Sonia Bhalla
DGA Member

A Syracuse University graduate and Philadelphia native, Sonia moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for storytelling. As an Assistant Director, she has worked on numerous films and television shows alongside esteemed directors such as M. Night Shyamalan, Ron Howard, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jason Reitman, Joe Russo, and Ken Kwapis. Sonia has been nominated twice by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for her work on the feature films The Sixth Sense and Up in the Air. In 2011, Sonia wrote, directed and produced a television comedy spec pilot, The Flipside, where sketch comedy is spiced with Bollywood dance. Sonia frequently speaks on various industry panels and presently serves as a board member for Pratham, a non-profit organization which provides quality education to underprivileged children of India.

Clayton Cogswell

A Los Angeles native, Clayton helped redefine the MTV brand by helming progressive television programs such as My Life As Liz, Chelsea Settles, and The Paper. Finding success working across genres, he's also produced shows with networks such as A&E (Storage Wars) and DiGa Vision Entertainment. On the film front, he most recently directed, shot and edited the award-winning web hit Good Cops, and is currently directing the western/comedy series Tumbleweed for Machinima. Clayton earned his degree in acting at the University of Illinois with further studies at Regents College in London and the Sanford Meisner Center in Hollywood. After his graduate filmmaking work at the New York Film Academy, he directed and shot over 20 short films: A Word Problem won the "Audience Award" at the nationwide Had To Be Made Film Festival, and his horror short Highway 213 received "Official Selection" at both the Screamfest Film Festival and at the Shriekfest Film Festival.

Ryan Coogler

Ryan is a 26-year-old filmmaker from the East Bay Area. He spent most of his life dodging tackles on the football field earning a football scholarship to Sacramento State, where he started at wide receiver while majoring in Finance. After his undergraduate studies, Ryan was accepted to the University of Southern California’s (USC) School of Cinematic Arts program, where he wrote and directed several award-winning short films en route to earning an MFA in Film and Television Production in 2011. His feature length screenplay Fruitvale, based on the 2009 BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant in Oakland, was recently selected for the 2012 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. When he’s not writing or directing, Ryan works as a youth guidance counselor at Juvenile Hall in San Francisco.

Vince Duque
DGA Member

Vince launched his directing career in 2008 by directing a rendition of Patrick Marber’s stage play Closer. Since that production, he has directed music videos, sketches and, most recently, the short film Take a Mulligan, based on David Ives' play Sure Thing, which was well received at several film festivals. Born in Flushing, NY and raised in Honolulu, HI and Alhambra, CA, Vince received his Economics degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He later served as an Army officer stationed in Germany. When he returned to Los Angeles, Vince pursued his studies in production management via the DGA Training Program. Since then, he has assistant-directed (AD) on thousands of hours of episodic television including Heroes, Party of Five, X-Files, The Practice and 7th Heaven. Vince's most recent role was 1st AD on the final season of House M.D. In addition to his AD work, Vince associate produced the Pearl Jam rock documentary Malfunkshun, which screened at the Slamdance Film Fest, AFI Music Fest and Seattle Film Fest. He has served on several DGA committees and as a Trustee for the DGA Training Program. Vince is currently developing TV, feature and stage projects to direct under his production company, Alpha Company.

Rob J. Greenlea

Rob began his career in entertainment as a child actor/singer in regional theater, commercials and educational television. He attended the Cincinnati School of Creative and Performing Arts, Webster University's Theater Conservatory and graduated from the New York Center for Media Arts. Rob worked several years as a photographer/videographer in corporate film and video, then went on to work as a Gaffer and Key Grip on numerous feature films and television productions such as Tales from the Crypt, Caught Up and Grey's Anatomy. Throughout his career he has directed short films, videos, and PSAs. Rob also directed, wrote and starred in the short film, The Cloth, which was screened at the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con Film Festival.

Ron Jacobs

Having directed television commercials for over 10 years, Ron Jacobs transitioned to direct the narrative drama, En Tus Manos (In Your Hands) in 2010. Both Ron and En Tus Manos have received critical acclaim – winning the Beverly Hills Film Festival for Best Short Film, and the Best Director Award at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Ron started his career as an ad agency producer but soon realized his passion for production. With his background as a director, producer and cinematographer, Ron is clearly knowledgeable about the entire production process. Most recently, Ron has found a niche as a spot director specializing in celebrity-based, healthcare advertising and has directed Chris Noth, Billy Ray Cyrus, Natalie Cole, Gregg Allman and Danica Patrick in highly successful awareness campaigns. He was born and raised in New York City, and hopes to visit his roots in Lebanon one day in the near future.

Aundre Johnson
DGA Member

Aundre studied film production at Chapman University in Orange, CA where he directed the short film, Hungry Please Help, which tells a chance story of deception, charity and redemption without a single word being uttered on- screen. The overwhelmingly positive response to the film gave Aundre the impetus to continue his studies abroad at the International College de Cannes and the Richmond American International University in London. After graduation, Aundre worked in all aspects of production, including such projects as the Fox series 24 and filming behind-the-scenes footage for the feature Dark Blue. His Dark Blue experience led him to producing DVD extras for several Fox-produced shows including Modern Family. Additionally, Aundre continued working on his own productions completing 10 short films which have screened in many film festivals, receiving critical and audience acclaim. His most recent short film, The Third Rule, premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and features Academy Award®-winning actor, Anthony Hopkins, along with Jason Biggs, Joel David Moore and Josh Hutcherson. In December of 2011, Aundre directed his first TV episode of ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23.

Regina King

A native of Los Angeles, Regina has been consistently working in the entertainment industry as an actress for 27 years. In 2001, Regina decided to work behind the scenes producing the movie Truth Be Told, in which she starred alongside with Blair Underwood and Jacob Vargas. The experience furthered Regina’s desire to work behind the lens. In 2007, she and her sister, who was working as a talent agent, decided to start a production company. Regina directed her first short for IFC’s Reebok Framed series, starring Vince Young. She went on to write and direct music videos for R&B artists Jaheim and Kelly Price. She is currently prepping to direct her first feature, Let The Church Say Amen, with BET networks.

Maxine Lapiduss

Maxine has written for and produced some of the greatest ABC sitcoms of all time – including the final season of Ellen, Roseanne, Home Improvement and Dharma and Greg, to name a few. In addition to her comedy writing career, Maxine still performs regularly in clubs around Los Angeles as a standup and singer, directs live theatre, and writes music and lyrics for theatrical productions. She brought together many of these skills in her directorial debut, Scared About Life Without Oprah, a comedy-music video affectionately mocking the icon, as she prepared to retire The Oprah Winfrey Show. With a cameo by Jane Lynch, the video was prominently featured and reviewed in USA Today, TV Guide, and Huffington Post, as well as many other media outlets. Maxine continues to write sitcoms, having just completed a pilot for TV Land; and, as a consultant for Sony International, she is working in L.A. and Moscow adapting hit American TV shows for Russian audiences. Maxine is a native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of the CMU Drama School.

Lily Mariye

Lily’s feature writing and directorial debut, Model Minority, received three awards for its World Premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, including Special Jury Award for Outstanding Directing. Her first award-winning short film, The Shangri-La Cafe, has screened in over 25 film festivals around the world, including the BBC British Short, Seattle International and Palm Springs Short – winning Best Short Film at Moondance, and Best Screenplay at Brussels Independent. Lily was named one of PBS’ Up and Coming Filmmakers of Color and received the Filmmaker of the Year Award from the National Organization for Women. Best known for her 15 seasons in the role of nurse Lily Jarvik on the award-winning TV series, ER, Lily has “shadowed” her directing mentors, Jonathan Kaplan and Lesli Linka Glatter, on episodes of ER, West Wing and Gilmore Girls. Born in Las Vegas, Lily graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Theatre and has appeared in many films such as Extraordinary Measures, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Shadow and The Doctor, and guest-starred in over 25 TV shows including Shameless and Ally McBeal. She is also an award-winning theatre actress, performing in New York, Los Angeles and other regional theatres around the country.

David Martin-Porras

Born in Salamanca, Spain, David studied in Barcelona and worked in Madrid for Pedro Almodovar’s Production Company, El Deseo. In 2010 David graduated from the Directing Program at UCLA Film School where he wrote and directed several award-winning short films: The Breakfast – starring Emmy® Award- winning actress, Cherry Jones; Ida y Vuelta (Round Trip) – selected as a National Finalist for the Student Academy Awards '09; and La Viuda (The Widow) – DGA Student Latino Award winner in 2010. David's first feature film, Stealing Summers, stars James Jagger, son of legendary Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, and Sophie Auster, daughter American novelist Paul Auster. He is currently working on the development of his next feature film: A Texas Story.

Kimberly McCullough

Kimberly’s first job, came at the age of six, in the cult classic Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, as a featured break-dancer. In August of 1985, she originated the role of Robin Scorpio on the daytime soap opera, General Hospital, which earned Kimberly six Daytime Emmy® nominations and two wins. The experience fed her interest in what happens behind the scenes and she spent many hours in the “booth” with the producers, writers, and editors receiving hands-on experience in production and directing. In 1996, Kimberly left General Hospital to attend NYU Film School and went on to write and direct two short films: Life After and Lil Star. While working as an actress on The Shield and Once and Again, Kimberly shadowed directors Ed Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz and Clark Johnson. She returned to General Hospital in 2005 and later starred in the ABC primetime spin-off, General Hospital: Night Shift (2007), playing her daytime and nighttime roles simultaneously. In June, 2010, Kimberly was one of eight women selected to participate in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, where she wrote and directed the dark comedy, Nice Guys Finish Last. The film won the AFI Nancy Malone award and has been accepted into 12 festivals worldwide, including LA Comedy Fest and Shockfest, where Kimberly received the “Best Director” award. Kimberly left General Hospital in February, 2012 to pursue directing full-time.

Anne Renton

Anne graduated from Sydney University in Australia with a B.S. in Physiotherapy. Her passion for the healing arts led her to travel the world studying many forms of complementary medicine, psychology and spirituality. During that time she also studied extensively as an actor and voice-over artist and worked in independent film and television. After actively pursuing courses at UCLA and the One on One Film Institute, Anne turned her focus to directing and producing – using the awareness she gained in the healing profession as the foundation for how she worked. In 2007, Anne directed and produced the award- winning short film Love is Love, starring Emmy® winner Jane Lynch. The Perfect Family, starring Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel, Jason Ritter and Richard Chamberlain, was Anne’s first feature film. It premiered to critical acclaim for Kathleen Turner’s performance at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and had its U.S. theatrical release in May 2012. With her company Certainty Films, Anne is part of a team developing The Kindness of Strangers for her next directing project.

Velvet Andrews Smith
DGA Member

Velvet moved from Seattle to Los Angeles in 1998 when she was accepted into the DGA Assistant Directors Training Program. She began her career working on The X-Files, Melrose Place, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and films such as The X-Men and The Haunting. After joining the Directors Guild in 2000, Velvet worked as an assistant director on many episodic TV shows, including Joan of Arcadia, Ally McBeal, and Robbery Homicide Division. She also worked on films such as Mission Impossible III, Crank, and Next. In 2005, Velvet started writing and directing her own short films beginning with her action/drama, Two-Eleven, which played at numerous film festivals. In 2010, the American Film Institute selected Velvet for the Directing Workshop for Women for which she wrote and directed her latest film, Ripple Effect. The film garnered critical acclaim at the Vancouver International Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest and received a Special Jury Remi Award at Worldfest Houston. Ripple Effect continues to screen at festivals.

Nzingha Stewart

After attending NYU’s Gallatin School majoring in Philosophy, Nzingha found her true passion as a filmmaker and began directing music videos for artists such as Joss Stone, Eve, Common, The Roots, Jay-Z and 50 Cent. An equally in-demand commercial director, she has also filmed clips for such corporations as ESPN, McDonalds, and Coors Light. She has recently crossed over into the world of features and television as Executive Producer on the Lionsgate feature film For Colored Girls. She has also written The 10th Date, a pilot she sold to NBC; The Vow for Edmonds Entertainment and Sony TV which she is also attached to direct. Additionally, she is working with Oscar®-winning producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan on a TV movie, working on a screenplay with Wendy Finerman Productions and is currently writing the pilot for a half- hour sitcom with Lionsgate TV.

Jude Weng

Jude is a showrunner and director who has produced, written, and/or directed over 300 hours of television. Having developed a particular expertise in multi-camera competition game show formats, she has credits that include the first season of Survivor (CBS) and the provocative social experiment Black White (FX) – both Emmy® Award-winners. As a format designer for the past decade, Jude has created original show concepts for clients as diverse as broadcast networks, global brands, and A-list producers like Joel Silver and Nigel Lythgoe. Jude is the daughter of a Taiwanese intelligence officer who opened a Chinese-American diner in San Francisco’s Castro district. She combines that unique life experience with a passion for storytelling, endless wonder and curiosity, and an exuberant pursuit for technical and creative excellence.