Alumna Jessica Shields '18 Selected to Participate in the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women

BY Nina Mahesh, February 18, 2020

Alumna Jessica Shields ’18 has been selected for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women Class of 2021. The selected participants began their tuition-free 16-month training in January and will make a short film as the culmination of the program.


The AFI Directing Workshop for Women is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women and gender non-binary artists working professionally as narrative screen directors. Since its inception in 1974, the DWW has graduated over 300 alumnae, creating a robust network of storytellers empowered to lend their voices to film and television in ever greater numbers. 


Jessica D. Shields is an Atlanta native, Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary writer and filmmaker. She is a 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellow, the recipient of the 2019 Humanitas Prize's Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship and a mentee in the 2019 Women in Film Mentor Program. She is a Film Independent Project Involve Screenwriting Fellow alumna and participated in the Moving Picture Institute Pilot Workshop in 2018. Her pilot Rue Pigalle was a finalist for both the Nantucket Film Festival Showtime Tony Cox Screenwriting Competition and IFP No Borders (2017). Shields was previously nominated for the Humanitas Comedy Fellowship in 2016 and is an Alfred P. Sloan Treatment winner. 


Her work has advanced in competitions and development labs including the Sundance Episodic and Screenwriting Labs, the Sundance Sloan Commissioning Grant, the Austin Film Festival, the Tribeca Sloan Filmmaker Fund, the Women in Film/The Black List and MACRO/The Black List Episodic Labs, among others. Shields received her MFA in Film: Screenwriting and Directing from Columbia University and is an alumna of Vanderbilt University.