Over its history, the DWW has curated an incredible cadre of distinguished artists to speak at our annual showcase and engage with our participants. Our faculty and professional mentors are working artists with years of experience between them. Because of this, the precise makeup of our faculty and mentorship team changes each year. Here is a partial list of the people who've guided our DWW participants in recent years.


Patty Jenkins, Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, Kimberly Peirce, Paul Feig, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Jill Soloway, Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Jamie Babbit, Maggie Kiley


Tessa Blake, Bruce Block, Joan Darling, Jay Floyd, Joel Goodman, Deborah Landis, Heidi Levitt, Stephen Lighthill, Adam Moore, Issa Rae, Angela Robinson, Jamie Babbit, Neema Barnett, Barry Sabath, Lisanne Sartor, Maya Sigel, Rob Spera, Sandra Valde-Hansen, James West, Michael Urban, Diane Becker, Deniese Davis, Marcie Begleiter


Once the participant’s film is complete, they will be assigned a Career Mentor. This is a working director who will talk with the participant several times over the following year, offering career guidance and counsel. The goal of the mentorship program is to support the participant as they transition from the DWW into their career.


The DWW's Executive Circle consists of 13 female executives throughout the film and television industry. This elite group of executives provides mentorship to female directors participating in both DWW and the AFI Conservatory. They offer guidance about the studio system, how projects are greenlit, advice on taking notes, and the role of the studio executive.

The Executive Circle is formed by the following female executives:

Alana Mayo 
Alison Small 
Anikah McLaren 
Annie Laks
Chantal Nong 
Daria Cercek 
Erin Westerman 

Kristin Burr 
Lauren Abrahams 
Maradith Frenkel 
Niija Kuykendall 
Sara Scott 
Tonia Davis