

In addition, one of the directors who was a semifinalist for the showcase, Gonzalo Bustamante (see his work here), was awarded with a scholarship to director Jordan Brady’s Commercial Directing Bootcamp. 

All of this comes as AIR has set a date for its next Unsigned Diversity Directors event, scheduled for May 22, 2023. Interested directors who would like to submit their work for the Showcase should contact AIR at and they’ll be notified when the official registration site is ready to accept submissions.

Further, the Alliance’s Diversity in Talent committee, which organised the Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase, has announced plans for a webinar for film students that will provide a tutorial on the commercial production process, from bidding through to production. 

Titled ‘Advertising A-Z for Film Students,’ it will take place virtually on March 7th at 10 am PT, 1 pm ET, the event was created by AIR’s Diversity in Talent committee, led by chairperson Isabel Echeverry of Kontakto Reps. The DIT committee is also the organiser of the Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase events. 

The aim of the seminar is to provide film students with a basic primer on how advertising content gets made, utilising a case study format that will dissect a branded content project from concept to completion. Panellists include Rodeo Show managing director Hani Selim and one of his roster directors, Christina Xing; Sonia Blum of Sonia Reps; and USC Film School professor Chris Guerrero.

The panellists will share a step-by-step process for bidding on a job (i.e., dealing with storyboards/scripts, creative calls, director’s treatments, etc.), review what agency creatives and producers are expecting or looking for when doing a director search, explain how jobs get awarded and run down the process of prepping and shooting. In addition to the content being offered, one of the students attending the webinar will win an opportunity to shadow a director on an actual shoot later this year.

“We’re thrilled about offering this webinar to film students, to walk them through how directors and ad agencies work together to create and tell a story via a 30-second spot,” said Isabel.

Showcase Directors Earn Raves

EPs who’ve signed the directors from the showcase are excited about their prospects. “When we saw Paul’s work, we were absolutely blown away with his technical prowess,” said Rodeo Show EP Kate Walker. “He’s a master at creating dynamic transitions throughout his work, has such skill with VFX and drone photography, and his superpower is being able to explain complicated technology in a simple yet relatable way. He’s also a lovely person. We felt like his was a talent that needed to be supported and could really thrive in the marketplace with the right team behind him.”

“Having a diverse roster is just so important for a production company these days,” said Steve Schofield, EP at Schofield’s Flowers. “And having someone who can shoot food is a real plus. Mike’s work reflects a nice combination of people and food and lifestyle and food. We bid a job together and I really liked where his head was at. And at Schofield’s Flowers we want to work with people we like, and we really like Mike. We’re super excited to have him.”

Gonzalo’s participation in the Commercial Directing Bootcamp Diversity Award is part of its regular inclusion of directors from underrepresented communities who are invited to attend the workshop for free. Director Jordan Brady, who directs through his own company, True Gentlemen, said he was impressed with Gonzalo’s combination of skills and his passion for the commercials format.

“He goes by the nickname Gunz, and he was the most talented person I’ve seen in any of my diversity sessions since I started conducting the bootcamp,” Jordan notes, pointing out his background as both a designer and a creative director. “One of the parameters of selecting the Bootcamp Diversity filmmaker is the need for them to get exposure as a talent, and that’s clearly the case with Gunz,” Jordan added. “He’s fresh and new to town, and should be on someone’s roster.”

Isabel says the Diversity in Talent committee was gratified by the results of the first Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase, and are looking forward to the next one in May. “Our reaction was a feeling of success,” said Isabel. “This is what we stand for - making an impact, helping underrepresented talent get seen, get representation and get work!”

Inclusion in the showcase is limited to the top five directors, as determined by members of AIR. Submissions are open to directors who identify as women, AAPI, Black, BIPOC, Latinx or LGBTQ+, and who are currently independent and not represented by an established commercial production company or post house. 

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Alliance of Independent Representatives - AIR, Fri, 03 Mar 2023 13:59:57 GMT