Carol Schreder (right) on the set of LAYING DOWN ARMS.
Who is eligible to apply for this program?
AFI DWW is designed specifically for women who are working in the arts and are ready to seriously pursue narrative directing. Applicants must have a minimum of five years experience in the arts but may not have professional credits as a narrative director. If you have just completed film school, it is to your advantage to take some time and build work experience before applying to the program.
What if I do not have a reel?
Applicants must submit one or two brief examples (narrative, experimental or documentary — 10 minutes or less) of moving image projects that they have personally directed (not co-directed) and that demonstrate individual talent, ability and potential. It can be as simple as a home/consumer video camera in your backyard.
I made a documentary that aired nationally on PBS (or was distributed nationally in theaters). Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. "Professional credits" are defined for the purposes of DWW as a directing credit on a nationally broadcast or nationally distributed narrative (fictional) feature film or television show.
I am not a US citizen. Am I eligible to apply?
An applicant must be a US citizen or a permanent resident (with Green Card) and must reside and work in the United States or its territories during the workshop period.
How many women are accepted into the program?
Up to eight women are chosen as participants each cycle.
Can I just submit my script for consideration?
The full application process must be completed. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Can applicants apply to the program with scripts they did not write themselves?
The screenplay does not have to be written by the applicant. However, when an outside writer's material is used, all necessary rights must be obtained from the author and submitted with application materials, including the rights to adapt previously existing material. Please include this signed agreement with your application if you are submitting a screenplay by an outside writer - email signed agreement to DWWinfo@AFI.com.
I have a writing partner and am interested in co-directing with her. Can we apply as a team?
Yes, the team should submit as co-applicants. Teams have been seriously considered in previous selection processes, but to date no team has been selected.
If I am accepted into the program, what kind of time commitment do I have to make?
The workshop requires a commitment of about eight months. This includes not only the three-week training workshop, but 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. The average workshop day is between eight and 10 hours.
Will I be able to continue to work at my job during the eight months?
The hours required during the three-week workshop preclude participants maintaining regular office/work hours. Many participants find time to return to work on a limited basis during pre-production or post-production. However, production schedules are intense and applicants are cautioned that working may not be possible.
What does AFI provide if I am selected for DWW?
DWW participants are provided with camera equipment, a grip-electric package (which participants may choose to supplement through outside vendors), production insurance, use of AFI's SAG agreement, access to AFI editing facilities, classrooms for castings/meetings etc., a screening facility for the film's premiere, a showcase of all eight films to the industry, inclusion in the AFI Alumni network, and the finished film receives distribution opportunities.
Am I required to provide my own crew?
Participants are responsible for securing their own crews. AFI does not provide a pool of crew members but can provide assistance if a participant is having a difficult time locating someone to fill a specific position. An AFI Production Coordinator will be provided for each production.
AFI recommends that each project secure more than one Producer. During the three-week workshop, there are several opportunities to meet AFI Fellows, and participants are strongly encouraged to use Fellows as crew members whenever possible. The role of Producer is often the most challenging position for participants to fill, and AFI recommends that the search begin immediately upon acceptance into the program.
How much money can I raise?
Participants who reside in Los Angeles may raise a maximum of $25,000. Participants who do not reside in Los Angeles may raise an additional $5,000 in support of their productions to cover living expenses (for a maximum of $30,000). Raising the maximum amount allowable is not a requirement of the program. In fact, many successful productions have not raised the maximum amount.
I have access to free edit time at a post-production facility. May I edit my project off-campus?
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. Editing schedules are strictly monitored and all participants must screen cuts of their film for evaluation of progress. All projects must picture-lock by the assigned date - approximately 30 days after camera wrap.
May I shoot my project on film?
The workshop experience is structured for all projects to shoot with the camera provided. The main focus of the program is to provide participants with the education and opportunity to explore and learn about the process that a director must go through to successfully bring a short project to completion. The timetable for prepping, shooting and posting DWW projects is extremely fast and is not conducive to shooting on film.
Once accepted to the workshop a participant can submit a proposal to shoot on a non-AFI digital camera.
What happens to my finished film? Does it screen anywhere?
All DWW projects have the opportunity to premiere on AFI's campus in the Mark Goodson Screening Room and will also be featured in a one-night showcase with other DWW projects. After a participant's film has premiered, she may screen her project at festivals worldwide. Submission to festivals is the filmmaker's responsibility. After the film has had its festival run, (generally about 18 months), AFI makes every attempt to secure distribution for the project in a variety of venues. AFI retains the copyright to projects made within the DWW. AFI does not own the characters or underlying story rights.
If I am not selected as a participant, is it possible to take the three- week classroom portion of the workshop for a fee?
The workshop can only accommodate the eight women selected to participate in the program. Interested parties can volunteer to work on the productions in July. This provides an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the program and to make connections with participants and alumnae.
How do I apply for the program?
To apply, click here.
How can I, or my business, donate money to this essential program?
The DWW could not exist without support from individuals and corporations committed to providing opportunities for women in the arts.
Donations can be accepted via online, telephone or post mail.