Graduates of AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women
Are Given Opportunities to Work on Fox Franchise Properties

Twentieth Century Fox Film and the American Film Institute have entered a new partnership to help increase the number of female directors working on major studio films. The initiative will provide alumnae of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) — the American Film Institute's unique female filmmaker training program — the opportunity to direct short films based on the Studio's film franchises.

With the necessary expertise, tools and access to the Studio's extensive intellectual property, the filmmakers will be invited to contribute to building the narrative world of Fox's film franchises, and in the process, create sample work in genres, particularly action and science fiction, in which female filmmakers are often underrepresented. 

"The dearth of female directors is not a matter of passion or talent," said 20th Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider, who made the announcement today. "Instead, it's often a question of access and resources. We're excited to offer these to talented women filmmakers who then can build upon this practical work experience."

“AFI believes that the future of this American art form is a true symphony of voices," said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO.  “We have been committed to this issue from our founding, and we look forward to this landmark collaboration with Fox to impact the art and entertainment landscape in a profound way."

Fox is committed to providing significant resources to the projects, to reflect the quality and scale of the franchise films that they support. Fox will finance, produce and distribute the short films, via its many platforms. The filmmakers will be able to add the projects to their portfolios and pitch Fox feature films unrelated to the shorts in the future.

Kicking off the trailblazing partnership, 35–50 graduates will be selected for an introduction to the terms of the initiative. Ten finalists will present original pitches to senior executives at 20th Century Fox. One or more filmmakers will be chosen to make their concept into a short film.

About Twentieth Century Fox Film
Twentieth Century Fox Film is one of the largest motion pictures studios in the world. The company produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of the studio: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios.

About the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women
Founded in 1974, the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally at the highest creative level in film and television. The innovative and tuition-free workshop is open to women with three years or more of professional experience in the arts, providing them an immersive opportunity to learn by doing — with each participant required to complete a short film or series by the end of the program.

DWW participants have gone on to great success, including Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW, Class of 1982), whose Emmy®-winning work as a producer and director on HOMELAND earned her PGA and DGA Award nominations in 2016; Sian Heder (AFI DWW, Class of 2005), whose film TALLULAH, based on her DWW short MOTHER, recently premiered on Netflix; and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (AFI DWW, Class of 2012), whose series UNREAL received two 2016 Primetime Emmy® nominations including Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

In addition to the support the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women receives from Twentieth Century Fox, it is also the recipient of generous gifts from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Comcast-NBCUniversal, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Google, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Linda Hope, Indiegogo, Lifetime, Mark and Lynne Liss, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, Rosalind Wyman, the Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment and the Nancy Malone Endowment provided by the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, and other individuals committed to providing opportunities for women in the media arts. For more information visit:

Media Contacts:

20th Century Fox Film
Chris Petrikin
[email protected]

American Film Institute
Stephanie Sweeney
[email protected]