The Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute is a remarkable, one of a kind program. Since 1974, AFI has offered this tuition free training workshop and opportunity to direct a digital short that has launched the career of many working directors. The national statistics published by the DGA (Directors Guild of America) lists the percentage of working female directors as 7% in film and 11% in television. The AFI Directing Workshop for Women can proudly claim 25% of alumna have professional directing credits since participating in the workshop.
Over 250 women have been given the opportunity to participate in this innovative and unique training program for tomorrow's directors. Some DWW alumnae include Maya Angelou (DOWN IN THE DELTA); Neema Barnette (WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED, GILMORE GIRLS, CIVIL BRAND); Tricia Brock (SAVING GRACE, 30 ROCK, SMASH, BREAKING BAD, UNITED STATES OF TARA, GREY'S ANATOMY, UGLY BETTY); Hanelle Culpepper (90210, PARENTHOOD); Jennifer Getzinger (MAD MEN, SUITS, HUNG, THE KILLING); Deb Hagan (COLLEGE); Randa Haines (CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD, DANCE WITH ME); Victoria Hochberg (NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY, REAPER, SEX AND THE CITY, GHOST WHISPERER); Matia Karrell (BEHIND THE RED DOOR, AMERICAN HEIRESS, WEST WING); Lesli Linka Glatter (MAD MEN, THE NEWSROOM, HOUSE, THE MENTALIST, THE CLOSER); Nancy Malone (JUDGING AMY, DIAGNOSIS MURDER, MELROSE PLACE, DYNASTY) and Becky Smith (HOW TO LOOK GOOD NAKED, QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY, BOY MEETS BOY).
The three-week workshop focuses on the development and production of a short narrative project. Participants enter the program with a short screenplay, which they develop within the workshop. A revised draft of the script is required at the end of the three weeks.
Upon acceptance into the program, it is crucial that participants begin immediately to fundraise and interview producers. It is recommended that each project have two producers and a line producer prior to the start of the three-week workshop. Participants are also required to have raised $5,000 in support of their productions by the first day of the May workshop. Fundraising information and support will be provided shortly after acceptance.
Classroom attendance during the workshop is mandatory and critical to participants' success. Attendance and participation in class demonstrates a commitment to the program, to the projects and to classmates. At the end of the three-week workshop, pre-production begins in earnest. Participants will have the opportunity to select production dates from a list of available times. Production is then permitted only during the specific dates assigned each project.
All DWW participants will direct a short narrative project.
AFI does not provide crew for DWW projects, however, there are many opportunities for participants to meet AFI Fellows (graduate film students from the AFI Conservatory). Fellows have completed films within similar parameters and are a rich resource for participants to include on their crews. An AFI liaison will be provided for each production to help facilitate the completion of paperwork required by AFI.
Participants may raise up to $25,000 in support of their productions ($30,000 for participants who are not local).
Complete production details will be explained to participants during the three-week workshop. ALL PRODUCTIONS MUST COMPLY WITH DWW AND AFI PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS.
Productions will be scheduled within a very strict time frame. Production will take place in the Los Angeles area during June/July. Although participants are given access to AFI editing facilities, participants may also choose to edit at an outside facility. Outside editing facilities must be approved in advance. Schedules are strictly monitored and all participants are required to screen cuts of their film for evaluation of progress. Some areas of post-production, such as mixing, will need to be done outside AFI at participant's expense.
Participants must have the financial means to dedicate full time concentration to the workshop and the production of their films. This will preclude participants' ability to work full time for approximately four months (May-August) when the DWW project has reached picture lock. DWW is not a grant program. There is no tuition fee to attend.
As explained, participants may raise up to $25,000 in support of their productions ($30,000 for participants who are not local); $5,000 must be raised by the first day of the May workshop.
Lunch is provided during the workshop, but AFI does not provide housing or transportation to participants.
- Three-Week Training Workshop: Full-time classes and instruction. Some evenings and weekends may be required.
- Pre-Production: Approximately five weeks from the end of the training workshop session until the first production begins shooting.
- Production: AFI provides lighting, grip and camera equipment that can be used for a five-day shoot (permission to use a non-AFI digital camera is possible through a formal request). Equipment pick up and drop-off times are specified. Participants are responsible for damaged and missing equipment. AFI provides limited insurance and requires shooting/location permits, compliance with AFI's SAG Deferred Agreement and other production paperwork.
- Post-Production: Participants are required to find editors for their projects. Projects must lock picture within the assigned 30 days, regardless of whether editing takes place on or off campus. On-campus editing facilities are available only during specified hours.
IMPORTANT DATES – 2013
- Application Deadline: January 7, 2013
- Interviews: Mid-February, 2013
- Participants Notified: Mid-March, 2013
- Workshop: May 6–May 24, 2013
FUNDING AND SUPPORT
Significant contributions from individuals and corporations committed to providing opportunities for women in the media arts sustain the workshop's activities. AFI is grateful to the following supporters who have made the DWW possible:
Jean Picker Firstenberg
Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment
The Adrienne Shelly Foundation
Sony Corporation of America
And other generous donors committed to providing opportunities for women in the media arts.
You can support this tuition-free program and play your part in American film.