AFI Directing Workshop for Women Reveals Class of 2020


THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: AFI Directing Workshop for Women Reveals Class of 2020

2:13 PM PST 1/16/2019 by Gregg Kilday

As part of the program, launched in 1974, each filmmaker will make a short film.

Eight filmmakers have been selected to take part in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. They are Robin Cloud, Revati Dhomse, Ashley Eakin, Tiffany Frances, Marie Jamora, Bridget Moloney, Lara Panah-Izadi and Nicole Taylor-Roberts.

Launched in 1974, the filmmaker-training program offers several months of tuition-free film education, culminating in the production of a short film. The films will premiere at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in 2020.

“AFI has led the conversation about the need for more female directors since the Directing Workshop for Women opened its doors over 40 years ago,” Lauren Ludwig, director, AFI DWW, said Wednesday in announcing the workshop's selection. “The rising filmmakers in this program embody the Institute’s active, enduring steps to create change, and we are excited to see the stories from this year’s class come alive on the screen.”

Recent participants in the program include Amber Sealey, who will debut her DWW short film How Does It Start at the Sundance Film Festival, and Pippa Bianco, whose debut feature Share, based on her Cannes-winning DWW short of the same name, will also premiere at Sundance.

Four participants from the Class of 2018 have gone on to direct episodes of television: Milena Govich (Chicago MedChicago Fire), Tiffany Johnson (BoomerangDear White People), Nancy Meija (Vida) and Gandja Montiero (Vida). DWW alumna Dime Davis was recently tapped to helm the pilot of Lena Waithe and Halle Berry’s BET series Boomerang.
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'Cabbie Mamis' at Hispanicize 2018 (#Hispz18)

‘Cabbie Mamis’ a comedy pilot about the Afro-Latin experience in NYC, written by Nikki Taylor-Roberts, brought the house down in the New Normal Reading Series. The event was hosted by Maylen Calienes, founder of Latino Filmmakers Network, and Floyd Reeves founder of Broken Barriers Productions  at the 2018 Hispanicize 2018 (#Hispz18)! The showcase champions diversity in storytelling.


GRAND PRIZE WINNER: WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Spring 2018 Winners

WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Spring 2018 Winners

By wescreenplayJuly 20, 2018

Thank you to all the amazingly talented writers who submitted to this season of Diverse Voices and shared your story. Together, we raised $3,327 for ARRAY – a nonprofit dedicated to the amplification of independent films by people of color and women filmmakers globally.Diverse Voices strives to provide a contest that is focused on promoting and encouraging diverse voices in Hollywood. The contest encourages stories that are told from perspectives that are often underrepresented in Hollywood today. Past winners have signed with Industry Entertainment, Gotham Group, and Heroes and Villians.

Every finalist was so incredibly strong that narrowing it down was incredibly difficult for the WeScreenplay team, the judges, and the jurors. The top scripts were read by our amazing jury:

Daniela Gonzalez, Circle of Confusion 
Circle of Confusion is best known for producing the mega-hit The Walking Dead. Clients have also worked on features like Get Out and Spider-Man as well as TV hits like Game of Thrones and Black-ish.

Jermaine Johnson, Zero Gravity
Zero Gravity Management clients have worked on features like Pulp Fiction and Jumanji and television shows like Stranger Things and American Horror Story.

Santa Sierra, TV Writer
Santa Sierra is a TV writer who is working on some of the coolest shows on television, including Narcos.

Jewerl Ross, Silent R Management
Jewerl Ross has clients who have written Academy Award-winning Moonlight and the mega-hit Pixar film Coco.

And so, without further ado, the Diverse Voices winners:

The Grand Prize Winner

A Girl from Haiti written by Nicole Taylor-Roberts

The tense and emotional story is about Salome, an outspoken 17-year old-Haitian girl, who awaits the day she can join her dad in Miami, but she has to make that trip sooner than expected when a massive earthquake turns her life and country upside down in an instant. Now in order to escape what has become a tragic paradise, she’ll have to journey from safety to adulthood with the only people she has left — a murderer and a thief. This is not your average coming of age story.

And a few excerpts from the judges on the Grand Prize Winner:

“The writing is beautiful and takes us to a new world in a completely immersive way. The script is a page turner that delivers with massive emotional punches.”

“This is a highly original and absolutely captivating screenplay that offers a strongly defined central protagonist.”

Please join us in extending a huge congratulations to these incredible winners. We’re so excited for what’s next!

For all the latest from WeScreenplay, be sure to follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

© 2018 WeScreenplay. | A Red Ampersand Company 


"These Stunning Images Show the Beauty of Black America in the Place You'd Least Expect" By Zak Cheney-Rice September 02, 2015

These Stunning Images Show the Beauty of Black America in the Place You'd Least Expect

By Zak Cheney-Rice | Sept. 2, 2015

For 26-year-old Joshua Kissi, what stands out most is fear.

Not his own. The Brooklyn-based artist and photographer grew up around the Bronx public housing facilities that constitute one of New York City's poorest zip codes. It's the fear from the people who've never actually walked these project hallways that he's concerned with.

"All the ills and wills of America are located in the projects," Kissi told Mic in an interview. "People get scared of the them because of perceptions they have. They see artists like Nas rapping about them. They see the drug dealers in movies like Clockers. But there's all types of people who live here — old people, kids, working people, people just trying to make it."

These people are the characters who populate Slumflower, the sumptuously rendered short film Kissi and a network of close collaborators have spent the past two years crafting.

Source: Street Etiquette

The film premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and it weaves a heartbreaking narrative out of a day in the life of an imaginative young boy from the projects.


Source: Street Etiquette


Source: Street Etiquette

But its conceit is rooted in a simple premise. Two years ago, a visit to his old neighborhood prompted some questions in Kissi's mind: What would it take to alter perceptions of these spaces that many people write off as "poverty-stricken" and "dangerous"? What if everyone who lived there looked different — a wardrobe change, perhaps?


The last idea clicked. As a man who rose to prominence blogging about fashion under the moniker Street Etiquette, Kissi, along with his friend, collaborator and business partner, Travis Gumbs, found himself in a unique position to comment on the role of clothing in shaping public perceptions, especially for black men.

"What if all the men here were wearing suits?" he tells Mic. "Would people be less afraid of the projects? Would they care more?"

Source: Street Etiquette

Of course, Kissi is acutely aware of the limitations of this line of thinking. As our nation grapples with an increasingly visible epidemic of violence against black men and women, the central lie of respectability politics — the notion that presenting oneself as a mannered paragon of mainstream (white) values will protect black one from racial violence — is laid bare. 

Sandra Bland's degree and new job did not protect her from being thrown into the Texas jail cell where she eventually died. Martese Johnson's academic accomplishments did not save him from a merciless beating near the University of Virginia campus.

"I realized as I got older that none of that really mattered," Kissi says.

Source: Street Etiquette

But that's sort of the point. Slumflower's ultimate commentary is that the beauty and resilience of black life persists, even in the most unlikely spaces. It insists on the black imagination's capacity to see brighter days ahead, within and outside of the literal and figurative "boxing in" of life in the slums. 

Perhaps most importantly, it asks viewers to reckon with how they apply their empathy, to whom and why.

"I want [this film] to be a conversation starter for everybody," Kissi says. "We may not be providing all the answers. But we want all people to be in on figuring it out."

Slumflower will be screened publicly in New York City for the first time on Sept. 10 at the Brooklyn Historical Society. It will be available for streaming at the following day.

By Zak Cheney-Rice

Editor, senior writer, The Movement

© 2018 Mic Network Inc. All rights reserved.


Quoted in Hollywood survival compilation book from Ms. In The Biz.

Endorsed by Mena Suvari (American Beauty), and Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black), and yours truly: "Thriving in Hollywood! Tenacious Tales and Tactics" from Ms. in the Biz. Featured in PopCults and 


Actress, Producer and Writer Helenna Santos, and co-author Alexandra Boylan complied a book to encourage and advise folks along in their Hollywood pursuits. The book is now available on and Kindle and elsewhere online.

Thank you to Marcy Clark of Marcy Clark PR