New School News

A Changing Field: Women Fill the Directors’ Shoes


In celebration of Women’s History Month, The New School hosts an event inspired by the recent transitions in a field long dominated by men: directing. A panel of five women at the top of their directing careers in film, television, and theater will discuss their current perspectives of the field, why they do what they do, and how it led to their success at “Changing Landscapes: An Evening with Female Directors.” The event, sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation and The New School for Drama, will be held at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium on Thursday, March 14, at 7:00 p.m.

Claudia Weill—a film, television and theater director who will speak at the event—had her own commentary on the conventional expectations of women in directors’ roles. “After saying, ‘We really need to stop talking about women directors,’ an interviewer proceeded to ask if I had kids and if so, how that worked with being a director,” she said. “Would he ask a man that? Like, ‘Mr. Scorsese, does having children interfere with your work as a director?’ Having a sense of humor is so important when you are trying to challenge assumptions!”

The evening will include presentations from directors Neema Barnette (The Cosby Show, Civil Brand); Liz Diamond (Futura and Crooked); Leigh Silverman (Chinglish, Well); Rose Troche (Go Fish, Six Feet Under, Law and Order); and Claudia Weill (Girlfriends, The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir, HBO’s Girls).

According to recent Directors Guild of America (DGA) statistics, men currently direct 95 percent of feature films, and 85 percent of the more than 3,100 episodes produced in last year’s network and cable television season. Although the disparity is clear, a generation of women is actively working to change the directorial landscape. Directors during this event will examine how the groundwork is being laid for a new game to be played in the business.

Responding to these DGA’s statistics, author, blogger, and the event’s moderator Melissa Silverstein said, “Women make up half the population and buy half the movie tickets, and yet we still do not see enough stories from women’s points of views and we also do not see enough stories about women. The one message I hear from women directors is to keep going, to not give up, and I so admire and thank them, because I believe our world is a richer place where all people’s experience are validated and celebrated.”

The event, which will feature personal stories and career advice from the attending directors, is open to SAG-AFTRA performers and New School students, faculty, staff and alumni. Can’t make it? The event will also be streamed live online. To watch the panel, go to




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