EXCLUSIVE: Apple Studios has announced the three participants selected for its inaugural Directors Program, described as an inclusive, new initiative focused on expanding opportunities for mid-career directors across the U.S.

Maureen Bharoocha, Yoko Okumura and Marshall Tyler were chosen to participate in the six-month program which offers masterclasses focused on building and sustaining a career as a working episodic director. The program also will feature discussions with seasoned industry professionals focusing on the craft and business of directing, opportunities to participate as shadowing directors on Apple Studios series, and a “one-of-a-kind experience” in Apple Park tailored to inspire innovation and creativity.

Successful participants will be positioned to direct content for Apple TV+.

Television projects hailing from Apple Studios include Masters of the Air from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone; Lessons in Chemistry, based on the bestselling book and starring Oscar winner Brie Larson; Manhunt, from Monica Beletsky; and comedy Palm Royale, led by Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern and Carol Burnett. 

Upcoming series include Firebug, from creator Dennis Lehane, starring and executive produced by Taron Egerton; and drama Your Friends and Neighbors, starring and executive produced by Jon Hamm.

The inaugural Apple Studios Directors Program participants are as follows: Descriptions provided by Apple.

Maureen Bharoocha 

Maureen Bharoocha has directed feature films, late night, premium cable, episodic television and short films. Her newest feature film “The Prank,” starring the legendary Rita Moreno and Keith David, was theatrically released this March and her first theatrical movie “Golden Arm” was sold to HBO in 2020. Maureen’s television credits include three years as a segment director on Jimmy Kimmel Live!,  NBC’s “Grand Crew,” “Crank Yankers,” “Saved By The Bell,” Peacock’s “Pitch Perfect” spin-off, “Bumper in Berlin,” and an episode of Hulu’s  new upcoming show “Deli Boys.”  She is currently co-writing a new horror comedy “Tina’s 40th Birthday Party,” with Mary Holland and Betsy Sodaro, and is also set to direct with Sharon Horgan’s Merman Television producing.

While she thrives on finding the funny in whatever scene she’s directing, Maureen is equally adept at eliciting powerful dramatic performances. Raised in a half Irish Catholic and half Indian Pakistani Burmese Muslim household, Maureen focuses on stories about conflicted characters and is a master at straddling opposing worlds and blending genres. She inspires everyone around her with her motto: Make Cool Shit! Maureen Bharoocha is represented by Ellen Jones at CAA and Merideth Bajana and Delaney Morris at Grandview.

Yoko Okumura

Yoko Okumura (she/her) is a genre-fluid writer and director who thrives in the intersection of grit and glamour. Born in a Buddhist temple in Japan and raised in the frostbite of Minneapolis, she is obsessed with telling rebellious stories through underrepresented perspectives. 

She directed the feature thriller “Unseen” for Blumhouse/Paramount, and her episode “Ball of Twine” for Sam Raimi’s horror anthology “50 States of Fright” is streaming as a Roku Original. Yoko has also directed numerous one-hour episodes of television, including “Good Trouble” and “The Bold Type.”

She is a sponsored director under the Women In Film + Sundance ReFrame Rise Program, and has participated in top directing initiatives such as the Warner Bros. Directing Workshop, Ryan Murphy Half Initiative, and the Fox Directing Program. Her films have won numerous accolades including an Austin Film Festival Jury Award, DGA Award and a Webby. 

Yoko has a B.F.A. from CalArts and an M.F.A. from AFI, and lives and works in Los Angeles. When not on set, she can be found dabbling in fire dancing, as well as aerial arts, and she would love to learn how to do a backflip. Okumura is repped by CAA and Ronin Entertainment.

Marshall Tyler

Born in Philadelphia, but raised in Hawaii and San Diego, Marshall Tyler is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and television director. His episodic directing credits include “9-1-1” (Angela Bassett) for FOX, “City on a Hill” (Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge) for Showtime, “Leverage: Redemption” (Noah Wylie and Aldis Hodge) for Amazon, and the edgy, suspense-driven dark-comedy “Average Joe” (Deon Cole) for BET+/Paramount+. As a writer/director, Marshall’s short films “Night Shift,” “Cap” and “Slow Pulse” have gained critical acclaim premiering at film festivals like Sundance, the ABFF HBO Short Film Competition and Tribeca.  All three were Oscar-qualified after winning the Chicago, Urban World and Pan African film festivals, respectively, and have aired on HBO, CBS and BET.  

In addition to being selected for the Apple Studios Directors Program, Marshall is also a 2018-2020 alumni of the ABC Disney Television Directing Program, and is a 2018 fellow of the Ryan Murphy Half Initiative. Through his company New Bumper & Paint, Marshall is currently developing his narrative feature debut, “Fever Dream” and has partnered with Vogue Studios/Condé Nast Entertainment for his upcoming feature documentary “The Prince of 7th Avenue” about the life of legendary designer Willi Smith and his iconic label-brand, WilliWear. Marshall is represented by Gersh and Pacific Artists Management. 

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