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WCCDP Finalist Judges & Sponsors Announcement

Updated: Aug 13

On June 23rd, 2020, we launched and opened applications for our inaugural Women of Color Commercial Directing Program (WCCDP). Through this program, one female director of color will have her spec script funded and produced while receiving one-on-one directorial mentorship from Paxeros’ co-founders Chelsea Bo and Sean Drummond, as well as, various industry professionals.


With applications now closed, as of July 31st, 2020 at Midnight, and 100+ applications received, we’re moving into Phase Two of the program.


“I’m blown away by the diverse group of talented women who have submitted to our program. Seeing the hard work and thoughtful submissions has lit my heart on fire and has brought me hope that together we can change this industry! These women have stories to tell and it will truly be an honor to bring one of them to fruition.” - Chelsea Bo, Co-founder + Director at Paxeros


Through collaboration with Tamika Lamison, Program Director at CDDP - Commercial Directors Diversity Program, as well as Dana Astrow and Lisa Sabatino at ARC, we have secured a distinguished panel of Finalist Judges. The finalist panel will come in after the 100+ applicants have gone through a pre-screening phase where they will be narrowed down to 25 semi-finalists and then down to 10 finalists. From there, these judges will play a crucial role in choosing the final winning director. In addition to their role as a finalist judge, many of these professionals will be providing one-on-one virtual mentorship to the winning WCCDP fellow, via video chat.


Without further ado, here is the lineup of WCCDP Finalist Panel Judges!



Dana Astrow

Founder, ARC


Dana Astrow has been influencing the landscape of creativity in the brand marketing and advertising/film production community since her early beginnings in the industry. Since launching ARC, Dana has successfully and nearly single-handedly filled a definitive niche as a creative recruiter who connects the makers behind some of the most effective top-level content being produced today.


Dana got her start in New York City where she established herself as a leading sales rep for one of the most competitive commercial production communities across the globe. Her presence as a respected marketing/talent manager and rep was marked by her co-ownership of the independent repping firm, Astrow-Ziegler, and the success of her subsequent solo venture, AstrowGirl.


Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2005, Dana recognized a gap in the market and drew upon her eye for identifying talent and her passion for fostering long-lasting relationships, combining this unique toolset to launch ARC. ARC broadened its reach in 2012, establishing offices in New York with the addition of Sally Coonan at the East Coast helm.



Anton Cropper

Television Director (IMDb)


Anton currently works as Executive Producer on ABC’s hit series STUMPTOWN starring Cobie Smulders and the Spectrum Original/Fox TV hit series L.A.’S FINEST starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union. He also recently Executive Produced and Directed the MIXED-ISH pilot launching it to series. His outstanding directing work includes (multiple) episodes from SUITS, BLACK-ISH, L.A.’s FINEST, JESSICA JONES, FUTREMAN, and THE BLACKLIST just to name a few. Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Anton moved to Los Angeles at the age of five. As a senior in high school, he began his career working as a Production Assistant on music videos during weekends. Anton quickly became one of the top First Assistant Directors in the music video industry while working towards a degree in Political Science at CSUDH. Anton has also been nominated for 5 NAACP Image Awards, winning Outstanding Director, Comedy Series for the BLACK-ISH episode “Juneteenth”. He has also received a DGA award for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Programming. After mastering music videos and tour managing numerous music acts through the U.S. and Europe, Anton started his career over as a Production Assistant with TOLLIN / ROBBINS PRODUCTIONS in order to break into Television and Feature Films. With the help of Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin, he became a member of the DGA. Starting off as an Assistant Director on shows such as ARLISS, THE BROTHERS GARCIA, SIX FEET UNDER, POPULAR, BOSTON LEGAL, and MONK gave Anton the opportunity to work with top directors in television, while working towards his own goal of directing.


During the 5th season of MONK, Randy Zisk (Executive Producer/Director) gave Anton his opportunity, and Anton went on to direct multiple episodes of Monk and earn the position of Associate Producer.


Anton lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.



Carol Dunn

Executive Producer, Human Worldwide


As West Coast Executive Producer of award-winning music and sound production studio, Human, Carol leads the creative partnerships for commercials, film and TV, sound design and final mix. Carol develops projects and oversees audio production for their staff of 15 composers.


Her music career stretches over 25 years which began on the label side, producing such soundtracks as Boogie Nights, Baz Lurhmann’s Romero + Juliet, Bulworth and Office Space to name a few. She has always seen music as another character in the film. This passion for marrying music to film naturally brought her to the audio post side of commercial making where her eyes and ears have been put to great use producing for hundreds of brands including Doritos, Comcast, Google, Samsung, Nike, Crate & Barrel, BMW, Adidas and Coca Cola.


When Carol is not overseeing production, she’s reading Murakami and looking to the sky for 2 moons.



Iain Nevill

Freelance Creative Director + Copywriter


Iain is a Creative Director with over 15 years’ experience in the advertising industry. Born in Botswana, he grew up in Zambia before moving to Glasgow, Scotland. His career then took him to some of the industry’s most creative hot shops in Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam, where he now lives. He’s helped shape some of the world’s most iconic brands such as Adidas, Google, T-Mobile, AT&T, IKEA, BMW, and Coca-Cola, and his work has been recognized at the highest level at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Midway through his career, Iain also founded an independent culture, fashion and arts magazine, which was distributed throughout the UK in American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.



John Nguyen

Executive Producer, Hecho Studios


Executive Producer, John Nguyen has over 15 years of commercial production experience working with international award-winning production companies and agencies.


Overseeing a variety of teams across live action, visual effects, editorial, and post-production, John is responsible for all aspects of multifaceted productions.  At Hecho Studios, John works from conception through execution to produce commercials, digital content systems, and documentaries for all platforms, while also helping to produce global campaigns for a variety of clients.

If he’s not on a production, John can be found in the trees somewhere looking for a small white ball.





Cathleen O'Conor Stern

Partner & Executive Producer, Reverie Content


Cathleen O'Conor Stern co-founded Reverie Content in 2019 with Rich Pring. Based in Los Angeles, the company represents a diverse roster of filmmakers to create content with a strategic lens for agencies and brands. Cathleen has been managing filmmakers and producing commercials as an executive producer since 2008.


Prior to 2008, Cathleen worked her way up through the ranks of commercial production on set and in the production office by starting her career at Biscuit Filmworks where her love for working with directors began. She moved on to gain sales experience at In House before finding a home as a Partner and Executive producer at the Paranoid US in 2008 where she worked with an awarding winning roster of directors. While there, she found her passion for building client relationships with advertising agencies and furthering the director’s breadth and careers. Some notable brands that O’Conor Stern has worked with include Coca-Cola, Amazon, Nike, LG, Nissan, Jeep, McDonald’s, Target, Best buy, and TED.



Kamila Prokop

Managing Director, division7


Kamila Prokop is Managing Director of division7, a boutique production company under SMUGGLER. Prior to running d7, Kamila was the co-founder of the management firm, Maven Label, representing directors, editors, animators, and musicians for advertising and branded content.





Kate and Katy Rhamey

Co-Directors / Co-Founders, KR Squared Productions


Kate and Katy Rhamey are a mother/daughter writing, directing, producing duo, and co-founders of KR Squared Productions. Their film Fuzzy Spark, a branded short made for Lionsgate to promote the film Wonder, won a 2018 Digiday Award. In addition, they received Best Original Content at The Tongies for The CW fantasy teaser, Cupid’s Match, and won the 2018 Tongaler of the Year Award, representing Tongal’s best production company.


But the honors don’t stop there. The team was Women in Film Fund Finalists, Jury Award winners with their first feature film; plus, Kate is a Hollywood Foreign Press Fellow and Caucus Foundation Nominee. They’ve sold concepts to the likes of Procter & Gamble, Miller Coors, and Mastercard; they’ve made branded shorts for Disney and Johnson & Johnson; digital content for Bayer, Nestle, and Expedia. And as for TV, KR Squared shot two national spots for Abbott Nutrition and a spot for Credit Sesame.



Lisa Sabatino

Recruiter + Consultant, ARC


Lisa Sabatino Lange spent the first 12 years of her career as a dedicated in-house rep. Ten of those years were spent with Anonymous Content and its partners at Iconoclast, Somesuch, and Serial Pictures. There, she honed her personalized, strategy-focused approach to talent management and sales outreach. In 2016, she embarked on a new beginning with the new launch of her own Los Angeles-based sales and talent management firm, Ready Set, working with clients such as Stink, Pulse Films, Final Cut, Sibling Rivalry and Ring the Alarm.


Lisa has now made the transition over to recruiting and consulting with the formidable women of ARC where she continues to connect talented people and deliver a personal and thoughtful experience for her clients.



Erin Sullivan

Co-Founder & Partner, The Poolhouse


Erin Sullivan is recognized for having over 18 years of experience in advertising and entertainment marketing as an EP and Consultant on the executive level. The majority of the work she has produced has featured A+ level talent actors, sports figures and musicians. Sullivan’s work has been recognized with multiple awards from the Cannes advertising festival, Clios, and Emmys.



Brittney Walker

Director of Business Development, Imaginary Forces


Brittney, Director of Business Development at Imaginary Forces is a highly experienced new business strategist, with an excellent track record in sales. Having previously worked at VFX and Creative Studio, Framestore, she is an all-rounder she focused on sales for Live Action, Emerging Technology, VFX, Design and Rides with a wide client base, including Google, Facebook, Apple, HP, Activision, and Intel.



In addition to our humbling panel of judges, two production sponsors have graciously come on board to provide production support for the winning director’s spec script – AbelCine and SirReel.


AbelCine has a full-service camera rental department with offices in Burbank, CA and Brooklyn, NY - they are a leading provider of products and services to the production, broadcast and new media industries.


SirReel Studio Rentals has a full-service rental department with industry-leading vehicles, lighting, and grip equipment - they are based in the Sun Valley, CA and Burbank, CA and offer a broad variety of services and equipment to production teams.


“It’s moments like these that make this program really exciting. We’re honored to create an opportunity where we are able to share our resources and connections with an up-and-coming director. There’s a blatant catch-22 restricting new and diverse voices entering the advertising industry. We hope this program serves as a way to break down that barrier for one director at a time.” - Sean Drummond, Co-founder + Executive Producer at Paxeros


The winning director of our inaugural Women of Color Commercial Directing Program will be announced on August 31st, 2020. Click here to learn more about what we're hoping to accomplish through WCCDP!