Tamra Davis Delivers Keynote
Past Alums Include Academy Award® Winner Siân Heder, Lesli Linka Glatter, Dime Davis and Hanelle Culpepper
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 2022 – The American Film Institute (AFI) is hosting its annual AFI DWW showcase in person today at 7:30 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles. The event provides an opportunity for the 2022 program’s participants to present their completed films to an audience of agency and studio representatives, as well as working artists from throughout the creative community. Prolific television and feature film director Tamra Davis will deliver a keynote address prior to the screening.
The six presenting directors from the Class of 2022 are: Michelle Krusiec, April Maxey, Mary Angélica Molina, April Moreau, Kelly Pike and Lucretia Stinnette. Their films have already made an impact, with April Maxey’s film WORK premiering at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Trailers for all the short films are available to view on AFI.com/DWW-showcase. The films will be available to watch in full April 1 – April 30 on the showcase website.
The AFI DWW program mentors filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, providing hands-on instruction led by industry experts. Past participants have gone on to great success, and breaking barriers in the industry with their work, including Oscar® winner Siân Heder (Class of 2005), who wrote and directed the Academy Award®-winning and groundbreaking film CODA; Lesli Linka Glatter (Class of 1982), who was recently elected President of the DGA and whose critically-acclaimed work as a producer and director on HOMELAND earned her Emmy®, PGA and DGA Award nominations; Dime Davis (Class of 2015), who received a 2020 Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series for A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW, becoming the first Black woman to receive a nomination in that category; and Hanelle Culpepper (Class of 2002), a prolific television director who directed the record-breaking pilot of STAR TREK: PICARD, which earned her the distinction of being the first woman director and the first Black director to launch a new STAR TREK series in the franchise’s history.
Since the program’s launch in 1974, DWW has trained over 350 filmmakers that strive to give voice to historically underrepresented perspectives – with Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, Neema Barnette, Pippa Bianco, Tessa Blake, Tricia Brock, Ellen Burstyn, Rebecca Cammisa, Dyan Cannon, Hanelle Culpepper, Dime Davis, Jan Eliasberg, Naomi Foner, Jennifer Getzinger, Lesli Linka Glatter, Lyn Goldfarb, Randa Haines, Siân Heder, Victoria Hochberg, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Matia Karrell, Lynne Littman, Nancy Malone, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Becky Smith, Cicely Tyson and Joanne Woodward included among its distinguished Alumnae.
The DWW program is one of the American Film Institute’s pioneering, tuition-free efforts to empower diverse filmmakers and is now part of the AFI Conservatory’s Department of Innovative Programs, which also includes the Young Women in Film Intensive and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. Through a range of learning opportunities, Innovative Programs serves a diverse community of aspiring visual storytellers with opportunities to build leading-edge technological, digital and media-making skills, bridge access to professional networks and place participants on a career trajectory. Read more about Innovative Programs on AFI.com.
The official sponsor of the AFI DWW Class of 2022 Showcase is Lifetime through their Broader Focus initiative.
The AFI DWW program receives generous support from AT&T, Paramount Pictures, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, The Walt Disney Studios and Universal Pictures. Additional support comes from Jean Picker Firstenberg, Linda Hope, the Nancy Malone Living Trust, Seed&Spark, the Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment, The Nancy Malone Endowment provided by The Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, and the many individual supporters committed to providing opportunities for historically underrepresented voices in the media arts.
About the Class of 2022 Filmmakers and Films
Logline: When a woman’s husband reveals the pending loss of their home, she unexpectedly directs her rage at her teenage daughter.
Michelle Krusiec’s critically acclaimed solo show MADE IN TAIWAN premiered at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival and played at the NYC Fringe Festival, among others, and landed her an ABC holding deal. Since then, Krusiec has amassed hundreds of credits in film, television and theater. Writing and directing the digital series SCENES FROM A REAL MARRIAGE was a conscious return to storytelling. Making BITE as part of AFI DWW has been a “green light from God.”
As a director, Krusiec brings a wealth of industry experience towards creating films that place underrepresented, especially API, narratives into the cultural mainstream. Her stories center on rich performances that are universally compelling, yet feel thematically personal and original. As a writer, Krusiec writes both comedy and drama, exploring that tenuous line, often finding humor in pain.
Krusiec is committed to inclusion. She has been recognized by the White House, the State of California and the Museum of Chinese Americans. Her work as an actress earned her a Best Actress nomination by the Taiwan Golden Horse for SAVING FACE. Krusiec believes in mentorship and was named the 2021 UCLA Regent’s lecturer and teaches directing for performance at Chapman University.
Logline: Struggling to get over her ex-girlfriend, Gabriela impulsively decides to drop into an old job, where she unexpectedly runs into a friend from her past.
April Maxey is a queer, mixed Chicana filmmaker from San Antonio, Texas, based in Los Angeles by way of New York. She is a participant in the AFI DWW program and the Berlinale Talents Short Film Station. Her short work has collectively screened at over 60 festivals across 14 countries and won eight awards internationally, including the Shorts Jury Prize at the Milwaukee Film Festival, the 100Autori Award for Best Screenplay at the Sicilia Queer Film Fest in Italy and Best International Narrative Short at Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival. Her work has screened at Academy®– and BAFTA-qualifying festivals including Palm Springs Shortfest, Outfest and Flickerfest. Her drama pilot version of WORK was a top five finalist in the New Orleans Screenplay Competition. Her work often centers intimacy and connection within the queer experience. Her directing is informed by her background in cinematography, editing and acting.
Mary Angélica Molina
Logline: An angry Latinx dyke in her twenties wants to make the world a better place, but can barely keep her own life together. FERNANDA and her friends deconstruct their lives, fuck them up, and then continue to deconstruct them.
Mary Angélica Molina is a writer and director who creates dark, funny, queer stories about seemingly unimportant Latinxs in extraordinary circumstances. She is currently an executive story editor on Anne Rice’s MAYFAIR WITCHES at AMC Studios and a story editor on FANTASY ISLAND at Fox. Previously, she has staffed on ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA for Showtime and the PARTY OF FIVE reboot at Disney’s Freeform.
Molina is a participant in the Class of 2022 AFI DWW program with her half-hour comedy FERNANDA, and was selected for the Tribeca Institute’s 2020 Through Her Lens program with a comedy called “Rosario.” Another half-hour comedy titled “Papi” participated in the 2019 Sundance Reading Series and was selected for the 2018 Sundance Episodic Lab; it is currently in development with Gina Rodriguez’s I Can & I Will Productions. Molina is a 2017 Sundance New Voices Lab Fellow and a 2013 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Fellow.
VALENTINA (2018), a short film about a woman with a talking vagina, was licensed by HBO and aired globally. Molina also wrote, produced and directed DICHOS (2019), a comedy web series featuring an impressive selection of female-identified Latinx talents. She holds an Experimental Film degree from Bard College and an MFA in Screenwriting from USC. Molina was born in the Colombian tropics and grew up in Queens, NY.
Logline: In the days following a traumatic event, a stand-up comedian fails to find solace in comedy, forcing her to look inward to heal.
April Moreau is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned a BFA in Acting. In Los Angeles, she studied TV Writing at UCLA Extension and improv and sketch at The Groundlings and UCB. Moreau’s directing career began in the world of digital shorts, with her work featured on the homepage of Funny or Die and Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaha. In 2018, her film BITCHES BY THE SEA screened in Paul Feig’s shorts contest at the Women in Comedy Festival presented by HBO. Her 2019 short RIDE IN PROGRESS premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. She is a proud member of the Alliance of Women Directors and the AFI DWW Class of 2022.
Film: PICTURE DAY
Logline: The day before school pictures, a newly transplanted tomboy’s decision to pierce her ears sparks a family crisis.
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Kelly Pike is a participant in the AFI DWW program and the recipient of the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. She was also included on the 2021 Austin Film Festival’s “25 Screenwriters to Watch” list.
With an established career in the visual arts, she first expanded her practice into filmmaking by working with documentarian Albert Maysles and then went on to earn an MFA in Film and Television Production from UCLA. She is now based in Los Angeles where she writes and directs narrative films.
Pike’s short films have earned recognition from the Directors Guild of America, Vimeo, PBS and The Caucus of Producers, Writers & Directors. They have screened at festivals around the world, winning awards from the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival and many more.
Pike is a segment director on the anthology feature film MISSISSIPPI REQUIEM, starring James Franco and Marianna Palka, and is looking forward to releasing her next short film PICTURE DAY in 2022.
Lucretia “Lu” Stinnette
Logline: In a small Korean-owned beauty supply store in South Los Angeles, a misunderstanding between a Black customer and the Korean shop owner explodes into a violent confrontation that is captured on a cell phone recording by a bystander. REDONDO deconstructs what led up to this moment.
Lucretia “Lu” Stinnette is a Los Angeles filmmaker and producer whose work takes a nuanced look at the ways that class, economics and racial identity shape the interior lives and lived experiences of women of color.
She is currently a participant in the 2022 class of the AFI DWW program. Stinnette is the recipient of the SFFILM Rainin Foundation Grant, the Princess Grace Graduate Film Scholarship, the Lynn Weston Fellowship in Film, the Women in Film Foundation/Verna Fields Memorial Fellowship and the Four Sisters Scholarship in Directing. Her short film QUYEN, about a young Vietnamese woman’s first week with her new Korean husband, was informed by her four years living and teaching in South Korea. QUYEN was awarded the KQED Film School Shorts Best Film Award, and her work has been screened at the New Orleans Film Festival, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Munich Festival of Film Schools, among many others. Born and raised in Chicago, Lu has worked and studied in countries such as Ghana, South Africa and South Korea. She earned her BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California and her MFA in Film from UCLA.
About the American Film Institute (AFI)
The American Film Institute (AFI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to champion the moving image as an art form. Established in 1967, AFI launched the first comprehensive history of American film and sparked the movement for film preservation in the United States. In 1969, AFI opened the doors of the AFI Conservatory, a graduate-level program to train narrative filmmakers. AFI’s enduring traditions include the AFI Life Achievement Award, which honors the masters for work that has stood the test of time; AFI AWARDS, which celebrates the creative ensembles of the most outstanding screen stories of the year; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive that preserve film history for future generations. AFI exhibition programs include AFI FEST, AFI DOCS and year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland. Other pioneering programs include workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community, including the AFI DWW program and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. AFI’s newest program is AFI Movie Club, a daily global engagement for those who love the movies. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, YouTube.com/AFI, Twitter.com/AmericanFilm and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.
About the AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory opened its doors in 1969 to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Today, the Conservatory offers a two-year MFA degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. In a collaborative production environment, AFI Fellows learn to master the art of storytelling, collectively creating up to 175 films a year. Fellows actively participate in the entire life cycle of a film, from development through production and exhibition.
Alumni of this elite program, ranging from modern masters to bold new voices defining the state of the art form include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Sam Esmail, Brad Falchuk, Liz Hannah, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas, Polly Morgan, Rachel Morrison and Wally Pfister, among others.