HISTORY OF AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE
AND DIRECTING WORSHOP FOR WOMEN
In 1967, the American Film Institute (AFI) was created to train the next generation of filmmakers and to preserve America's fast-disappearing film heritage. AFI immediately became a gathering place and point of focus and coordination for leading artists and educators who supported film and television as an art form.
For over three decades, AFI's Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) has been the premiere institution working to increase the number of women behind the camera. The DWW "continues to stand as a reminder that moving-image storytellers should be more inclusive of today's diverse voices." There has been a long decline in the number of female directors. In 2006, women accounted for only 7% of all directors in Hollywood.
The DWW is a highly competitive program, selecting only 8 women out of over 200 applicants each year to participate, and created to "provide talented women with an opportunity to direct narrative film projects." The workshop takes the form of an intensive, three-week course of speakers and projects that help us to refine our scripts and understand the challenges of directing. By providing us access to individuals who have achieved success in the film industry and are willing to share their knowledge, the DWW ensures that our projects and future directing careers have the best possible chances of success.
Former DWW alumnae have included Maya Angelou, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft, Randa Haines (CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD), Cicely Tyson, Joanne Woodward, Lesli Linka Glatter (ER, WEST WING, STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, and GREY'S ANATOMY, to name just a few), and Patty Duke. More recent graduates of the program include Kellie Martin, who, after completing the program, directed the Hallmark series MYSTERY WOMAN, Sian Heder, whose DWW short, MOTHER, won 3rd prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival's Cinefondation, and Deb Hagan, whose DWW short, PEE SHY, has been an official selection at 50 festivals worldwide and has won 14 times.
I am honored to have the opportunity to add my voice and creative vision as a director to this distinguished list.
For more information on AFI and the DWW, visit www.afi.com and www.afi.com/education/dww/.