The AFI Conservatory has canceled the 2022 class of its directing workshop for women due to the coronavirus pandemic. The program, which has trained more than 350 women filmmakers since 1974, will continue to teach its current class, although much of their training has been postponed until next year.
“What makes applicants like me angry is that they canceled the program weeks after the application process was completed after hundreds of applicants like me spent months completing their long list of requirements,” one applicant told resourcingstrategies. “This was the week they were supposed to notify who made it to the first round, but instead they sent an email that was devastating to say the least.”
The AFI Fest winners list includes “Wolfwalker”, “76 Days”.
In an email to applicants in 2022, Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EPP of the American Film Institute, wrote, “As an industry, film and television production has experienced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we progress toward a safe return to work, the way forward is far from safe. After careful consideration, we write to you with deepest disappointment that we have made the difficult decision not to enroll a DWW class for 2022. We plan to use this time to focus on delivering on our promise to the current class who have had to adjust as production times continue to be postponed through 2021 and are carefully considering the future of the DWW program, including a possible expansion of his mandate to bring untold and under-narrated stories to the screen.
“Thank you for your understanding and for believing in the value of the program as we do. You will receive a full refund of the fees associated with your application. We also want to acknowledge that you spent the time and energy scripting, creating lookbooks, writing essays, and making application videos. In recognition of your efforts, you will not be charged an admission fee for your next application if you apply for an AFI program in the future. We will be in touch with you in the near future and update you as we carefully consider what the DWW program will look like in the future. We will also be hosting a series of DWW Alumnae Q&A next year and you will be invited to these events. Until then, we look forward to a time when we can welcome a new class of exciting filmmakers like you. “