Co-creator of new Fox series to speak ‘Shots Fired’ follows racially charged shootings

An award-winning screenwriter and director will speak at California Lutheran University two weeks after her new television series is slated to debut.

Gina Prince-Bythewood will discuss her work in the film and television industry at the next event in the university’s free “Conversations With…” series at 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, in Preus-Brandt Forum on the Thousand Oaks campus.

Actor, writer and director Markus Flanagan, who teaches at Cal Lutheran, will moderate an informal 90-minute discussion with Prince-Bythewood followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Prince-Bythewood helped create and serves as co-executive producer of Fox’s drama “Shots Fired,” which debuts March 22. Her son’s reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin inspired the 10-episode series examining the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small Southern town.

The Encino resident developed her first film, the 2000 release “Love & Basketball,” at the Sundance Institute’s directing and writing lab. She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film.

Prince-Bythewood also directed the 2000 film “Disappearing Acts,” the 2008 movie “The Secret Life of Bees” and the 2014 release “Beyond the Lights.” Her television directorial debut was the 1995 CBS Schoolbreak Special “What About Your Friends,” which won her an NAACP Image Award for Best Children’s Special and two Emmy nominations for writing and directing.

Her next project is an adaptation of Roxane Gay’s novel “An Untamed State,” which she is writing with Gay.

Prince-Bythewood was hired as a writer for “A Different World” right after graduating from the film school at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduates. She went on to write for “Felicity” and other series.

The “Conversations With …” talks provide theater arts students and others with advice from professionals. They take the approach laid out in Flanagan’s book, “One Less Bitter Actor: The Actor’s Survival Guide,” which explains how to make it in the business of acting while staying sane and focused.

Preus-Brandt Forum is located at 135 Chapel Lane on the Thousand Oaks campus. 

For more information, call 805-493-3415 or email markus@westlakeactingstudio.com.

Gina Prince-Bythewood


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