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AFI Announces DWW+ Class of 2023-2024 to Mark Program’s 50th Anniversary

Siân Heder, Anne Bancroft, Dime Davis, Joanne Woodward, and Cicely Tyson are among the program's alumni.

AFI DDW class Top row (L to R): Vanessa Beletic, Chloë de Carvalho, Desdemona Chiang, Naomi Iwamoto Bottom row (L to R): Huriyyah Muhammad, Joanne Mony Park, Kerry O'Neill, and Roxy Toporowych

The AFI DDW+ Class: Top row (L to R): Vanessa Beletic, Chloë de
Carvalho, Desdemona Chiang, Naomi Iwamoto
Bottom row (L to R): Huriyyah Muhammad,
Joanne Mony Park, Kerry O’Neill, and Roxy Toporowych

Courtesy of AFI

The American Film Institute (AFI) has unveiled the participants list for the DWW+ Class of 2024.

IndieWire exclusively reveals that the latest cast comprises Vanessa Beletic, Chloë de Carvalho, Desdemona Chiang, Naomi Iwamoto, Huriyyah Muhammad, Joanne Mony Park, Kerry O’Neill and Roxy Toporowych. Learn more about the new class and read their bios here.

The AFI DWW+ is a year-long directing workshop that supports women and traditionally underrepresented narrative filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, providing hands-on instruction led by industry experts. The short films completed in the workshop will premiere at the annual DWW+ Showcase in Spring 2024.

“AFI DWW+ is integral to creating a pipeline of highly trained, diverse voices who have the power to drive culture forward and shape the future of the entertainment industry. We are thrilled to welcome this new class of accomplished artists to the AFI DWW+ program and guide them on their journey as directors and storytellers,” Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and Executive Vice President of the American Film Institute, said.

The eight selected participants went through a rigorous selection process and were ultimately selected from 21 finalists who met with the Final Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee consisted of members Shaz Bennett (AFI DWW Class of 2012), Steven Berger (AFI Class of 2010), Ava Berkofsky (AFI Class of 2013), Tessa Blake (AFI DWW Class of 2014), Maggie Kiley (AFI DWW Class of 2009), Katrelle Kindred (AFI DWW Class of 2018), and Amber Sealey (AFI DWW Class of 2019).

In 2024, the AFI DWW+ program will celebrate its 50th anniversary after being launched in 1974 as the Directing Workshop for Women. The DWW+ is one of the longest-running and preeminent film and television workshops nationwide. Since the program’s inception, DWW+ has trained over 350 filmmakers who give voice to historically underrepresented perspectives. Alums include Oscar winner Siân Heder (“CODA”), DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter, Dime Davis (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”), and Hanelle Culpepper (“Star Trek: Picard”).

Additional alums include Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, Cicely Tyson, Joanne Woodward, Neema Barnette, Pippa Bianco, Tessa Blake, Tricia Brock, Ellen Burstyn, Rebecca Cammisa, Dyan Cannon, Jan Eliasberg, Naomi Foner, Jennifer Getzinger, Lyn Goldfarb, Randa Haines, Victoria Hochberg, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Matia Karrell, Maggie Kiley, Lynne Littman, Nancy Malone, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, and Becky Smith.

The non-profit AFI DWW+ program receives support from AT&T, Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, Universal Pictures, and Lifetime. Additional support comes from the Lewis Greenwood Foundation, Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment, The Nancy Malone Endowment provided by The Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, 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, digital, and media-making skills, bridge access to professional networks and place participants on an upward career trajectory.

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