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AFI Directing Workshop Announces “Executive Circle” Featuring Black Women Executives

AFI Directing Workshop Announces "Executive Circle" Featuring Black Women Executives

The American Film Institute (AFI) Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) has announced the creation of the Executive Circle comprised of studio’s top female leadership to act as mentors to DWW’s annual participants.  Black, female executives of note include Niija Kuykendall, VP of Warner Brothers, Anikah McLaren, VP of Universal, and Alana Mayo, CE of Paramount. These women, along with several others, will offer guidance about the studio system, advice on taking notes, and the role of the studio executive. 

For more information, see press release below.

AFI DIRECTING WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN ANNOUNCES “EXECUTIVE CIRCLE”

13 Executives From 6 Major Studios Participate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, October 7, 2014 – The American Film Institute (AFI) Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) announced today the formation of an “Executive Circle” consisting of the studios top female leadership to act as mentors to DWW’s annual participants.

The Executive Circle is formed by the following female executives:

Lauren Abrahams, VP, Sony
Amanda Brown, VP, Paramount
Daria Cercek, VP, Fox
Tonia Davis, Director of Development, Disney
Maradith Frenkel, VP, Universal
Niija Kuykendall, VP, Warner Bros. 
Annie Laks, VP, Paramount Animation
Alana Mayo, CE, Paramount
Anikah McLaren, VP, Universal
Chantal Nong, VP, Warner Bros.
Sara Scott, Director of Development, Universal
Alison Small, VP, Paramount/Paramount Insurge
Erin Westerman, VP, Good Universe

This elite group of executives provides mentorship to female directors participating in DWW and the AFI Conservatory. They offer guidance about the studio system, how projects are green lit, advice on taking notes, and the role of the studio executive. This unique program to AFI is a commitment from the film and television community to lessen the gap of female directors in the moving image arts.

Since the AFI DWW program’s inception, more than 275 women have been trained in screen directing. Among its distinguished alumnae are Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, Neema Barnette, Tricia Brock, Ellen Burstyn, Rebecca Cammisa, Dyan Cannon, Hanelle Culpepper, Jan Eliasberg, Naomi Foner, Jennifer Getzinger, Lyn Goldfarb, Randa Haines, Victoria Hochberg, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Lesli Linka Glatter, Lynne Littman, Matia Karrell, Nancy Malone, Becky Smith, Cicely Tyson and Joanne Woodward.

For more on the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, please visit: AFI.com/DWW.

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