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All About the Upcoming Women Directors’ Symposium

Three female directors will talk about their work, their past and future projects and their success in working in TV and streaming. HFPA member and moderator K.J. Mathews will welcome Stacey Muhammad, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Zetna Fuentes to the panel.

It is a well-known fact that TV offers women more chances to try their hand at directing than film. These three panelists have made the most out of their opportunities and established themselves as consistent artists behind the camera.

Stacey Muhammad, a New Orleans native, is known for her cinematic approach and distinctive style to storytelling and for creating emotional stories that focus on the characters. She was one of thirteen directors chosen by the Directors Guild of America and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers for the inaugural Commercial Directors’ Diversity Program. She wrote and directed the web series For Colored Boys, Redemption, which caught the eye of veteran Charles S. Dutton: “What a gem of a director has been found in the discovery of Stacey Muhammad. Her series, For Colored Boys, is a marvel of cinematic craft and superb storytelling. The series reminds you of the high-quality shows The Corner and The Wire. Stacey is that good of a director.” High praise from a three-time Emmy winner.

Muhammad got her TV start in the Oprah Winfrey-produced series Queen Sugar and has since gone on to direct episodes of Bel-Air, The Wonder Years, The Best Man: The Final Chapters, Manifest, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Black-ish, Queens, Harlem, Guilty Party, Love Life and First Wives Club. Her 19 TV credits have led to film: Muhammad is in development for her first feature titled The Return.

With 66 acting and 36 directing credits so far, Salli Richardson-Whitfield still balances both jobs, but her transition behind the camera began when she made a short film (Grace) in 2011. The work stuck and she followed it up with two more shorts and two episodes of Eureka. Like fellow panelist Stacey Muhammad, she worked on Queen Sugar, directing back-to-back episodes in the series’ first season, where her husband Dondre Whitfield also starred as a series regular. As a director she has proven to be extremely versatile, guiding such varied genres as the John Legend-produced Underground, Scandal, Lethal Weapon, Chicago Med, Star, Black-ish, The Punisher, Shadowhunters, American Gods, Dear White People, The Gilded Age and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

For her work on Luke Gage, she was nominated for a NAACP Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series. As an actor, she has appeared in more than 20 films, including opposite Denzel Washington in Antwone Fisher and Samuel L. Jackson in The Great White Hype.

Salli got her start directing on shows such as Eureka, Queen Sugar, and Luke Cage, she now serves as Executive Producer on the Julian Fellowes‘ HBO series The Gilded Age as well as Executive Producer and director on the Adam McKay HBO series’ Winning Time. She has feature films in development at Universal and Village Road Show.

Just like the two other panelists, Zetna Fuentes has proven adept at directing a variety of genres. Born and raised in the Bronx, she started out as an off-Broadway stage director before getting behind the camera. Her credits include several successful TV-hits: Bosch: Legacy, Cursed, The Girl from Plainville, The Great, The Old Man, Snowfall, The Deuce, Super Pumped, Ray Donovan, Shameless, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. She also directed the widely hailed episode “Miguel” during the final season of This Is Us.

Fuentes earned multiple Daytime Emmy-, NAACP and Image Award nominations and most recently directed and executive produced episodes of the highly anticipated upcoming series Black Cake, an adaptation of the New York Times Bestseller. And she, too, is about to make her first feature film: based on Lilliam Rivera’s award-winning novel, Never Look Back, it will star Eugenio Derbez.

The Women Directors’ Symposium 2023, presented by Golden Globes will take place this coming Sunday, March 19, at 10 am PT/1 pm ET, and you can watch right HERE.