201 Directors Program
We are excited to introduce you to the amazing filmmakers who are sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.
Meet Your Advisors
Executive Creative Director/Director
Esteban “Steven” Petersen is a Cuban-Korean, Emmy award-winning Executive Creative Director known for producing work that combines live-action and visual effects - emphasizing performance, emotion and visual design. In 2003 he co-founded Big Machine (https://www.bigmachine.tv/) - an LA-based design studio that provided visual effects and content for film, television and commercials. As a creative director he has been responsible for generating and producing many cross-platform marketing campaigns encompassing video, print, experiential and social components.
Steven is also an Emmy award-winning producer that has developed and delivered long and short form content across all platforms. He is a member of the PGA and the Television Academy.
Steven has directed spots for commercial clients including: Toyota, Mattel, Ubisoft, Microsoft and GEICO. Some of his network clients include Discovery, A&E, Nickelodeon, Disney, National Geographic and AMC.
Steven was honored to be included in the SHOOT New Directors Showcase. He is also an accomplished editor.
Steven speaks English, Spanish and most importantly - he makes really good picadillo and flan.
Born in Austin, TX, Lauren began acting at a young age. Her love of performing and telling stories took her to college at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. After graduating, Lauren headed out to sunny Southern California where she performed with Moonlight Amphitheater and began acting in small independent films. This introduced her to a whole new world of possibilities. She fell into Set Lighting and worked as an IATSE technician on films such as The Avengers, True Grit, Let Me In and many others. Lauren then tried her hand at directing, and her first 3 minute short film, “The Audition” won best comedy at the Santa Fe 3-Minute Film Festival. Galvanized, Lauren began assisting directors and producers and eventually landed as Julie Plec’s producer and development exec where she was active in every aspect of production and development along with staffing. She continued to make short films and began her foray into professional directing with Legacies. Since then, Lauren has gone on to direct multiple episodes of Legacies, Roswell and Sweet Magnolias on Netflix, as well as The Endgame and Walker. As a director, Lauren ascribes to have her work follow the 3 E’s - Effective, Efficient and Effusive. Inclusive and communicative, Lauren loves to bring out the best in cast and crew and
create honest, dynamic visuals that enhance the performance of the cast and bring the audience deeply into the world of the show.
On the side, Lauren loves spending time with her daughter, husband and their little
Hailing from Waterbury, CT by way of Philadelphia, PA, Shaun Mathis began his filmmaking career in 2014 but it was in 2015 when he received his first break by being the co-writer & coo- producer on the film Take Over Your Trap, starring 2 Chainz & Bankroll Fresh, the film went on to premiere at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival. The same year, Shaun wrote, directed and produced his first feature film, The Plug and secured distribution via Amazon Prime. The following year in 2017, Shaun wrote, directed & produced the award winning documentary, narrated by legendary actor Clifton Powell, Miles in the Life” Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker, has over 10 million views via, Amazon, Tubi, Roku & Youtube. Most currently, Shaun penned the horror film, La Patasola, which will be released theatrically Jan. 14, 2022. As a writer & director, Shaun has worked with the likes of Cam Newton, Killer Mike, Future, Jermaine Dupri, Clifton Powell, and many others, and also currently have films distributed by AspireTV, BET+, Amazon Prime, Tubi and Roku. When not writing for filming with his company, Anti-Hero Productions, Shaun can be found in his role as president of the non-profit organization, Film
Family, conducting Atlanta’s only writers room, Shaun Mathis’ Writers Room Collective or being a father to his 2 children, Jordyn & Egypt.
Landi Maduro is an awarding winning writer, director, and producer who has worked in the film industry for over 10 years. She has continued to direct and produced short films, features, music videos, small business commercials, business tutorials, and documentaries since launching her production company, Bluechild Entertainment, in 2012. Her documentary The Silent Killer: Prostate Cancer In The African American Community is currently streaming on Tubi TV and Amazon Prime. The award-winning documentary screened for the Congressional Black Caucus and has been used by healthcare professionals and scholars to educate on the health disparities African American men face dealing with prostate cancer.
Landi has toured and lectured throughout the United States and overseas advocating for prostate cancer awareness. In 2021 she was awarded the Zero Impact Award for her advocacy work. She is a member of the Zero Health Equity Task Force, where she works with various doctors, scientists, and community leaders to promote advocacy and affordable care for veterans and minority men dealing with prostate cancer.
Landi recently worked on the faith-based film Driving Force and the female boxing franchise Lola 2 available on AMC/AllBlk network. Landi is currently in post-production for an unscripted network show where she directed 6 out of 10 episodes. Landi teaches filmmaking to adults and teens and offers private consulting to indie filmmakers. She is also the proud Founder & President of Women of Color Filmmakers; a 501c3 nonprofit organization that garners support, skill-building, and networking for female filmmakers as they pursue careers in film and television.
KENNY is a talented and prolific African-American director, screenwriter, actor and storyteller. As an established pro, Kenny has acquired a notable list of film and television credits.
KOLDxWINDY, an eight-episode television series that Kenny co-created, served as co-showrunner, and wrote and directed four episodes aired on WETV in 2023 and is currently streaming on ALLBLACK.
In the beginning of 2023, Kenny directed NEVER ALONE FOR CHRISTMAS, a holiday feature script that he wrote for BET that will air in Christmas of 2023. Always looking to make a mark in the industry, Kenny wrote and produced the animated feature film CHANCE which was released theatrically in 2019 and is currently streaming on various platforms where it’s quickly gaining a cult following.
In 2017, Kenny simultaneously directed MISS ME THIS CHRISTMAS (featuring Erica Ash, Allen Maldonado, Eva Marcille, and Redaric Williams) and YOU CAN'T STOP CHRISTMAS (featuring Brely Evans, Persia White, Andra Fuller, Marla Gibbs, and Nathan Davis Jr.), both of which premiered on TV One network this Christmas and are currently streaming on Netflix.
Kenny has also worked with TVOne in 2016 where he directed MERRY EX-MAS (featuring London Brown, Sean Patrick Thomas, Angel Conwell, and Clifton Powell). The project became the network's third highest-rated original film of 2016. The success
of this film garnered more opportunities for him to direct projects.
Kenny also wrote and directed BACHELORS (featuring Fred Willard, David Faustino, Anna Hutchison, and Gary Owen), winning "Best Narrative Film" and "Director" at the 2015 American Black Film Festival. The film was purchased by Lionsgate.
Kenny Young also wrote and directed: REDRUM (featuring Jenifer Lewis, Jill Marie Jones, and Danny Woodburn) and C'MON MAN (featuring Clifton Powell, Kim Whitley, Aries Spears, and Tommy Davidson), which aired on Showtime, Starz!, and TMC.
Early in his career, Kenny optioned a script, STEP IN THE NAME OF LOVE, to MGM Studios with R&B sensation Usher attached to star, and garnered write-ups in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Kenny's first feature film that he co-wrote, co-produced and starred in, ONE WEEK, was theatrically released and achieved the 2nd highest per screen average in the nation. It
also won best "Narrative Film" at the American Black Film Festival and Urbanworld Film Festival. It also screened at the Toronto Film Festival, The Chicago International Film
Festival, and the LA Pan-African Film Festival. The film still screens nationally on "World AIDS Day."
America has stunt coordinated on projects for Warner Bros, Netflix, Lifetime and Cannal Plus. And worked on 65 video games. Having stunt coordinated for years, America transitioned to directing seven years ago. While having a solid foundation in action, she is also known for her ability to bring out the best performances in actors, both drama and comedy, while translating subtle and rich story points visually on screen. The projects she has helmed have a wide range from a drag queen comedy to sci-fi action to fantasy action to coming of age drama to exploring domestic violence in a superhero universe.
America Young is currently working in Film, TV, Animation and Video Games, as a Director, stunt coordinator and stunt woman. To date, she has directed for Network TV, two features, a season of an animated show, a video game and four digital series to name a few.
Her first feature, “The Concessionaires Must Die!!” executive produced by Stan Lee, (www.cmdthemovie.com) is now available on Itunes, Amazon and other VOD platforms. Her most recent digital series, “Whatta Lark”, that pairs a quiet, introverted woman with the fiercest and loveliest of Drag Queens can be watched on Amazon. “Protectress”, a Xena-inspired fantasy, winner of several awards including Best Action, Best Director and Best Fantasy on the festival circuit, is being developed into a feature. And she is attached to, a heartfelt, brilliantly subtle drama, “It’s Not Me” written by John Keating. She was also directed the vertical slice for Resident Evil Village, the most successful game for the franchise yet.
She is a proud founder of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit that gives opportunities to women in the film & media arts (www.chimaeraproject.org).