Press

LENA WAITHE
TO DELIVER KEYNOTE
AT ANNUAL SHOWCASE FOR
AFI DIRECTING WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN

Eight New Directors to Unveil Their Films Created in
AFI's Groundbreaking Program for Women Directors

May 3 Event Is Presented by Lifetime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 25, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – The American Film Institute (AFI) will host its annual AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) Showcase on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Presented by Lifetime, the event provides an opportunity for the program's 2018 participants to showcase their work to an invitation-only audience of representatives and working artists from throughout the creative community. The opening keynote will be delivered by Emmy®-winning creator, writer and actor Lena Waithe.

A celebrated voice in film and television, Waithe made history in 2017 as the first African-American woman to win the Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, for MASTER OF NONE. She is the creator of the acclaimed series THE CHI, with additional credits including the films DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (2014) and STEP SISTERS (2018) as a producer, as well as onscreen roles in the series MASTER OF NONE and TRANSPARENT, and the film READY PLAYER ONE (2018).

The DWW Class of 2018 filmmakers in attendance will be: Beth de Araújo, Georgia Fu, Milena Govich, Tiffany Johnson, Katrelle Kindred, Nancy Mejía, Gandja Monteiro and Lorraine Nicholson. Bios are available here. Learn more about the films here.

The May 3 event will also introduce the newly selected DWW Class of 2019: Parisa Barani, Jessica Kaye, Shilpi Roy, Amber Sealey, Siyou Tan, Carly Usdin, Marielle Woods and Talia Zucker. Bios are available here.

As the official Showcase sponsor, Lifetime will continue its commitment to guarantee employment to DWW filmmakers through its Broad Focus initiative, including the Class of 2018 filmmakers. The initiative provides women with more opportunities to write, develop, produce and direct content for the network.

As a new Major Supporter of the Showcase, this year FIJI Water committed $100,000 to DWW with the goal of increasing the number of women working professionally as directors and showrunners in film and television. Support from the campaign provided crucial funds for DWW's female filmmaker education and mentorship programs.

About Lifetime
Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies. The critically acclaimed UnREALProject RunwayBring It!Married at First Sight, The Rap Game and Little Women franchises anchor the network's programming, in addition to its over 25 original movies annually that continue to define the TV movie genre. In 2015, Lifetime launched Broad Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers to make its content which totals over 450 original hours. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

About the AFI Directing Workshop For Women
Since its inception in 1974, the AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) has been dedicated to advancing the number of women working professionally as narrative screen directors. The workshop annually provides eight gifted directors with immersive training in screen directing, professional development resources and inroads to the industry — all at no cost to participants. With over 300 alumnae offered a continuum of support following completion of the program, the result is a robust network of female storytellers empowered to bring their voices to film and television in ever greater numbers — including QUEEN SUGAR director/producer Neema Barnette, HOMELAND executive producer/director Lesli Linka Glatter and UNREAL co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

The AFI Directing Workshop for Women receives generous support from FIJI Water, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, Lifetime, Universal Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additional support comes from Jean Picker Firstenberg, Linda Hope, Lynne and Mark Liss, the Nancy Malone Living Trust, Seed&Spark, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, the Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment, The Nancy Malone Endowment provided by The Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, and the many individual supporters committed to providing opportunities for women in the media arts. For more information visit: AFI.com/DWW.

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI's founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.



Media Contacts:  Stephanie Sweeney, 323.856.7871,
SSweeney@AFI.com,
twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI