Future Directors of Studio Features is designed to elevate and polish undiscovered and underrepresented storytellers, poised for the next stage in feature directing. In 2021, a professionally recommended roster of women directors – highly vetted by industry professionals, and each with a strong body of work, distinctive style, and voice, have been selected for the year-long initiative. The fellows will learn from industry advisers, enhance their creative brand, and connect with partners and champions to prepare themselves and their work as anticipated faces of tomorrow.

Meet the 2021 Future Directors of Studio Features

Alexandra Velasco

Cate Carson

Ebony Blanding

Kylie Eaton

Natalie Simpkins

Olia Oparina

Robyn Paris

Susan Dynner

Tiffany Frances

Blackmagic Collective has named nine directors for its inaugural “Future Directors of Studio Features” initiative. The 1-year program is a career accelerator that engages top-level studio executives as “Champions” who advocate for and help participants navigate the path to their first scripted studio feature credit by the end of this year.

Major brands are already championing the participants. Blackmagic Design and Final Draft* have committed to in-kind support spanning equipment, software, and beyond.

Participants were selected from an expansive pool of nominees based on their impressive body of work and numerous recommendations from respected industry professionals.

Alexandra Velasco is an award-winning writer/director from Mexico City working in narrative films, branded content and music videos who applies her background as a visual artist and designer to create art-house horror films with social commentary.


Cate Carson is a detective and military intelligence globetrotter turned award-winning director/writer, whose wanderlust and experiences with villains and heroes, led to a passion for adventure and suspense films – often with unconventional characters, and supported by bold and atmospheric visuals.


Ebony Blanding is a writer/director from Atlanta, Georgia working in narrative, documentary and experimental films whose work seeks to tell intimate stories about Black girls and women coming-of-age on their own terms and Black folks living in the south.


Kylie Eaton, a writer and director of award winning sci-fi and fantasy films, draws on her previous work directing music videos and branded content to create powerful visuals that support complex characters and heart-felt narratives.


Natalie Simpkins is a British/French award-winning writer and director who uses her instincts for human connection and diverse visual storytelling to bring to life sharp comedies, complex thrillers and character-driven dramas: she carries her love of engrossing stories into her work in advertising, educational content and narrative films.


Inspired by the Soviet Propaganda and Siberian Fairy Tales, Olia Oparina writes and directs stories that explore primal emotions and tap into human psych. As a multi-linguist (Russian, Mandarin) with a diverse background, Olia focuses on folk thrillers and psychological dramas that break stereotypes and  entice audiences to see the world’s diversity.


Robyn Paris is an adventurous director/writer of award-winning comedy with an ear for dialogue and strong comic timing. She leans on her background as an improviser to generate organic performances about wounded characters striving to rise above their circumstances – often deriving hilarity and heart from the most awkward of situations.


Susan Dynner (“Punk’s Not Dead”, “Brick”) is a band photographer turned award-winning Director/Producer/Writer and Sundance Fellow who gravitates towards edgy material with complex, flawed characters in both narrative and documentary television and film.


Tiffany Frances is a Taiwanese American writer & director working in commercials, music videos, and narrative film who loves to create character-driven, dramatic storytelling with lyrical visuals.


The “Future Directors of Studio Features” initiative was created to address the real access barriers highly qualified women face in the entertainment industry. To become a Champion or learn more about the women selected for the 2020 program click here.