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Alliance of Women Directors Reveals Mentor Latina Directors Fellowship Class Of 2024

Following the success achieved by the Alliance of Women Directors with its Black Directors Advancement Initiative, the organization has launched the Mentor Latina Director Fellowship. Their #MentorLatinaDirectors Initiative is a fellowship program for current directing members who are Latina/x/e-identifying.

The fellowship’s Class of 2024 includes Melissa Balint; Evelyn Belasco; Maria Gabriela Cardenas; Marissa Chibás; Sophia Costanzo; Fiorella Vescovi Garcia; Saray Guidetti; Bettina Hanna; Silvia Lara; Eunice Levis; Gabriela Revilla Lugo; Paulina Manseau; Luisa Novo; Marcella Ochoa; Gabriela Paciel; JP Perez; Jessica Rae; Michelle Salcedo; Sacha Smith; Ann Valdés; Maria Valdez; Evette Vargas; and Donna Bonilla Wheeler.

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“The program was created and developed in response to a pressing need for much higher levels of equality and inclusion, specifically for Latina/x/e-identifying female directors in our industry. We trust this Fellowship will help eliminate barriers to access and success that have systematically excluded such directors. With these goals in mind, our Committee has deemed our first year #LeaveNoLatinaBehind,” said Jennifer Warren, Founder of Alliance of Women Directors.

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The Mentor Latina Director Fellowship is designed to foster meaningful relationships through tailored mentorship, guidance and networking with industry professionals. Fellows additionally receive monthly opportunities to participate in education and training, craft and artist workshops and salons, as well as career growth and development.

“We’re thrilled to introduce our latest cohort of 23 talented directors, a group brimming with potential and diverse experiences. Among them are seasoned mid-career professionals, boasting directorial credits across various TV and film platforms, poised to embark on their next ventures,” shared Melanie Mack, Executive Director of the Alliance of Women Directors.

She continued, “Central to our mission is fostering greater inclusivity and opportunity for Latina directors within the industry. Recent USC Annenberg inclusivity reports shed light on a stark reality: out of 1,784 directors of top-grossing films spanning from 2007 to 2022, only five were Latina. This glaring disparity underscores the urgent need for systemic change, and we’re dedicated to driving that change forward.

“Statistics confirm the need, desire and positive financial outcomes when women of diverse backgrounds and experiences are placed in the director’s chair. Their storytelling artistry and distinct points of view can benefit waiting audiences. A win-win for everyone,” said Donna Bonilla Wheeler, Mentor Latina Directors Chair and Board Member, Alliance of Women Directors.

The Alliance of Women Directors was founded in 1997 by alumnae of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, as a community of peers to share information and support one another’s career advancement. Today the AWD is an inclusive collective of professional women and gender nonbinary directors working together to affect positive, lasting change in the entertainment industry.

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