A Conversation with the Women Behind Watchmen

May 28, 2020 An Eastern Directors Council Focus on Women Committee Panel Discussion

On May 28, DGA members were able to learn about the making of a DGA Award-winning drama during the online panel discussion, A Conversation with the Women Behind Watchmen. Presented by the Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women Committee (FOW), the event featured Director/Executive Producer Nicole Kassell, Director Steph Green, Actor Regina King, Producer/UPM Karen Lee Wacker, and 1ADs Keri Bruno and Kayse Goodell in a conversation moderated by Kassell and DGA Fourth Vice President Laura Belsey.

Based on the celebrated graphic novel, the HBO series Watchmen takes place 34 years after the original story and weaves a tale of an alternate history with real life themes of white supremacy and racism against the backdrop of vigilantes, masked cops and super-heroes. The pilot episode earned Kassell the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series.

The panelists engaged in an informative discussion where they shared their experiences of crafting the program and covered subjects including: putting together the look of the show, utilizing previs to communicate effectively with the Visual Effects Supervisor, finding ways to utilize the project’s budget to enable directors, and working with the background performers to create the powerful opening sequence. Following the panel discussion, the panelists took questions from the audience.

You can listen to the panel discussion by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.



Nicole KassellDirector/Executive Producer Nicole Kassell (Moderator)
While still at NYU, Kassell took home a DGA Student Film Award for her short, Jamie. Her debut feature, The Woodsman, earned her nominations for Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Awards and Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. Her episodic television resume includes multiple episodes of critically praised series such as WestworldThe LeftoversThe KillingThe Americans and Rectify. Kassell won the 2019 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for her pilot episode of the HBO series Watchmen, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” A DGA member since 2006, Kassell serves as a member of the DGA’s National Board, the Television Creative Rights Committee, the Eastern Director’s Council and its Focus on Women Committee.


Laura BelseyDirector Laura Belsey (Moderator)
Belsey directed the documentary Katrina's Children; and has directed episodes of Arrow, Blindspot, Bull, Chicago Med, Criminal Minds, NCIS New Orleans, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Stitchers, Unforgettable and hundreds of commercials. A DGA member since 1993, Belsey also serves as the Fourth Vice President of the Guild and she also serves as a member of the Eastern Directors Council and the Focus on Women Committee.

Regina KingActor/Director Regina King 
In addition to her work in front of the camera on Watchmen, King's directorial credits include the documentary Story of a Village; the movies for television The Finest and Let the Church Say Amen; and episodes of the series InsecureThe Good DoctorShamelessThis Is UsPitchGreenleafAnimal KingdomThe CatchScandalBeing Mary Jane and Southland. Currently in post-production on the feature One Night in Miami, King has been a DGA member since 2012 and serves as a member of the Western Directors Council.
Steph GreenDirector Steph Green
In addition to her work on Watchmen, Green's directorial credits include the feature Run & Jump; and episodes of the series The L Word: Generation QDare MeThe Man in the High CastleThe DeuceStrange AngelLuke CageFor The PeopleYou're the WorstPreacherThe AmericansScandalBates MotelAmerican CrimeBillions and American Gothic. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for her 2007 live action short film, New Boy. Green has been a DGA member since 2007.
Karen WackerProducer/UPM Karen Lee Wacker
In addition to her work on Watchmen, Wacker’s production management credits include feature films such as Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go, Bernadette; and episodes of Mare of EasttownGrimmFrom Dusk Till Dawn: The SeriesThe PathThe Leftovers and Do No Harm. She also has production supervisor credits on Richard Linklater's feature Bernie and episodes of The Lying GameFriday Night Lights and the pilot for Prime Suspect. Wacker has been a DGA member since 2013.
Keri Bruno1AD Keri Bruno
In addition to her work on Watchmen, Bruno’s AD credits include feature films such as James Cox's Billionaire Boys Club, Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups and Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler; and episodes of Penny Dreadful: City of AngelsWestworldLopezWorkaholicsTraining DayThe Last Ship and Faking It; and the mini-series Big Time in Hollywood, FL. Bruno has been a DGA member since 2001.
Kayse Godell1AD Kayse Goodell
In addition to her work on Watchmen, Goodell’s AD credits include feature films such as Stephen Frears’ The Program, Peter Landesman’s Parkland, John Lee Hancock’s The Blind Side and Richard Linklater's 2015 DGA Award-nominated feature Boyhood; episodes of Mare of EasttownAll AmericanKevin (Probably) Saves the World13 Reasons WhyRevolutionThe LeftoversFriday Night Lights; and Mick Jackson’s DGA 2011 Award-winning movie for television Temple Grandin. Goodell has been a DGA member since 2008.

About the Committee:

In addition to Co-Chairs Maggie Greenwald and Annetta Marion, the Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women Committee members are Directors Marilyn Agrelo, Laura Belsey, Sarah Brooke, Jan Eliasberg, Shanta Fripp, Nicole Kassell, Martha Mitchell, Sarah Pirozek, Lara Shapiro, Shari Springer-Berman, and Vivien Vitolo. The Committee would like to remind members that while their events are designed with a special focus on women directors, all DGA members are welcome to attend.

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