March 5, 2012

Keeping it Diverse

Two SCA Alumni Selected for the Fox Writers Intensive

Tina Mabry ’05 and Eric Nazarian ’99 are two very busy filmmakers who graduated from the Production Division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Between the two of them, they have eight IMDb credits as writers, directors, cinematographers, actors and producers, primarily in the indie film world.  This May, they are going to be able to add graduates of the Fox Writers Intensive to their long resumes.

Tina Mabry on the set of Crossover

“I was elated about [getting into the program],” said Mabry. “To have the opportunity to be in the Fox Writers Intensive is a great door into the world of television; it’s a door I’ve wanted to enter for some time now. To some extent, diversity has gotten better thanks to programs such as this and through organizations such as Film Independent and the Tribeca Film Institute.  In the feature realm, you see filmmakers coming up who are diverse in their background and their voice, but when addressing whether or not we’ve gotten to the apex of where we should be in terms of diversity in film and television, we’re moving in the right direction, but we aren’t quite there yet. I think you see that struggle particularly in television directing. Women can, of course, hang with the guys but creating a level playing field is still something we are continuing to strive for. Thankfully, FOX and Film Independent both see this need and continue to elevate and support unique and diverse voices.”

The Fox Writers Intensive is a highly selective writer's initiative, held at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, CA, from February 2012 through May 2012. As opposed to other programs directed at new writers, the program is directed at storytellers who are already underway with their careers.

“They picked ten finalists out of three hundred nominees from Sundance, Film Independent and other

Eric Nazarian on the set of The Blue Hour

cultural and film institutions,” said Nazarian. “They are trying to diversify their talent pool for television and film. There’s a need for more original voices from diverse backgrounds. At FWI and Film Independent, diversity of voices and experience is key to enriching stories for films and television. The industry is in a transitional phase but regardless of however many changes it undergoes hand-in-hand with technology, new and original content will always be the fundamental need. All my favorite films and TV shows were created by maverick filmmakers and writers.

In addition to the fellowship, Mabry recently completed directing the short film Crossover and won the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award for her script County Line. Nazarian is currently working on making his feature Giants that was awarded the Nicholl Fellowship and is writing and producing the sequels to the international hit Mongol with Sergei Bodrov.

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