2017 Student Open House at the DGA

2017 Student Open House at the DGA

April 22, 2017 A Special Projects Committee Event

On April 22, the DGA's Special Projects Academic Subcommittee presented Framing Your Future, a Student Open House in the Guild’s Los Angeles theater complex. The open house and networking lunch were designed to give Southern California film school students the opportunity to get valuable career information from working directors.

The morning kicked off with a welcome message from DGA Special Projects Committee Chair Jeremy Kagan (SHOT), who spoke more about the Guild and its mission. Kagan then turned things over to DGA Special Projects Academic Subcommittee Chair Randal Kleiser (Defrost), who served as moderator of a panel discussion with DGA Director-members Jon Cassar (24), Nisha Ganatra (Better Things), Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) and Todd Phillips (The Hangover). The panelists covered subjects such as their early careers and formative experiences, and how they got to where they are today.

Afterwards, the students were able to speak with the panelists during a Q&A session and learn more about the Guild and some of its associates via exhibit tables in the DGA lobby.


About the Panelists:

2017 Student Open House at the DGAJon Cassar
A DGA member since 1994, Cassar served as Director and Executive Producer for eight seasons of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning drama 24. He also served as Director and Executive Producer of the eight-hour Emmy-nominated mini-series The Kennedys and its sequel After Camelot. Other directing credits include the feature films Forsaken and When the Bough Breaks; and episodes of television shows such as Criminal Minds, Dead Zone, Forever Knight, Fringe, La Femme Nikita, Profiler, and Terra Nova. Cassar is a graduate of the Radio and Television Broadcasting program of Algonquin College, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and received the 2011 Premier’s Award for Creative Arts and Design.


Commanders-in-Chief: Directors Take the Helm During ElectionsNisha Ganatra
Ganatra is an Emmy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning Director and Producer. Her debut feature, Chutney Popcorn, won the Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Best Feature Film Award at Outfest Los Angeles. She recently served as Director and Co-Executive Producer for Better Things and the first season of You Me Her, and as Director and Consulting Producer for Transparent. Other directing credits include episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Girls, The Mindy Project, Mr. Robot, Red Oaks and Shameless. A DGA member since 2007, Ganatra has been presented with Women In Film’s Original Vision Award and was selected as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s Indie Filmmakers to watch.


Commanders-in-Chief: Directors Take the Helm During ElectionsMichelle MacLaren
MacLaren's most recent credits include serving as Director/Executive Producer of HBO’s upcoming series The Deuce, Director/Executive Producer on AMC’s Breaking Bad, Director on HBO’s Westworld, Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, and AMC’s Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead. In her capacity as one of the Executive Producers on Breaking Bad, she has received two Emmys, a Golden Globe, two PGA awards, a Peabody, as well as several other nominations including two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series. A DGA member since 1992, MacLaren currently sits on the DGA’s Television Creative Rights Committee and mentors through the Sundance Women in Film program.


Commanders-in-Chief: Directors Take the Helm During ElectionsTodd Phillips
Phillips began his career in documentary filmmaking. As a film student at New York University, he made Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies, which was theatrically released in 1994 and became the highest grossing student film of its time. Phillips has written, directed and produced cult classic comedies like Old School, Road Trip, School for Scoundrels and Due Date. His 2009 blockbuster hit comedy The Hangover, won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. He also wrote and directed the sequels, The Hangover Part II and The Hangover Part III; and the comedic drama, War Dogs. Phillips has been a DGA member since 1998.


Commanders-in-Chief: Directors Take the Helm During ElectionsRandal Kleiser (moderator)
Kleiser wrote and directed the 360-degree virtual reality series Defrost. His 70mm 3D featurette Honey, I Shrunk the Audience ran for over a decade at the Disney Parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo and Paris. His other directing credits include the feature films Grease; The Boy in the Plastic Bubble; The Blue Lagoon; Summer Lovers; Flight of the Navigator; White Fang; Big Top Pee-wee; Honey, I Blew Up the Kid; North Shore and the 1996 AIDS drama It’s My Party. Kleiser serves on the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is an alternate on the DGA’s Western Directors Council and National Board, as well as its Special Projects Committee where he chairs the Academic Subcommittee and Digital Day Subcommittee. He has been a DGA member since 1974.

About the Committee:

Special Projects is the educational and cultural arm of the Directors Guild of America. It provides opportunities for creative exchange with programs for members and industry colleagues to celebrate the history and achievements of its members, advance their professional skills, and prepare them for the technological changes of the future. The Special Projects Committee is chaired by Jeremy Kagan. The Committee Members are Jon Amiel, Kathryn Bigelow, Shawn Levy, Jim Drake, Victoria Hochberg, Randal Kleiser, David Nutter, Alexander Payne, Barbara Roche, Oz Scott, Arthur Allan Seidelman, Christina Stevens, Ondi Timoner, Chuck Workman, and Susan Zwerman.

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