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Sony Names Winners of Diverse Directors Program, Scrutinized for Picking Relative of Sony Exec

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Sony has selected six directors from a pool of hundreds of applicants for the second-annual Sony Pictures Television’s Diverse Directors program, and one of the winners is raising eyebrows for her connection to a Sony exec.

Selected director Kate Barker-Froyland is the daughter of Sony Pictures Classics co-president and co-founder Michael Barker. Barker-Froyland is also the director of the Anne Hathaway-starring Song One, which had a limited theatrical release in January 2015.

According to Sony, the Diverse Directors program aims to help “talented artists of diverse backgrounds build TV industry relationships for a possible career path as a DGA scripted TV episodic director.” The applicant pool was initially narrowed down to a group of 15 semi-finalists who then participated in a directing workshop intensive from which the final six directors were selected.

The six winners will be shadowing TV directors working on series like The Blacklist, Dr. KenThe Goldbergs, The Night Shift, and Powers. Other directors selected for this year’s program include Alberto Belli, Pete Chatmon, Ellie Kanner, Solvan Naim, and Marcus Stokes.

When asked by The Wrap if they were concerned that Barker-Froyland’s selection would raise suspicions of nepotism, Sony’s Kim Rozenfeld stated: “All the Diverse Directors finalists were chosen based on merit, experience, and the quality of the work they submitted.”

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