Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ambridge Native Directs 'Horror Story'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ambridge Native Directs 'Horror Story'

Article excerpt

FX's mystery-shrouded sixth season of "American Horror Story" kicked off Wednesday and finally confirmed rumors that the plot has something to do with The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island in what is today coastal North Carolina.

Ambridge native Marita Grabiak, who previously worked with "AHS" executive producer Tim Minear when she directed episodes of "Angel," "Wonderfalls" and "Firefly," has long been a fan of "AHS." She contacted Mr. Minear in May. (The two met as production assistants on the 1986 film "The Men's Club.")

"He told me, you called at the right time: We're looking for women to direct," she said.

Earlier this year, "AHS" executive producer Ryan Murphy launched an effort to have 50 percent of director slots on his shows filled by women, people of color and members of the LGBT community.

"I feel a lot of gratitude for Ryan Murphy taking this very seriously and giving trust and opportunity to women," Ms. Grabiak said. "That's just going to make all the difference."

In August at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, FX CEO John Landgraf spoke of learning FX had some of the lowest figures among networks when it came to hiring women and minority directors last year, which he immediately set about correcting. Since his call for change to FX showrunners, 51 percent of directors hired for FX series have been women or diverse in other ways.

"If you look at the early years of Hollywood, there were very powerful women in Hollywood who won a lot of Academy Awards, and that trend went away as money concerns and the men's club kind of took over," Ms. Grabiak said. "I hope we get back to that. We have the technical skills and ability and represent 50 percent of the population, so it's just a no-brainer."

In addition to Ms. Grabiak, Jennifer Lynch ("Boxing Helena") and Angela Bassett ("Whitney") are among the other women directing "AHS" episodes this season. …

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