AFI - American Film Institute - Directing Workshop for Women

by Ersi Danou March 7, 2018
AFI - American Film Institute

HFPA Grantee

The American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) spans a year-and-a-half of activity for the participants. Its mission is to support women who already have some experience in film production and aspire to become established as professionals, and it involves the guided production of a short film or web series from conception to exhibition and beyond.

From January to April, the participants develop and finalize their screenplays. In addition, they are mentored and monitored through their efforts to raise funds for their projects. In May, they engage in full-time intensive directing workshops. Pre-production, production (5 days) and editing takes place from June to the end of August. September to December is the final stage of completion, wherein the participants complete post production and prepare for the promotion of their projects and themselves. Finally, they take part in the annual DWW showcase the following May when the directors have the opportunity to share their projects with eager industry professionals.

DWW is free of tuition; however, the participants have to plan ahead in order to be able to pay their own personal expenses – especially during the time that they have to dedicate their full attention to production and completion from May to August – as well as in order to finance the production of their projects with a budget ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. The budget amount is capped at $35,000 in order to avoid large discrepancies in production value. DWW provides knowledge and opportunities for fundraising.

Writers, Producers and Directors such as Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Monster), Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), Jill Soloway (Transparent), and many more mentor, advise, educate and guide. Guest speakers and lecturers are invited to offer guidance in all areas involving film, from artistic to business aspects. DWW actively seeks to create partnerships with companies and organizations that may benefit its graduates. Such companies are Fox and Lifetime Television, both of which offer further opportunities to the DWW participants. It is often the case that DWW graduates get professional opportunities through these partnerships.

What makes the program unique is not only its focus on women filmmakers but also its smart emphasis on the business aspect of the profession as well as its successful integration of related opportunities.

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