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Fox Launching Mentoring Program for Women Directors

Filmmaker Toolkit
by Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang
July 2, 2014 12:15 PM
15 Comments
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Nicole Bernard

Fox exec Nicole Bernard will spearhead a new initiative aimed at hiring more women directors at the film and TV studio. 

The Fox Global Directors Initiative will recruit twenty candidates for a five-week directors' lab, then select a group of standouts for "additional instruction" for another ten months, including "production support and funding for a Fox-branded short," according to Variety.

“To connect with viewers today, we need stories that represent the amazing range of experiences and voices in the real world," said Fox COO Joel Earley. "Along with writers, the vision of directors is key as they obviously bring those stories to life through their own lens." 

Only 6% of the top 250 movies of 2013 were directed by female filmmakers -- a decrease of 3 percentage points from the previous year. On TV, women make up 23 percent of creators, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, but still only 12-14% of directors by the DGA's count.

Fox Audience Strategies has been a supporter of the Athena Film Festival and I (Melissa) have had the opportunity to meet with Nicole Bernard and her terrific team to discuss with them their efforts to increase diversity across Fox. The fact that they are proactively looking to increase the opportunity for women directors is a terrific step in the right direction. Women and Hollywood will be one of the partners in this effort.

[via Variety]

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15 Comments

  • Jazzy J | July 24, 2014 7:24 PMReply

    This is Amazing!!! Is this open to women directors in the Caribbean?

  • Allison | July 22, 2014 2:22 PMReply

    Can I have a link to the application? Thank you!

  • Lesa B | July 15, 2014 2:52 PMReply

    Let's roll... !!

  • Kim Cummings | July 13, 2014 7:26 PMReply

    Hi, Melissa - this looks like a great program. I went to the website and it looks like to enter you have to be nominated by a nominating organization chosen by them. Women and Hollywood is listed as one of the nominating organizations and I'm curious how that is going to work. Will you be taking applications? Selecting from filmmakers you've met through the Athena Film Festival? Selecting filmmakers that you've covered in your articles? I'm sure I'm not the only one wishing for more info!

  • Nia Symone | July 11, 2014 3:48 PMReply

    Where do you apply to get in the program?

  • Kathy | July 8, 2014 11:00 PMReply

    Is this connected to ultra-Republican Fox News? If yes, then I don't rust it.

  • Rahsaana Ison | July 8, 2014 10:59 PMReply

    This was a great Article! Thank you so much for sharing. How can I get more information on being a part of this great movement. I have been trying to connect with others with the same mind frame and this seems to be a great way to do it. Thank you again sharing this is great news. Wow! I just read the comment below before I pressed the submit button. I total agree with what you are saying totally I didn't know all the facts. I will quote and share the thoughts of Loren E. Chadima below.

    why is Fox "helping" women directors make short films but giving men directors, with no credits, feature films to direct? Why do women need "Mentoring" and men get jobs? We don't need "help" making shorts. There are plenty of women Directors, you've highlighted them yourself, Melissa, who have directed plenty of material: award-winning shorts, features, docs, music videos, reality and they are more than capable and ready to be hired right now. What is really going to make a difference is when Fox is willing to commit to hiring women directors and they actually start hiring them.

    If this is the case... this may very well open doors that have been shut for far to long. In order for doors to be opened you must do something such as knock, turn the knob, or push. I am looking for a door.

  • Loren E. Chadima | July 4, 2014 11:00 AMReply

    My question - why is Fox "helping" women directors make short films but giving men directors, with no credits, feature films to direct? Why do women need "Mentoring" and men get jobs? We don't need "help" making shorts. There are plenty of women Directors, you've highlighted them yourself, Melissa, who have directed plenty of material: award-winning shorts, features, docs, music videos, reality and they are more than capable and ready to be hired right now. What is really going to make a difference is when Fox is willing to commit to hiring women directors and they actually start hiring them.

  • IGBO | July 3, 2014 5:46 PMReply

    @RACHEL FELDMAN. Your point is very valid, but I also think the reverse is often true. I often see the same people showing up in these different programs time and again. How often should they be allowed to participate in these programs before someone less established gets a chance? Perhaps they are the ones ill-suited for the job if after their participation in several development programs, they still can't get a foothold in the industry. It's important to look beyond one's level of experience and the length of their reel to select the candidates that can most benefit from the program.

  • Anjum Saad | July 3, 2014 5:05 PMReply

    I'm a stay home mom turned film director. I've already directed and produced couple of documentaries and a short film.
    I'm really looking forward to benefit from this program.

  • Fanny Veliz | July 3, 2014 4:51 PMReply

    I'm reluctant. I have more than 12 years experience as a director. I'm female and a minority. I'm actually touring the country with an award winning feature film right now. I've applied to several programs hosted by the networks and my experience has been that unless you know someone there they don't even acknowledge they received your application. And applying for these kinds of programs is no joke, it takes a long time and a lot of effort to put your materials and application together. Hopefully they're really committed to making a change and is not a gimmick.

  • Tery Wilson | July 3, 2014 6:58 AMReply

    This sounds awesome! I'm a female director in Atlanta, Ga. I shoot edit and direct my action drama here:
    youtu.be/QS182fA1eno

  • Mikki | July 2, 2014 10:59 PMReply

    This is great! Hope to get more info soon.

  • Ekwa | July 2, 2014 8:19 PMReply

    That's very exciting news indeed, bravo! Where can we find more information on this?

  • Rachel Feldman | July 2, 2014 3:41 PMReply

    Great news, Melissa and amazing that you will be part of the initiative. I believe that previous programs mistakenly created their mandate to elevate new directors with little experience and the truth is that episodic television is a fast moving operation, rife with pitfalls both skill-related and political. I believe it imperative to focus on MID CAREER directors for television programs, as only women with some previous experience in this milieu will be able to thrive, and grow our numbers. Bravo to you and to FOX!

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