Fox Filmmakers Lab hosts 25 AFI alumnae as part of broad initiative to increase opportunities for female film directors


Fox and the American Film Institute have selected 25 of the most dynamic new voices in Hollywood to participate in the Fox Filmmakers Lab, a mentoring program designed to increase the number of female directors working in the industry. The group consists of alumnae of the AFI Conservatory and the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, and the Lab will allow each of them to develop a short film concept based on Fox’s franchise titles, such as “Alien,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Predator” and more, providing the necessary experience to work on more major studio films as they progress in their careers.

“The dearth of female directors is not a matter of passion or talent,” said 20th Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider when the partnership was announced in September. “Instead, it’s often a question of access and resources. We’re excited to offer these to talented women filmmakers who then can build upon this practical work experience.”

The directors will spend the spring working closely with 20th Century Fox to develop their material and eventually pitch franchise or reboot ideas to Fox executives. The studio will then choose one or more of the filmmakers to make their concepts into short films. The program allows participants to gain critical experience in the action and science fiction genres, in which female voices are often underrepresented, clearing the way for future work on large-scale studio productions.

The filmmakers will be able to add the projects to their portfolios and pitch Fox feature films unrelated to the shorts in the future.

“AFI believes that the future of this American art form is a true symphony of voices,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “This landmark collaboration with Fox [will] impact the art and entertainment landscape in a profound way.”

The partnership with AFI continues a long tradition across 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses to support and develop the next generation of storytellers, particularly those from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film and television industry. The company has launched several programs to bring new voices to light in Hollywood, including the Global Directors Initiative and the FOX Writers Intensive, and is a key partner of Ghetto Film School, a nonprofit that teaches filmmaking to diverse young students in historically underserved communities in New York and Los Angeles.

Learn more about the Fox Filmmakers Lab, including the full list of AFI alumnae selected.

A version of this post originally appeared on 21st Century Fox’s Social Impact blog.