AFI Announces Participants for DWW+ Class of 2024 – American Film Institute

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AFI Announces Participants for DWW+ Class of 2024

AFI is thrilled to announce the participants selected for the AFI DWW+ Class of 2024! AFI DWW+ is a year-long directing workshop that supports women and traditionally underrepresented narrative filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, providing hands-on instruction led by industry experts. The short films completed in the workshop will premiere at the annual DWW+ Showcase in Spring 2024.

The AFI DWW+ Class of 2024 participants are Vanessa Beletic, Chloë de Carvalho, Desdemona Chiang, Naomi Iwamoto, Huriyyah Muhammad, Joanne Mony Park, Kerry O’Neill and Roxy Toporowych. Learn more about the new class and read their bios here.

The eight participants went through a rigorous selection process and were ultimately selected from 21 finalists who met with the Final Selection Committee. Committee members were Shaz Bennett (AFI DWW Class of 2012), Steven Berger (AFI Class of 2010), Ava Berkofsky (AFI Class of 2013), Tessa Blake (AFI DWW Class of 2014), Maggie Kiley (AFI DWW Class of 2009), Katrelle Kindred (AFI DWW Class of 2018) and Amber Sealey (AFI DWW Class of 2019).

“AFI DWW+ is integral to creating a pipeline of highly trained, diverse voices who have the power to drive culture forward and shape the future of the entertainment industry. We are thrilled to welcome this new class of accomplished artists to the AFI DWW+ program and guide them on their journey as directors and storytellers,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and Executive Vice President of the American Film Institute.

In 2024, the program will celebrate its 50th anniversary. AFI DWW+ was launched in 1974 as the Directing Workshop for Women, one of the first gender impact programs in the cinematic arts and is one of the longest-running and preeminent film and television workshops nationwide. Since the program’s inception, DWW+ has trained over 350 filmmakers who give voice to historically underrepresented perspectives.

Past participants have broken barriers and gone on to great success, including Academy Award® winner Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005), who wrote and directed the Academy Award®-winning film CODA; DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW Class of 1982), whose critically acclaimed work as a producer and director on HOMELAND earned her Emmy®, PGA and DGA Award nominations; Dime Davis (AFI DWW Class of 2015), who received a 2020 Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series for A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW; and Hanelle Culpepper (AFI DWW Class of 2002), who directed the record-breaking pilot of STAR TREK: PICARD, making her the first woman director and the first Black director to launch a new STAR TREK series in the franchise’s history.

AFI DWW+ is part of the AFI Conservatory’s Department of Innovative Programs. Through a range of learning opportunities, Innovative Programs serves a diverse community of aspiring visual storytellers to cultivate cutting-edge technological, digital, and media-making skills, bridge access to professional networks and place participants on an upward career trajectory. Read more about Innovative Programs on conservatory.afi.com/innovativeprograms/.

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