The American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women has created an “Executive Circle,” consisting of 13 execs who will act as mentors to filmmakers there.
The Executive Circle consists of Lauren Abrahams, VP, Sony; Amanda Brown, VP, Paramount; Daria Cercek, VP, Fox; Tonia Davis, director of development, Disney; Maradith Frenkel, VP, Universal; Niija Kuykendall, VP, Warner Bros.; Annie Laks, VP, Paramount Animation; Alana Mayo, CE, Paramount; Anikah McLaren, VP, Universal; Chantal Nong, VP, Warner Bros.; Sara Scott, Director of Development, Universal; Alison Small, VP, Paramount/Paramount Insurge; and Erin Westerman, VP, Good Universe
They will provides mentorship to participants both in DWW and the AFI Conservatory. The women will offer guidance about the studio system, how projects are greenlit, advice on taking notes, and the role of the studio executive. This program is part of an industry commitment to lessen the gap of female directors in film and TV.
Since the workshop’s inception, more than 275 women have been trained in screen directing. Among its alumnae are Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Dyan Cannon, Naomi Foner, Randa Haines, Victoria Hochberg, Lesli Linka Glatter, Cicely Tyson and Joanne Woodward.