CPB and PBS Announce First Producers Academy Fellows (September 6, 2001)

Posted by PBS Publicity on

- 20 Producers Awarded Stipends for IFP Market -

Continuing its quest to nurture public television's next generation of creative talent, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) today announced the first five Producers Academy Fellows, selected from more than one hundred applicants. Fellowships were given to talented, dynamic film and videomakers as an opportunity to work with some of public television's best producers. In addition, 20 individuals have been chosen to receive Producers Academy Stipends to attend the IFP (Independent Feature Project) Market. PBS previously awarded stipends to 40 producers to attend the PBS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in May.

Selected after a highly competitive process to receive the Fellowships were Celeste Crenshaw, who will be working at Thirteen/WNET with "EGG the arts show"; Paula Gauthier, who will work with the production team of Oregon Public Broadcasting and ABC Nightline on LIFE 360; R. Shawn Kelly, who will join Lyrick Studios on BARNEY & FRIENDS; Rob Rapley, who will be working on BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE with Public Affairs Television and Thomas Lennon Films; and Van Dora Williams, whose Fellowship is with the ML KING, JR. FILM PROJECT for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and Roja Productions.

Crenshaw, Gauthier, Kelly, Rapley and Williams were selected on the basis of the quality of their previous film and television work, interviews with representatives from CPB, PBS, and the production companies for which they will be working, and their commitment to public television. Fellows will spend an extended period of time, up to one year or more, working as assistants or associate producers on the above-named projects. They will receive salary, benefits, and relocation expenses.

"Through Producer Academy fellowships and stipends, public broadcasting continues its tradition of nurturing new, creative storytellers," said Andy Russell, CPB's senior vice president for media. "We look forward to seeing their talent come to life on public television."

"We're pleased to be able to give this opportunity to these talented individuals," said John Wilson, PBS senior vice president and co-chief programming executive. "The five producers chosen to receive these Producers Academy Fellowships are a strong and diverse group. It will be exciting to watch these creative new voices develop. I'm certain they will contribute to the quality, award-winning programming for which PBS is known."

In addition to those who received Fellowships, the following twenty (20) individuals have been chosen to receive Producers Academy Stipends to attend the IFP Market, which takes place from September 30-October 5, 2001 in New York. Candidates were evaluated by representatives of CPB and PBS and selected based on their work experience, particularly as it applied to public television, their stated professional goals, the recommendations received, and how the recipient, CPB, and PBS judged how attendance at the IFP Market would benefit public television.

The recipients are:

Omonike Akinyemi
Tracy Barry
Adrian Belic
Sheila Bernard
Carol Cassidy
Joy Chong-Stannard
James W. Dovine III
James Fortier
Jose Garcia
Ava Hamilton
Blis Hanousek DeVault
Diane Hendrix
Marc Henry Johnson
Sandra King
Mia Lorenzo
Jim Mendiola
Marlo Poras
Holly Stadtler
Jack Walsh
Elliott Wiley
New York, NY
New York, NY
Vallejo, California
McLean, Virginia
Atlanta, Georgia
KHET, Honolulu, Hawaii
Los Angeles, California
Pacifica, California
Los Angeles, California
Boulder, Colorado
WOUB, Albany, Ohio
Seattle, Washington
New York, NY
NJN, Newark, New Jersey
WLRN, Miami, Florida
San Antonio, Texas
Framingham, Massachusetts
Bethesda, Maryland
San Francisco, California
Baltimore, Maryland

Funding for The Producers Academy is made possible by the PBS member station-contributed Growth Fund, CPB and PBS.

Seeking to strengthen and diversify public television's production talent, the Producers Academy provides station-based and independent producers who are working on or hope to work on projects destined for public television an opportunity to exchange ideas, network, and engage in educational seminars and workshops with public television's most accomplished producers.

The Producers Academy intends to: encourage formal learning opportunities under the guidance of experienced producers; facilitate relationship building in a business based on relationships; and offer exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences both inside and outside the public television environment.

More information about the Producers Academy is posted at www.pbs.org/producers/ and www.cpb.org. Inquiries about the Producers Academy programs may be made to: Cheryl Jones, PBS, 703/739-5150, cjones@pbs.org or Cheryl Head, CPB 202/879-9682, chead@cpb.org.


Celeste Crenshaw is an Emmy Award-winning producer of "Black Women on the Light, Dark Thang," a 1998 public affairs special that featured women from the black Diaspora discussing the effects of colorism on their lives. In addition, she has served as a contributing writer on "Hispanic America 1997: The Year in Review," a nationally syndicated special; and as a producer/reporter on "Kids Count Annual Report," a national video news release that reported the status of children in the United States, using indicators such as education, health, and juvenile crime. She worked as scriptwriter/field reporter for the 1995 and 1996 NBC broadcasts of the "Hispanic Heritage Awards," hosted by Geraldo Rivera and Edward James Olmos and wrote, produced and directed "Aids on Trial: A Case for African American Involvement" (1991), a cable program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. For BET, Crenshaw co-created, produced, wrote and reported for "Screen Scene" and "This Week in Black Entertainment," two half-hour entertainment shows. She was a producer on the 1983 WETA special on hunger in Washington, D.C. called "Hunger: A Capital Shame." She's produced for many corporate clients, as well, from Government Agencies to associations like the AARP to private companies like Giant Foods.

Paula Gauthier has extensive experience in directing, producing and editing film and video for television, educational and nonprofit organizations, corporate clients and independent productions. In the past year, she has worked as an editor for the Nickelodeon series "Blue's Clues." Gauthier has produced, directed, and edited four award-winning short films, which have screened at festivals worldwide. Her first film, "Which Is Scary" (1991), received the Best of Festival Award at the New England Film Festival, and was included in 100 Years of Artists' Cinema, an exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art. Her most recent film, "Steers and Queers," is a documentary on the International Gay Rodeo Association. Gauthier has an MFA in visual art from the University of California, San Diego and a BFA in filmmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art. She has also worked in a number of capacities for the San Diego Jewish Film Festival, Athena Video, Mesa Community College and the University of California, San Diego.

R. Shawn Kelly is producer of WKNO's preschool program "Hello, Mr. Chuck," winner of a Parents' Choice Silver Award in 1999, and a Regional Emmy Award in 2001. In addition, he has served as producer for station imaging and branding elements for WKNO. He also served as audio engineer for a Regional Emmy Award-winning special, "Curtain Up, 75 Years of Theatre Memphis." He has been working at WKNO-TV, Memphis, since 1992.

Rob Rapley is the writer and producer of "Te Durosh" ("To Endure"), a film about a group of Albanian women funded by the Soros Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and ArtsLink. Rapley, who has extensive experience as an audio engineer, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for "Loosely Mozart," a 1997 PBS special featuring Bobby McFerrin, Yo Yo Ma, Marcus Roberts and Chick Corea. He served as researcher, production consultant and mix engineer for "Sunshine Hotel," a documentary by Michael Dominic about a Bowery flophouse. He also restored and remixed "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Disney's "Fantasia 2000." He served as the recording engineer for musical segments of Martin's Scorsese's "Age of Innocence," and has been the audio engineer for many Grammy Award-winning albums such as the 1999 Best Children's Record, "Listen to the Storyteller," featuring Wynton Marsalis and Kate Winslett, and the 1998 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, "Gershwin's World" by Herbie Hancock.

Van Dora Williams, currently employed at WHRO in Norfolk, Virginia, is a 15-year veteran of the journalism industry. While still in college she worked as the news and feature reporter for the weekly Brooklyn-based newspaper The City Sun. After graduating with a B.A. in Media Communications from Hunter College in New York, Williams moved to Virginia to pursue her M.A. in Journalism from Regent University. While there, she worked as a producer for a weekly, national newscast for the Family Channel. Since joining WHRO, Williams has produced award-winning local documentaries, historical series, and environmental special reports. Her most current is the program "Noble Desire," a documentary about the reconciliation conference in Benin, West Africa scheduled for national distribution in Fall, 2001. She is also an active member in her station's outreach initiatives, as well as a member of the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Williams was recently awarded a regional Emmy. Other awards include the national Telly Award, NABJ National Awards, Virginia Association of Broadcasters Station Awards, NETA National awards and local Excel Awards. Williams recently completed an 8-part historical series on the 20th Century in Hampton Roads.


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