Stunt performer Zoë Bell — Uma Thurman’s double in the “Kill Bill” films and a Quentin Tarantino veteran — is getting into the directing game herself. The New Zealander got her start at 17 as Lucy Lawless’ double on “Xena: Warrior Princess,” and is now among the eight participants in this year’s AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Since 1974, the program has provided tuition-free training to more than 300 women seeking film and television careers behind the camera.
Bell will join Parisa Barani, Jessica Kaye, Shilpi Roy, Amber Sealey, Siyou Tan, Carly Usdin, and Talia Zucker for months of immersive education as they ready short films to debut next year at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles. So far, two alumni from the 2017-2018 class have had their DWW projects accepted to prestigious film festivals: Katrelle Kindred premiered “War Paint” at Sundance in January, and Milena Govich will screen “Unspeakable” at the SXSW Film Festival in March.
Additionally, Kindred and Govich’s DWW companions Rosie Haber, Tannaz Hazemi, and Courtney Hoffman were each name-checked last month on The Alice Initiative‘s list of 20 female filmmakers poised to helm studio features. For her short “Hail Mary Country,” Hazemi was also the recent recipient of the DWW’s Nancy Malone Award and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation Award. Classmate Manjari Makijany earned the latter as well, along with the Adrienne Shelley Foundation Award for her short, “I See You.”