AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women film


This AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women short film completed principle photography and is now completed! Shot over a period of four days in Santa Clarita, California, over 70 crew and cast members came together to make something special. Half of the crew for former military veterans who donated their time to make this short film possible. The writer and director of the film is a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.

AMERICAN GIRL is a film about a young spunky Guatemalan girl who is driven by her late father’s dream to become an American. Accompanied by a retired smuggler, the two set out on a dangerous 2,000 mile journey through Mexico to reach the American border. Together they must overcome ruthless drug smugglers, human traffickers, and the harsh desert.

But her journey doesn’t end there. The ending of the film reveals the sacrifices that immigrants make.

“The story is inspired by my father’s journey to America in his desire for a better life,” the writer and director of the film Rebecca Murga explains. “And when I learned about a young Guatemalan immigrant who joined the Marines and was then killed in Iraq before becoming a citizen, it all came rushing together. To me, the desire for freedom is the heart of the American spirit…and for many that spirit beats within them, regardless of where they are born.”


AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women to Be Showcased April 12

Ten directors from the class of 2015 will be featured at AFI Conservatory’s Directing Workshop for Women Showcase on April 12 at 7 p.m. at the DGA in Los Angeles.

Guest of honor and keynote speaker will be Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, co-creator and executive producer of Lifetime’s “Unreal” and AFI DWW 2012 alumna (in photo above). The event is presented by Lifetime, which, through its Broad Focus initiative, guarantees employment to all DWW graduates as of the class of 2015.

The DWW Showcase provides female directors the opportunity of presenting their work in front of an audience of industry representatives and working artists.

The 10 directors showcasing their short works this year will be Amy Barrett, Christine Boylan, Dime Davis, Claire Fowler, Mia Lidofsky, Erica Liu, Bella Monticelli, Rebecca Murga, Philiane Phang and Chelsea Woods.

The tuition-free workshop provides women, with three or more years of professional experience in the field, the opportunity to further their careers. By the end of the program, all participants must have complete a short film or series. The stated goal is to “learn by doing.”

Past graduates have gone on to work in the industry. They include Leslie Linka Glatter (class of 1982), who received PGA and DGA nominations this year for her work on “Homeland”; Sian Heder (class of 2005), who sold her Sundance 2016 competition premiere “Tallulah,” based on her DWW short “Mother,” to Netflix; and Shapiro.

The AFI DWW class of 2016 will also be featured during the showcase.