The program first launched in 2018 and pairs rising female directors with established episodic directors on Shondaland-produced series. Previous winners include Jennifer Morris (2021), who recently finished shadowing on ABC’s “Station 19,” and Tamika Miller (2020), who has since directed two “Station 19” episodes.
Harris, a writer-director from Mississippi, is a graduate of the AFI directing program and has directed 12 short films, premiering several at Outfest, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), NewFest, AFI Fest and the Pan African Film Festival. She was named a finalist for the HBO Short Film Award at ABFF, and her short film “Pens and Pencils” will debut on HBO in spring 2023. Additionally, she has been set to make her TV directing debut on “Chicago PD” in 2023 after joining the NBCULaunch Female Forward Program.
Harris is repped by Heroes and Villains Entertainment.
“As a storytelling company, Shondaland is rooted in uplifting diverse perspectives and telling stories that reflect the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to award this year’s mentorship to Gia-Rayne B. Harris,” says Shondaland’s head of creative production, Tom Verica. “Gia-Rayne is as inspiring as she is talented and we can’t wait to champion her and see where this opportunity takes her.”
“Thank you Shondaland and SeriesFest for this amazing opportunity,” said Harris. “This next step towards my future feels incredibly surreal. Thank you all for believing in me and for reminding me that making great work with great people is entirely attainable. I’m looking forward to learning from and growing with all of you!”
Semifinalists for the mentorship were Marianne Amelinckx, Caitlin Davis, Elaine Del Valle, Winter Dunn, Caroline Friend, Meagan Noel Fulps, Aurora Ferlin, Lorena Gordon and Shayla Racquel. The winner and semifinalists were selected by a panel including both SeriesFest and Shondaland teams.