20th Century Fox, AFI Partner on Female Directors Initiative

The Hollywood Reporter

In 2015, 9 percent of the top 250 domestic grossing movies were directed by female filmmakers. In light of statistics like that, 20th Century Fox and the American Film Institute are partnering on an initiative that hopes to help increase the numbers of female directors working on studio films.

Under the new project, alumnae of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women will have the opportunity to direct short films based on the studio's film franchises, which include the Alien, Independence Day and Planet of the Apes series.

With access to Fox's intellectual property, the new partnership is meant to provide female directors with the opportunity to create samples of their work in genres where female filmmakers are traditionally not represented: science fiction and action.

"The dearth of female directors is not a matter of passion or talent," said 20th Century Fox CEO Stacey Snider, who made the announcement today. "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."

AFI president Bob Gazzale added, "AFI believes that the future of this American art form is a true symphony of voices. We have been committed to this issue from our founding, and we look forward to this landmark collaboration with Fox to impact the art and entertainment landscape in a profound way."

Thirty-five to 50 graduates will be selected for an introduction to the terms of the initiative. Ten finalists will be chosen to present their pitches to Fox, at which point one or more filmmakers will be picked to make their concepts into short films.

Read more: The Black List for Female Directors? New Survey to "Shine a Spotlight" on Rising Talent (Exclusive)