Amanda Mae Meyncke on Tuesday, Aug. 28th
This week film journalist and filmmaker Amanda Mae Meyncke takes a look at the uphill battle women directors face in Hollywood through the lens of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women and her own personal experience. First up: the DWW through the eyes of one of its current participants.
Women directors make up less than 10% of all working directors in Hollywood, and the AFI Directing Workshop for Women has been doing its steady best to change that number. Since the program’s inception in Los Angeles in 1974, there’s been plenty of famous faces in the ranks, and a high percentage of the alumna have moved on to directing features, television shows and creating their own singular works.
Lauren Ludwig is the prime example of a women director who doesn’t take no for an answer, and makes things happen without waiting for the perfect moment. One of the eight women chosen to undertake the AFI Directing Workshop for Women this year, she’s an accomplished playwright, radio and theatre director as well as a writing coach who has won numerous awards for her theatrical work. Her short film Burns Brightly, created during the workshop, finished production this summer. We recently caught up with Ludwig to catch a glimpse of what the program was like on the inside.
The question of why there are so few female directors working in Hollywood is a complicated one, and Ludwig believes that the problem begins for many female directors in film school when more forceful, and often male, voices are rewarded with attention, while women may be afraid of speaking up, or discouraged. She acknowledges that the problem is a systemic one and that there is no clear-cut solution to getting women into positions of authority within the industry.
“Women need to be told they are storytellers and encouraged to tell those stories,” said Ludwig.