Alliance of Independent Representatives Announces Winners of Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase

The Alliance of Independent Representatives (AIR) is proud to announce the winners of its 3rd Annual Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase, sponsored by Simian. This year, the showcase received over 60 submissions from talented directors across the United States, all vying for an opportunity to secure commercial representation and connect with top advertising professionals.

The winners of this prestigious showcase are:

  • Jillian Iscaro (New York)
  • Esteban “Steven” Petersen (Los Angeles)
  • Jorge Arana (Chicago)
  • ZAPATA (Chicago)
  • Anjali Nayar (Los Angeles)

On Monday, May 20th, the winners had their work spotlighted virtually for Production Company Executive Producers and Independent Reps of AIR, as well as Ad Agency Heads of Production. This event provided an invaluable platform for the directors to showcase their unique talents and connect with industry leaders.

Each of the five directors will also receive an online masterclass and bonus course, courtesy of Jordan Brady of True Gentleman and Commercial Directing Film School. This opportunity is designed to further enhance their skills and career prospects.

The annual showcase is steered by AIR’s Diversity In Talent Committee with Dani Jackson Smith as the Chair and a team including Sonia Blum, Sarah Gitersonke, Mary Saxon, and Ally Khajenouri. This year the committee partnered with community organizations including ADCOLOR, Free The Work, Black In Film, and Creative Cypher to help champion diverse directors and participate in the judging process. These partnerships underscore AIR’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion within the industry.

“We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate these outstanding directors,” said Dani Jackson Smith. “Their work exemplifies the creativity and diversity that we need in the advertising industry. We are grateful to our community partners and the judging committee for their dedication to this important initiative.” 

About the 3rd Annual Diverse Directors Showcase Winners

Jillian Iscaro is a Brooklyn-based director, producer, and editor who combines her fine arts background with dream-inspired visuals. She founded Moonland.tv and has worked with brands like Spotify, Nike, and Levi’s.

Esteban “Steven” Petersen (Los Angeles) is a dynamic director known for his focus on cultural narratives and authentic representation in commercials, short films, and documentaries.

Jorge Arana (Chicago), originally from Mexico City, has over 20 years of experience in live TV production, advertising, and content creation, crafting visually compelling and emotionally resonant films.

ZAPATA (Chicago) is a director and editor with 15 years of experience, known for his commitment to authenticity and diversity, and his unique approach to working with animals and children.

Anjali Nayar (Los Angeles) is an Indian-Canadian director and climate scientist whose work includes commercials for Chipotle and Amazon, and documentaries supported by Sundance and Tribeca. She founded TIMBY, a social justice platform, and teaches at Cornell University.

In addition to the five winners, AIR’s Diversity In Talent Committee will be featuring diverse directors that were a part of the 16 finalists on their website. 

For more information about the Alliance of Independent Representatives and the Unsigned Diverse Directors Showcase, please visit AIR’s website.

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