Director and AFI Alum Melina Matsouakas to Give Keynote Address at AFI DWW+ Showcase – American Film Institute


Director and AFI Alum Melina Matsouakas to Give Keynote Address at AFI DWW+ Showcase

DWW+ Class of 2024 to Premiere Films and AFI DWW 50th Anniversary Honorary Committee Unveiled

AFI is excited to announce today that AFI Alum Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) will deliver the keynote address at the AFI DWW+ Showcase for the Class of 2024 which will take place on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles.

An integral and longstanding part of the AFI DWW+ program, the Showcase provides an opportunity for the graduating cohort of AFI DWW+ to premiere their short films to an audience of agency and studio representatives, as well as working artists from throughout the creative community.

The presenting directors from the Class of 2024 are Vanessa Beletic, Chloë de Carvalho, Desdemona Chiang, Naomi Iwamoto, Huriyyah Muhammad, Joanne Mony Park, Kerry O’Neill and Roxy Toporowych. The directors were mentored by AFI DWW+ Guest Artistic Director Shaz Bennett (AFI DWW Class of 2012) who also oversaw the artistic curriculum for the 2023–2024 program.

“AFI’s dedication to empowering underrepresented artists and creating pathways for success in the director’s chair through our AFI DWW+ program has not wavered in 50 years,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and Executive Vice President of the American Film Institute. “Together with Melina, we look forward to honoring this year’s class of diverse directors as they debut their new films that will inspire their fellow artists and audiences alike.”

AFI also announced the filmmakers, artists and industry leaders who are members of the AFI DWW 50th Anniversary Honorary Committee. The committee members include Neema Barnette (AFI DWW Class of 1982), Tessa Blake (AFI DWW Class of 2014), Ellen Burstyn (AFI DWW Class of 1974), Dime Davis (AFI DWW Class of 2015), Ava DuVernay, AFI President Emerita Jean Picker Firstenberg, Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW Class of 1982), Lee Grant (AFI DWW Class of 1974), Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005), Linda Hope, Gale Anne Hurd, Sherry Lansing, Eva Longoria and Chloé Zhao. Together with AFI, they will oversee the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and work to ensure the program’s future for another 50 years. Launched in 1974, AFI DWW+ is one of the first gender impact programs in the cinematic arts and one of the longest-running and preeminent film and television workshops, and has since trained over 350 filmmakers.

RSVPs are required for the AFI DWW+ Showcase on April 10. Email [email protected] for more information.

This year’s AFI DWW+ program is generously supported by Paramount Pictures, The Golden Globe Foundation, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Studios, The Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, Participant and Valhalla Motion Pictures. Additional support comes from the Rosalind Wyman Living Trust and Robert and Betty Wyman, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Linda Hope, Gale Anne Hurd, The Nancy Malone Living Trust and other individual supporters committed to providing opportunities for historically underrepresented voices in the media arts.

AFI DWW+ is part of the AFI Conservatory’s Department of Innovative Programs, which also includes the Cinematography Intensive for Women. Through a range of learning opportunities, Innovative Programs serves a diverse community of aspiring visual storytellers to cultivate cutting-edge technological and media-making skills, bridge access to professional networks and place participants on an upward career trajectory. Read more about Innovative Programs on

Melina Matsoukas is a filmmaker whose brand of provocation comes from a unique, inherently multicultural point of view focused on diverse storytelling. Matsoukas made her powerful feature directorial debut at AFI FEST 2019 with QUEEN & SLIM, which she also produced. Matsoukas began her television career as an executive producer and director of the critically acclaimed HBO series INSECURE. She went on to direct MASTER OF NONE’s Emmy® -winning “Thanksgiving” episode and most recently directed and executive produced THE CHANGELING for Apple TV+. She has also brought her singular vision to music videos for Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga and for global campaigns of major commercial clients such as Nike, Beats, and Calvin Klein.

Learn more about the DWW+ Class of 2024 and their films.

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