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Yara Shahidi Among Directors for Season Two of Shatterbox Anthology

Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi continues her path to world domination by making her directorial debut as part of Shatterbox Anthology’s second season a female directed short films.

“I enjoy acting thoroughly, but I also like the process in which we tell stories,” Shahidi told the LA Times.

She was given full creative control on the project, co-writing the script with Grown-ish’s Jordan Reddout.

“The story centers around one character who we have aptly titled ‘X,’ and it’s X’s journey through L.A. — a day in the life — but also a larger commentary on what it’s like to maneuver through a space that you don’t own or have ownership of,” Shahidi said.

“Being somebody who’d been in California for most of her life, I’ve benefited from how diverse it is, how open it is, how liberal it is,” she continued. “This really stemmed from us wanting to dive further into that … and still discuss the universality of what it’s like to be an unprotected class of any kind, whether you’re a person of color, whether you’re an immigrant, whether you’re a woman, whether you’re differently abled — whatever it is.”

In addition to crew members from Grown-ish and Black-ish, Shahidi also worked with her parents on the film. Her mother Keri executive produced and her father Afshin was director of photography.

“Directing really makes you stick to your voice and have the ability to back it up, saying, ‘This is how I want to do it,'” said Shahidi. “Of course you have to make compromises here and there, but it really did remind me to not be so willing to [make compromises], and to feel empowered to execute my vision.”

Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders (center in gray skirt), one of Shatterbox Anthology’s new directors, with the cast and crew of End of the Line. Source: LA Times

For the project’s second class Shahidi is joined by Gillian Jacobs (Community), Jessica Sanders, Gilly Barnes, Ivy Agregan, Janine Shermon Barrois, A.M. Lukas (nee Anna Martemucci) and Allana Harkin.

Shatterbox Anthology was started by media company Refinery 29. Chief content officer Amy Emmerich discussed the project’s plan to get more women behind the camera.

“When we started the first year, it was about increasing the ranks of women in front of and behind the camera — more important, more female directors was the priority,” said Emmerich. “The second was representation: What kind of stories are out there, and are they representing our audience and what they want to see in the world? Obviously, that wasn’t the case. We had a large amount of audience data where they felt they weren’t seeing themselves in media. So by putting more female directors in the chair, we would change, then, the representation.”

The Shatterbox Anthology has partnered with TNT to air the shorts across all the network’s social, digital and TV platforms.

Source: LA Times

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