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The Alliance of Women Directors (AWD) is an American 501c(3) nonprofit organization created to support education and advocacy for women directors in film, television, and new media.[2][3] The AWD, established in 1997, has over 250 members and is based in Los Angeles.[3]

Alliance of Women Directors
Alliance of Women Directors Logo
MottoVision Focus Action!
Formation1997 (1997)
PurposeEducation, support and advocacy for women directors in the entertainment industry
Executive Director
AnnaLea Rawicz Arnold
Jennifer Warren
Stacy Adamski, Marcy Boyle, Nikki Braendlin, Sarah Bullion, Christianna Carmine, Lagueria Davis, Emily Dell, C.M. Landrus, Vickie Sampson[1]



The AWD works to support and promote the work, visibility, and professional development for female directors[4] through a variety of programs including screenings,[5][6] educational events,[7][8][9] and industry parties[10] both for their members,[11] and the general public.

The Alliance offers a "TV Shadowing Program" providing opportunities for new directors to learn from experienced directors at work.[3] The AWD is a nominator for the Fox Global Directors Initiative[12] and an allied organization of the Women Filmmakers Initiative.[13]

The AWD helps its members make professional connections. In 2014, Maria Burton was hired as director of A Sort of Homecoming [14] when the film's producer consulted the AWD to find a suitable candidate.[15] In 2008, Victoria Rose Sampson won a competition for her film, Need for Speed, after being notified about the contest via the Alliance.[16]


According to their press kit, the Alliance believes in "foster[ing] a community of professionals to advance the art, craft and visibility of women directors in the world of film, television and new media" and promotes the idea that it is "vital that stories are told from all perspectives".[17] Eleonore Dailly, co-chair of the AWD, in an interview with Elle magazine, described the group's goals as, "debunk[ing] this myth that there aren't enough female directors. There are highly trained female directors who can handle thrillers and action films just like male directors can handle romantic comedies."[18]

Director Maria Burton was the co-chair of the Alliance for six years. Describing the problem to the LA Daily News, Burton said "through all the years, through all the genres, in front and behind the camera, women are vastly underrepresented."[19] Speaking as an AWD board member, director Jacqui Barcos told The Huffington Post on the lack of women-directed films at Cannes, "complex dramas [...] tend to be difficult to finance in the U.S. If they are complex, the only way to get them financed is to have a big-name director, because then the investors are assured it'll be a masterpiece. And many of the most talented female directors are still relatively unproven, so investors don't want to take a chance."[20] Similarly, Barcos told Variety that it was important to demonstrate that "a woman director can deliver a commercially successful film that is outside the romantic comedy ghetto".[2]

Membership and organizationEdit

Currently, AWD membership is over 250,[21] including Eleonore Dailly,[18] Judy Chaikin,[22] director-producer Hilari Scarl,[3] Alexis Krasilovsky, Jen McGowan, Debra Granik,[23] Mimi Leder, Betty Thomas, Bethany Rooney, and Lesli Linka Glatter.[21] To qualify for AWD membership, an applicant must be a woman who has directed a publicly aired feature film, TV episode, TV movie, documentary, commercial, or short film.[3] Members pay annual dues to support the group's work.[24] The AWD is Chairperson, currently Jennifer Warren.[1] It has a six-person board, a smaller advisory board, as well as honorary members and emeritus board members.[3] In March 2019, the AWD board appointed AnnaLea Rawicz Arnold as its first Executive Director.[25]


On April 28, 2016, the AWD held its first Alliance of Women Directors Awards ceremony at the Paley Center for Media (Beverly Hills). Television producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash) and Ilene Chaiken (Empire) were honored for expanding opportunities for women in directing and other behind the camera roles in the television industry.[26] Producers Chiara Tilesi and Albert Berger of the We Do It Together foundation were also honored, and director Jen McGowan (Kelly & Cal) was awarded the AWD Breakout Award.[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Alliance of Women Directors Board of Directors". Alliance of Women Directors. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Friend, David (November 29, 2009). "Women directors eye Oscar". Variety. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Alliance of Women Directors About Page". Alliance of Women Directors. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  4. ^ "Resources: Organizations Concerned with Women in Television and Film On-Line". Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, San Diego State University. Archived from the original on 2015-03-28. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Festivals & Screenings". Women Behind the Camera. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  6. ^ "Runoff". LA Film Festival. Film Independent. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  7. ^ "New Models of Distribution Panel". City Pulse. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  8. ^ "Alliance of Women Directors Film Festival & Distribution Seminar". Film Specific. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  9. ^ Bollinger, Lee; O'Neill, Carole (2008). Women in Media Careers: Success Despite the Odds. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-761-84133-3. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  10. ^ Burton, Maria (January 23, 2009). "Sundance Dispatch: A Celebration of Women Filmmakers". Women and Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "AWD Presents". Alliance of Women Directors. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  12. ^ "Fox Global Directors Initiative". Fox Audience Strategy. Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  13. ^ Smith, Stacy L.; Pieper, Katherine; Choueiti, Marc. "Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities for Independent Women Filmmakers". USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Rothman, Lily (February 6, 2014). "These Are the Best Unproduced Screenplays with Female Protagonists". Time. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  16. ^ Harley, Bryan (December 16, 2008). "H-D Contest Winners Get Hollywood Debut". Motorcycle USA. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  17. ^ "Press/Media Kit" (pdf). Alliance of Women Directors. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Moss, Rebecca (June 30, 2014). "What Does a Female-Directed Blockbuster Look Like?". Elle. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  19. ^ Lowman, Rob (February 18, 2015). "Women still making few inroads in directing field". Los Angeles Daily News. MediaNews Group. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  20. ^ Satran, Joe (April 19, 2015). "Cannes' Female Director Problem Highlighted By 2012 Selections". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  21. ^ a b McNary, Dave (30 March 2016). "Greg Berlanti, Ilene Chaiken to Be Honored by Alliance of Women Directors". Variety. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Directors: From Stage to Screen and Back Again". The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  23. ^ "Alliance of Women Directors Members". Alliance of Women Directors. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  24. ^ "Alliance of Women Directors - Join". Alliance of Women Directors. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  25. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (March 1, 2019). "Alliance of Women Directors Names AnnaLea Rawicz Arnold as First Executive Director". TheWrap. The Wrap News Inc. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  26. ^ Lawrence, Derek (29 April 2016). "Arrow producer: 'Diversity is not a burden, it's just smart business'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  27. ^ Robb, David (28 April 2016). "A Call To Action As Chaiken, Berlanti Honored at Inaugural Alliance of Women Directors Awards". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 1 May 2016.

External linksEdit