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The AFI DWW+ is a tuition-free program that educates traditionally underrepresented filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, providing hands-on instruction led by industry experts. Participants leave the program with the knowledge and tools necessary to best leverage their creative talents and achieve their career goals. Participants receive full AFI Alumni benefits, and their completed projects are screened at the DWW+ Showcase in front of a wide network of industry professionals to celebrate their progress as artists and continue the longstanding tradition of DWW+ supporting inclusive and transformative storytelling.

The AFI DWW+ was launched in 1974 as the Directing Workshop for Women, one of the first gender impact programs of its kind in the cinematic arts, as well as 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. DWW+ looks forward to celebrating its 50th year in 2024.

Past participants have broken barriers and gone on to great success, including Oscar® winner Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005), who wrote and directed the Academy Award®-winning film CODA; DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW Class of 1982), whose critically acclaimed work as a producer and director on HOMELAND earned her Emmy®, PGA and DGA Award nominations; Dime Davis (AFI DWW Class of 2015), who received a 2020 Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series for A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW; and Hanelle Culpepper (AFI DWW Class of 2002), who directed the record-breaking pilot of STAR TREK: PICARD, making her the first woman director and the first Black director to launch a new STAR TREK series in the franchise’s history.

“AFI taught me that directing is a state of curiosity and learning. The solving of problems is where the art lives.”

-Siân Hader (AFI DWW Class of 2005)

Other distinguished Alums include Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, 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, Becky Smith, Cicely Tyson, and Joanne Woodward. View full list of AFI DWW Alums here.

The DWW+ program is part of the AFI Conservatory’s Department of Innovative Programs. 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. Read more about Innovative Programs on

The AFI DWW+ program receives generous 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.