ELIGIBILITY & SELECTION
Successful candidates will have demonstrated collaborative skills and leadership ability in their professional careers. An affinity for identifying script material with a strong story (whether written by the applicant or another writer) is critical for consideration. Applicants must also possess a willingness and ability to fundraise and network in support of their productions.
Up to eight projects are selected to attend this intensive hands-on training workshop, after which the participants direct their projects using a production package provided by AFI. On average, approximately 6% of applicants are selected to participate in the program.
Because the DWW is designed to prepare female directors for professional success, all projects must be produced within the parameters of AFI policies.
AFI provides mentorship, a unique contract with the Screen Actors Guild, production equipment, production insurance, potential for production-related discounts with local vendors and distribution opportunities for the completed project. AFI also provides access to the network of DWW Alumnae.
Applicants must have a minimum of three years professional experience working in the arts. This experience may not include credits earned within an academic program. Please note that applicants with professional credits as narrative directors — defined as a directing credit on a nationally broadcast or nationally distributed narrative non-documentary feature film or television program — are not eligible to apply.
Applications are reviewed in a three-tier process.
- Applications are evaluated by the DWW staff and teams of alumnae; approximately 30% are put forward to the second tier.
- The second tier consists of a formal interview with the DWW staff and selected alumnae. Roughly 35% of those interviewed will be considered for the final tier.
- The third tier consists of a Final Selection Committee of established working directors, alumnae and the DWW staff. Eight participants and an alternate are selected.
All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (with Permanent Resident Card) and must reside and work in the United States or its territories during the workshop period. All participants are required to maintain current health insurance through the course of the DWW.
An approximate eight-month commitment to the workshop is necessary. This includes not only the three-week training workshop, but also pre-production, production and post-production time for the narrative projects.
The three-week workshop requires full-time attendance at the AFI Campus in Los Angeles, where the average workshop day is between eight and twelve hours. There are required delivery dates in pre-production and post-production, but the participant is not otherwise required to be on campus for those phases.
Please read carefully as the application and requirements change from year to year.
- Short Film Applicants: A standard format narrative screenplay of no more than 15 pages (shorter submissions are strongly encouraged) in proper screenplay format — applications submitted with improperly formatted scripts will not be considered.
- Episodic Applicants: 3 or more episodes in proper screenplay format — no more than 25 pages.
- Narrative statements (which include the elements requested on the application)
- Resumé (no more than two pages)
- Work sample (sole directing credit — as outlined on the application)
- Application Fee of $100 (non-refundable)
- Letters of Recommendation — Optional (Up to three letters of recommendation dated within six months of the application).
*Great directors must also be great storytellers. The ability to identify or create material for development is vital to a director's success. The screenplay does not have to be written by the applicant. However, if an outside writer's material is used, all necessary rights must be obtained from the author and submitted with the application, including the rights to adapt previously existing material. Please email this signed agreement to DWWinfo@AFI.com and it will be added to your application.
AFI cannot provide critical comment or advice on submitted materials. AFI does not return or release application materials.