AFI and Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation Partner for Young Women in Film Intensive – American Film Institute


AFI and Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation Partner for Young Women in Film Intensive

The AFI Conservatory and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) have partnered to launch the second annual Young Women in Film intensive.

Beginning March 26, the eight-week filmmaking workshop will be held on the AFI Campus in Los Angeles for 45 promising high school girls from ICEF (Inner City Education Foundation) View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School, Immaculate Heart and Synergy Quantum Academy High School. All students will receive mentorship from a talented group of both current Fellows and working, professional alumni of the AFI Conservatory. This program is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

“AFI has long been an epicenter for educating and inspiring creators, and we are proud to have them join us, for the second year, in our effort to put a spotlight on female storytellers in film,” said Jana Babatunde-Bey, President and CEO of the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation. “Inclusion can only be made possible when we create pipelines for opportunity as young artists continue to hone their craft, and this program is a perfect example of our work to create access and opportunity for diverse voices.”

The Young Women in Film program will begin with a seminar by Dr. Emily Carman, Associate Professor of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, on the historic contributions of female filmmakers to the cinematic art form. Over six subsequent sessions, students will learn the art of filmmaking, with training in pitching, screenwriting, producing, production design, directing, cinematography and editing — all with state-of-the-art cinematic technology. Participants will work together in teams alongside AFI Conservatory Fellows and alumni to create a series of short films that will be screened for audiences on campus at the conclusion of the program. In making their films, students will also have access to professional actors from the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Conservatory, which is based on the AFI Campus. Read more about the program and view last year’s films here.

The Young Women in Film partnership is one of the American Film Institute’s pioneering, tuition-free efforts to empower female filmmakers, including the landmark AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the AFI Cinematography Introductory Intensive for Women. Read more about these programs at

Under the leadership of Jana Babatunde-Bey, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation has paved the way for diverse voices to impact the entertainment industry. Whether sharing the stories of female filmmakers such as Minhal Baig with HALA — which had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and sold to Apple — or motivating youth across the country with the Careers in Entertainment Tour, WJSFF continues to inspire the next generation while creating change and social impact.

Comments (2)


It’s great chance for new generation.

C A Rhodes

This is great news for young ladies aspiring to find a place in this space. However, I am wondering if the Foundation supports middle-aged women seeking the same.

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