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Innovative Programs

AFI Conservatory’s Department of Innovative Programs brings the AFI’s non-degree, short-term and social impact programs under one roof and creates a space where technologists, innovators, storytellers, entrepreneurs and social justice changemakers, among others, can come together to collaborate, create and impact our industry and culture.

Through a range of learning opportunities – including the landmark AFI DWW program, Young Women in Film (YWIF) Intensive and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women, 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.

AFI DWW

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 Academy Award® 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.

YOUNG WOMEN IN FILM INTENSIVE

The nine-week filmmaking workshop is held on the AFI Campus in Los Angeles for female-identifying high school students from Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo County. Over the course of the workshop, students learn the art of filmmaking, with training in pitching, screenwriting, producing, production design, directing, cinematography and editing — all with state-of-the-art cinematic technology. Participants then work together in teams alongside AFI Conservatory Fellows and Alumni to create a series of short films that are screened for audiences on the AFI Campus at the conclusion of the program.

CINEMATOGRAPHY INTENSIVE FOR WOMEN

The AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women (CIW) is a tuition-free, four-day workshop designed for aspiring cinematographers committed to their journey toward a professional career as cinematographers, who have some on-set experience working in the field and are looking for additional training to help them advance in their education, craft and career.

Hands-on master classes in the fundamentals of cinematography constitute the core of the program, along with exposure to professional tools and techniques, appreciating and analyzing specific work crafted by professional women cinematographers, plus discussions about the current environment of the film industry and what it means to navigate such environments as women, nonbinary and historically underrepresented cinematographers. The goal of the program is to provide participants with a toolkit to secure on-set experience in the field and first-hand industry insights demonstrating the path to professional career success.

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