HOLLYWOOD — The American Film Institute’s (wwwafi.com) Directing Workshop for Women program will screen eight short films on May 6 at the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles. The films are the end result of an immersive year long fellowship conducted each year by the AFI. The program’s emphasis is on women in the industry transitioning into the role of director. All of the women must have at least seven year’s experience within the film industry to qualify.
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s Sequin Raze, starring Ashley Williams, Frances Conroy and Anna Camp, has already been sold to a major cable network and is being developed as a series for the small screen. The resentment and oppression stemming from being forced into marriage at age 10 is portrayed by Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo in Catherine Dent’s Silk.
Rumer Willis stars in Lisanne Sartor’s Six Letter Word, which tells the harsh tale of the depth of a mother’s love for her son. Two films feature young children: Lauren Ludwig’s Burn Brightly is an off-beat love story about a boy allergic to the sun and Juliana Penaranda-Loftus’ Learning to Fly is about the innocence and imagination of a child in contrast with the harsh reality of life in urban America.
Pictured, Top: Sarah Gertrude Shapiro,
Shaz Bennett, Catherine Dent,
Bottom: Stephanie Martin, Juliana Peñaranda-Loftus,
Antoneta Kastrati, Lauren Ludwig
Antoneta Kastrati’s She Comes in Spring speaks to deep personal memory as it deals with the ravages of war. Shaz Bennett’s Alaska is a Drag is the story of a boy whose dreams of being an international superstar are hard fought working in a small town fish cannery. Finally, Stephanie Martin’s Wild Horses stars Mireille Enos, Brooke Shields and Barbara Tarbuck, who work together to bring awareness to the brutality of wild horse roundups in the American West.
The Keynote address comes from Ava Duvernay, winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere. DuVernay is currently at work on her documentary on Venus Williams for ESPN Films and just finished a film for Prada.