An Evening with Directors of The Sopranos

20 Years of Hits: An Evening with Directors of The Sopranos

March 7, 2019 An Eastern Region Special Projects Committee Panel Discussion

On March 7, DGA members gathered in the Guild’s New York Theater for the Eastern Region Special Projects Committee’s panel discussion, 20 Years of Hits: An Evening with Directors of The Sopranos. The evening featured Director/Executive Producer David Chase and Directors Henry Bronchtein, Steve Buscemi, Allen Coulter and Alan Taylor, who engaged in an enlightening evening of conversation and exploration about their work on the series moderated by Director Phil Abraham, who also served as the DP for 47 episodes of the series.

The groundbreaking HBO series, The Sopranos, told the story of New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, who seeks psychiatric counseling to help deal with personal and professional issues in his home and business life. During its run from 1999 to 2008, the series was hit with both critics and audiences and also garnered DGA Award nominations for Directors Daniel Attias, Henry Bronchtein, Steve Buscemi, Allen Coulter, David Nutter and Timothy Van Patten; and DGA Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night Award wins for Chase, who won a DGA Award for his 1999 pilot episode and John Patterson who took home the award for his 2002 episode “Whitecaps.” The series also earned an Emmy Award for Director Alan Taylor for his 2007 episode “Kennedy and Heidi” and Emmy directing nominations for Buscemi, Chase, Coulter, Nutter, Patterson and Van Patten.

The evening kicked off with a welcome from Eastern Region Special Projects Committee member Gary Donatelli who spoke briefly about the work of the Committee before turning the stage over to Chase, Bronchtein, Buscemi, Coulter, Taylor and Abraham. Illustrated by clips from the show, the panelists engaged in an informative discussion where they shared their experiences of crafting one of the most venerated series in the history of television. Following the moderated portion of the panel discussion, the panelists took questions from the audience.


About the Panelists:

David ChaseDavid Chase has produced, written and directed critically acclaimed television shows such as influential Peabody Award-winning HBO drama The Sopranos, which he created. He began writing for network television and eventually became a writer and producer on the classic NBC show, The Rockford Files, winning his first Emmy in 1978 when the show was named Outstanding Dramatic Series. Chase made his directorial debut with a self-penned episode of the ‘80s incarnation of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and continued writing, directing and producing, garnering further Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series with Northern Exposure and the civil rights drama I’ll Fly Away. He made his feature film directorial debut with Not Fade Away in 2012 and is currently in pre-production on the highly anticipated film prequel to The Sopranos. A DGA member since 1986, Chase won the DGA Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night Award wins for his 1999 pilot episode of The Sopranos.

Henry BronchteinHenry Bronchtein is a producer/director with over 30 years of experience in film and television production. He began his careers as an Assistant Director and worked with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Mazursky, Michael Mann and many others. In addition to his work on The Sopranos — where he also served as a UPM and Co-Executive Producer — Bronchtein’s directorial resume includes episodes of Hostages, Luck, The Following, The Lottery and Turn: Washington’s Spies. He has been a DGA member since 1979.


Steve BuscemiSteve Buscemi has built a career out of portraying unique and unforgettable characters. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his role as Tony Blundetto in season five of The Sopranos.For his directing work on The Sopranos, Buscemi was nominated for an Emmy and DGA Award. He has also directed episodes of 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Portlandia. Buscemi has been a DGA member since 1998.


Allen CoulterAllen Coulter is one of today’s most sought-after television directors, with critically-acclaimed episodes of Ray Donovan, House of Cards and Sons of Anarchy among his credits. He has earned multiple Emmy and DGA nominations for his work on groundbreaking HBO shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City; another DGA nomination for his work on Boardwalk Empire and Emmy nominations for Nurse Jackie and Damages. His resume also includes the pilot of the series Get Shorty and the feature films Hollywoodland and Remember Me. Coulter has been a DGA member since 1995.


Alan TaylorAlan Taylor is an award-winning director, screenwriter and producer who, in addition to his work on The Sopranos, has directed episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street, Oz, The West Wing, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Carnivale, Deadwood, Lost, Rome, Big Love, Mad Men, Bored to Death and Boardwalk Empire; and the feature films Palookaville, Emperor’s New Clothes, Kill the Poor, Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys. A DGA member since 1992, Taylor was nominated for DGA Awards for episodes of Game of Thrones and Mad Men and won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for his pilot episode of Mad Men, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and an Emmy Award for his 2007 episode of The Sopranos, “Kennedy and Heidi.”


Phil AbrahamPhil Abraham (moderator) worked on all six seasons of The Sopranos, initially as a camera operator then as a cinematographer and eventually directing an episode for the series in its final season. His directorial resume also includes episodes of Orange Is the New Black, Ozark, Ray Donovan, Bates Motel and the pilot episodes for Daredevil and The Long Road Home. Abraham received two Emmy nominations as a director for his work on Mad Men and won the 2008 Emmy Award for cinematography for his work on the pilot of that series. He has been a DGA member since 2006.

About the Committee:

Special Projects is the educational and cultural arm of the Directors Guild of America. It provides opportunities for creative exchange with programs for members and industry colleagues to celebrate the history and achievements of its members, advance their professional skills, and prepare them for the technological changes of the future. The Eastern Region Special Projects Committee is chaired by Raymond DeFelitta. The Committee Members are Ted Bogosian, Gary Donatelli, Daniel Hank, Dennis W. Mazzocco, and Susanna Styron.

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