Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
NBCU LAUNCH Unveils 2022-23 Class of Landmark Scripted Directors Programs
Universal City, CA
NBCU LAUNCH, the umbrella brand that houses the comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for the company’s television portfolio, including the NBCU Entertainment Networks and Universal Studio Group, has unveiled the 2022-23 class of its landmark scripted directors programs, NBCU LAUNCH TV Directors Program and Female Forward.
This year’s class includes directors who will helm a Telemundo scripted series as a new combined effort between NBCU LAUNCH and Telemundo’s Mujeres Imparables (Unstoppable Women), an award-winning company-wide initiative that seeks to champion and support Latina advancement in all walks of life. This is part of NBCU’s efforts to increase the number of experienced Hispanic female directors in scripted television.
The 2022-23 class and the NBCU shows they will direct are: Tayo Amos (“Chicago Fire”), Melanie D’Andrea (Telemundo Global Studios-produced series), Kryzz Gautier (Telemundo Global Studios-produced series), Saray Guidetti (“The Blacklist”), Gia-Rayne Harris (“Chicago P.D.”), Elisabeth Rohm (“Law & Order”) and Nicole Taylor-Roberts (“Chicago Med”).
The NBCU LAUNCH TV Directors Program and Female Forward are NBCU’s groundbreaking scripted directing initiatives created to systemically increase the number of experienced directors of underrepresented backgrounds, with Female Forward specifically focusing on increasing representation of women in the directors’ chair. Together they are the first scripted directing initiatives in the television industry to guarantee that participants will helm at least one episode by the culmination of the program.
During the 2022-23 program, veteran TV directors Mary Lou Belli and Bethany Rooney will lead the new class through curated workshops to prepare them to shadow and gain the necessary tools for their assignments. Additionally, NBCU LAUNCH will help participants build their professional networks in order to create a successful career in episodic television directing.
On the heels of unveiling the new class, NBCU LAUNCH is also opening submissions for the 2023-24 class of the TV Directors Program and Female Forward on Nov. 15 on the NBCU LAUNCH site. Submissions will close on Dec. 15.
Tayo Amos (“Chicago Fire”)
Tayo Amos is a Nigerian-American filmmaker whose work has been screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Urbanworld. Her short films “Magnolia Bloom” and “On the Clock” have streamed on Peacock and Amazon Prime, respectively. Most recently, the USC graduate was awarded a blind script deal with NBCUniversal as part of NBCU and Target’s Scene in Color Film Series that spotlights BIPOC filmmakers. Amos is repped by CAA and Underground Films.
Melanie D’andrea (Telemundo Global Studios)
Director and filmmaker Melanie D’Andrea tells stories about social issues through magical realism, using the blurred lines between reality and fantasy to show the power in each of us and that we’re all more alike than different. Born in Venezuela and raised in South Florida, D’Andrea is a Ryan Murphy Half Initiative fellow and a two-time DGA Award recipient for their films “South Arcadia St.” and “Stand.” She is currently directing a feature documentary and producing “The Disruptors,” a showcase of TV writers of color who are trans, nonbinary, disabled and undocumented or formerly undocumented. They are currently seeking representation.
Kryzz Gautier (Telemundo Global Studios)
Kryzz Gautier is a queer Afro-Latina writer-director born and raised in the Dominican Republic. After immigrating to the United States and earning her bachelor’s degree in directing narrative fiction at Emerson College, she spent over five years living as an undocumented immigrant. Gautier injects her distinctive intersectional background into complex character-driven dramas and novel sci-fi narratives. Since becoming a permanent resident of the U.S., she has written on HBO Max’s “Gordita Chronicles,” is a writer/creative consultant on the upcoming installment of 2K Games’ acclaimed franchise “Bioshock” and her feature film directorial debut, “Wheels Come Off,” landed on the 2021 Black List. She has been a fellow in several prestigious programs, including Ryan Murphy's “Half Initiative,” Joey Soloway's “Disruptors” and the Sundance Institute. She is repped by CAA and Rain.
Saray Guidetti (“The Blacklist”)
Saray Guidetti is a writer, director and producer whose work spans across feature films, documentaries, television and web series. She recently produced the feature film “Amor en 266 Millas” that premiered in theatres in June and her short action film, “Lady Justice,” is currently being developed into a feature film. Guidetti’s work has also been featured at the Los Angeles Film Festival and San Francisco Latino Film Festival. Most recently, she served as an associate producer on The CW’s “Supergirl” and HBO Max’s pilot “Dead Boy Detectives” as well as a supervising producer on HBO Max’s documentary “Love, Lizzo.” She is repped by Inclusion Management.
Gia-Rayne Harris (“Chicago P.D.”)
Writer-director Gia-Rayne Harris features womxn and people of color in her storytelling and has shaped her career as a love letter to the women who raised her. A graduate of AFI’s Directing Program, she has directed 12 short films that have screened at various festivals, including Outfest, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), NewFest and the Pan African Film Festival. In June, Harris was named a finalist for the HBO Short Film Award at ABFF and her short film “Pens and Pencils” was acquired by HBO and will premiere on the platform next spring. She was also part of the New York Neo Futurists, where she wrote, directed, performed in and premiered more than 70 of her own short plays. Harris is repped by Heroes and Villains Entertainment.
Elisabeth Rohm (“Law & Order”)
Director Elisabeth Rohm’s third feature, “Girl in Room 13,” starring Anne Heche, premiered on Lifetime in 2022. The first two films she directed – “Switched Before Birth” starring Justina Machado and “Girl in the Basement” with Judd Nelson – received critical acclaim when they debuted on Lifetime. Rohm is also an Emmy Award-nominated actress for her starring role on “Law & Order.” She’s also known for her work on “Heroes” and “Jane the Virgin,” among many others. Rohm won a SAG Award for Best Ensemble for David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” and later reunited with him on “Joy.” She has a long list of film credits, including “Bombshell” and Ted Melfi’s “The Starling.” Rohm is repped by Buchwald.
Nicole Taylor-Roberts (“Chicago Med”)
Nicole Taylor-Roberts is a director, screenwriter and Emmy Award-nominated producer. The Baltimore native is passionate about amplifying authentic portrayals of female characters and has an affinity for drama, action and thrillers. She directed “Go to Bed, Raymond!” for season three of 20th Digital Studio’s “Bite Size Halloween” on Hulu. She was one of four female writer-directors behind season one of BET HER’S original series, “The Waiting Room.” Taylor-Roberts is also a commercial director of well-known brand campaigns. Her award-winning shorts ran in major festivals, from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to Cannes, and have aired on HBO and Paramount+. The Columbia University MFA Film alum was a fellow in Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative, AFI Directing Workshop for Women, Sony Television Diverse Directors Program, Almanack Screenwriters and was featured in a FREE THE WORK Creator Spotlight. She is managed by Range Media Partners.