NBC has unveiled the 2019-20 classes of its groundbreaking scripted directing initiatives, Female Forward and the Emerging Director Program, which aim to increase representation of female and ethnically diverse directors, respectively, by creating a pipeline into scripted television.
Indian American writer/director Mahesh Pailoor is among those who have been selected for the Emerging Director Program. As part of the program, Pailoor, who was chosen from 500 applicants, will shadow episodic directors on “The Blacklist” and then helm an episode of the show this season.
According to NBC, they are the only programs in the industry that give participating directors an in-season guarantee to direct at least one episode.
The Emerging Director Program, NBC’s first scripted directing program, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year and counts celebrated directors Kat Coiro, Hanelle Culpepper, Indian American Nisha Ganatra, Solvan “Slick” Naim and Indian American Sharat Raju amongst its alumni.
All finalists for both programs will be mentored by an established television director.
Raised in a small town in Maine, Pailoor studied film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. His first short film, “Little India,” premiered at SXSW and screened at festivals around the world. He then furthered his training as a Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute, where he was awarded the Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award for the direction of his thesis film, “Still Life.”
Pailoor’s feature debut was the independent film, “Brahmin Bulls,” starring Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth and Academy Award Winner Mary Steenburgen. The film won the Audience Award at the San Diego Film Festival, the Jury Prize for Best American Indie at the Sonoma International Film Festival, and was released theatrically in the U.S. and the U.K.
Along with scripted content, Pailoor has directed award-winning documentaries, commercials and branded content for clients such as Best Buy, Microsoft, Nintendo and Yamaha. He is an alumnus of the Disney/ABC Directing Program, Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab and Project:Involve.
Pailoor is currently is co-writing a dramatic feature that he is attached to direct, according to NBC. He is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment.