AFI DWW Launches New Episodic Program; Now Accepting Applications

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Sarah Ledesma 323.856.7871, [email protected],,,


Call for Applications Begins August 21st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES (August 21, 2014) — The AFI Directing Workshop for Women (AFI DWW) announced today that it will launch an innovative new episodic program, expanding its 40-year-old directing program beyond the making of short films. Women participating in the episodic strand of the program will produce content for the Web or streaming services, and will work alongside women participating in the shorts program. The application for the 2015 AFI DWW is available here.

The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) have provided pivotal sponsorship for this year’s initiatives along with engagement of NBCUniversal. The WJSFF will support an individual participant who embodies a diverse voice. Throughout her career, Jada has worn multiple hats as an actor, producer and director and through WJSFF, she will take part in nurturing and creating opportunities for new female filmmakers.

AFI DWW is a prestigious, highly selective workshop that offers talented women who have established themselves in the arts a tuition-free training program comprised of classroom learning, hands-on production experience and the opportunity to direct a project and advance their careers as visual storytellers. This year, the program will accept a total of eight participants. All women will receive comprehensive training, together with new classes in Running a Series and Building an Audience, among others, and new mentors from the television and new media worlds will join the AFI DWW faculty.

While great strides have been made to lessen the gap of working female directors in the film community, there are still limited training opportunities for directors with diverse visions who want to work in the changing landscape of episodic storytelling across multiple platforms. AFI’s DWW will provide aspiring female directors the opportunity to develop their skills as storytellers across multiple platforms, working in an environment where they can gain insights from accomplished mentors working in the field of directing.

Mentors for the 40th anniversary class included Artists-in-Residence Jamie Babbit (BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER, THE QUIET), AFI Conservatory alumnus Patty Jenkins (THE KILLING, MONSTER) and Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON’T CRY, CARRIE).

Since the AFI DWW program’s inception in 1974, more than 275 women have been trained in screen directing. Among its distinguished alumnae are Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, Neema Barnette, Tricia Brock, Ellen Burstyn, Rebecca Cammisa, Dyan Cannon, Hanelle Culpepper, Jan Eliasberg, Naomi Foner, Jennifer Getzinger, Lyn Goldfarb, Randa Haines, Victoria Hochberg, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Matia Karrell, Lesli Linka Glatter, Lynne Littman, Nancy Malone, Becky Smith, Cicely Tyson and Joanne Woodward.

For more on the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, please visit:

About the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation
Dedicated to the betterment of the world around us, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation helps individuals and organizations advance in areas where need is great. Education, empowerment and health are the foundation’s core platform. The WJSFF is proud to lend its support for education through programs and partnerships to support community development, sustainability and the arts.

About NBCUniversal
NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award — the highest honor for a career in film — now in its 42nd year; AFI Awards, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI Fest presented by Audi, AFI Docs and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world renowned AFI Conservatory, recognized for the quality of its instructors and speakers and its notable alumni. For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI at, and


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