AFI’s Landmark Training Program
Selects Eight New Directors

Recent Alumnae Successes Include SXSW and Sundance Premieres,
Alice Initiative Recognition and More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — February 13, 2018, Los Angeles, CA — The AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) — AFI’s filmmaker training program launched in 1974 — continues its groundbreaking commitment to increasing the number of women working as directors in film and television. The prestigious program has announced eight new participants for 2018-2019, who will participate in several months of tuition-free film education, culminating in the production of a short film. The films will premiere at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles in 2019.

The new DWW filmmakers are: Parisa Barani, Zoe Bell, Jessica Kaye, Shilpi Roy, Amber Sealey, Siyou Tan, Carly Usdin and Talia Zucker. Bios are available here.

The DWW has a proud legacy of promoting diverse voices to the world, and recent participants in the program have made an impressive global impact. Milena Govich (AFI DWW, Class of 2018) will be premiering her DWW short film UNSPEAKABLE at the SXSW Film Festival this March. Katrelle Kindred (AFI DWW, Class of 2018) premiered her DWW short film WAR PAINT in the Shorts section at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Prior to Sundance, three DWW Class of 2017 alumnae Rosie Haber, Tannaz Hazemi and Courtney Hoffman were named on this year’s Alice Initiative’s list of 20 women considered ready to direct a studio film as determined by a group of 50 female studio executives and producers. Hoffman will be adapting her DWW short THE GOOD TIME GIRLS into her first-time feature, and has also signed to direct the action film RUTHLESS for Amblin Partners.

To support their continuing efforts as filmmakers, annual DWW awards have been bestowed upon the Class of 2017. Tannaz Hazemi received the Nancy Malone Award and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation Award for her short HAIL MARY COUNTRY. Manjari Makijany won the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation Award and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Award for I SEE YOU.

DWW is also making strides in the industry with support from a new partnership with FIJI Water. FIJI Water aims to raise up to $100,000 for DWW through its One Sip Forward Campaign. FIJI’s goal with this new initiative is to provide funds to educate and mentor female filmmakers, and increase the number of women working professionally as directors in film and television. To learn more about the campaign, visit

About the AFI Directing Workshop For Women
Founded in 1974, the AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) is a production-based training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally in screen directing. More than 300 alumnae have participated in this tuition-free program.

The AFI Directing Workshop for Women receives generous support from FIJI Water, Twentieth Century Fox, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Lifetime’s Broad Focus, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Google, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, the Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment, The Nancy Malone Endowment provided by The Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation and the Estate of Nancy Malone and the many individual supporters committed to providing opportunities for women in the media arts. For more information visit:

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI’s founding Trustees included Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.

In 1969, the AFI Conservatory opened its doors to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Alumni of this elite MFA program include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.


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