STARZ #TakeTheLead Directors Program with AWD

View full announcement HERE.

Who is eligible?
Directors who meet all of the following requirements:

  • AWD members who are in good standing or who have submitted an application to join by Saturday, May 15th at 11:59pm PT
  • Have yet to direct an episode of television
  • Meet the program requirements (see below)

What are the program requirements?
Within the past five years, applicants will have directed at least one of the following:

  • A movie-of the-week for a broadcast, cable, or streaming platform.
  • An independent feature film that has been accepted to a current Academy Award-qualifying and/or top-tier festival (from the Festival List below) OR distributed on a major platform.
  • Directed at least 3 projects. Projects can be short films, webseries, music video and/or commercial/promotional content; at least one that was accepted and screened at a current Academy Award-qualifying and/or top-tier festival (from the Festival List below), distributed on, or commissioned by, a major platform.

What is the timeline to apply to the STARZ program?
Submission window is now May 1-23, 2021.
In June and July, applications are reviewed through an independent process culminating in selected candidates moving to the next round.
In August, STARZ executives will meet with twelve (12) select candidates and choose the six (6) final participants to meet with STARZ showrunners for further consideration.

How many directors will be selected?
Three (3) finalists will receive a commitment to staff.

Where can I find the application for the STARZ program?
AWD members can find a link to the application on the program’s CALENDAR PAGE. Please note that you must login to access this information.

What is needed for the application?
AWD members will be asked to submit the following materials:

  • LINK to member AWD page 
  • LINK to their reel(s) 
  • Title(s) of project(s) that meet(s) submission requirements including names of distribution platforms (ABC, Netflix, Lifetime, etc) or distribution company (Magnolia, EOne, Mar Vista, etc.) and dates released
  • LINK to projects listed above with passwords if applicable
  • Shadowing experience, if any
    • Please list: Name of Show, Name of Director you shadowed, Dates you shadowed, Phase of production (pre-, shoot, post-) for each gig.
  • Credit list (Including all on-set experience)
  • A personal statement (500 words max) that includes: 
    • What led you to become a director? What draws you to want to direct episodic television?
    • Which television style/format do you connect to the most and why?
    • What skills and experiences would make you a strong episodic director (e.g. life, education, and hands-on experience)? 
    • Tell us something about your background and values as they relate to your desire to direct an episode of a Starz show?

Can I apply if I am not a member of AWD?
Potential members must submit an application to join AWD by Saturday, May 15th at 11:59pm PT in order to apply to the STARZ program.


  • ANY current Academy Award-qualifying festival
  • AFI Fest (California)
  • Academy Of Canadian Cinema & Television [Genie] (Canada)
  • Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences [Student Academy Awards] (California)
  • African Diaspora International Film Festival (New York)
  • American Black Film Festival (Multiple)
  • Ann Arbor Film Festival (Michigan)
  • Aspen Shortsfest (Colorado)
  • Athens Int’l Film Festival (Ohio)
  • Atlanta Film Festival (Georgia)
  • Austin Film Festival (Texas)
  • Bamcinemafest (Brooklyn)
  • Bentonville Film Festival (Arkansas)
  • Berlin Int’l Film Festival (Germany)
  • Bfi London Film Festival (U.K.)
  • Black Harvest International Film Festival (Chicago)
  • BlackStar Film Festival (Pennsylvania)
  • Borscht Film Festival (Florida)
  • British Academy Of Film And Television Arts [Bafta] Awards (England)
  • Cannes Festival Int’L Du Film (France)
  • Cascade Festival of African Films (Oregon)
  • Chicago Int’l Children’s Film Festival (Illinois)
  • Chicago Int’l Film Festival (Illinois)
  • Cinequest Film Festival (California)
  • Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (France)
  • Cleveland International Film Festival (Ohio)
  • Cucalorus Film Festival (North Carolina)
  • DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival
  • Deauville American Film Festival (France)
  • Denver Film Festival (Colorado)
  • Edindocs (U.K.)
  • Encounters International Film Festival (U.K.)
  • Fantastic Fest (Texas)
  • Flickerfest International Short Films Festival (Australia)
  • Florida Film Festival (Florida)
  • Foyle Film Festival (Ireland)
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (North Carolina)
  • Guanajuato International Film Festival, Expresion En Corto (Mexico)
  • The Hamptons International Film Festival (New York)
  • Holly Shorts (California)
  • Hotdocs (Canada)
  • International Documentary Film Festival (Amsterdam)
  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic)
  • Krakow Film Festival (Poland)
  • Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland)
  • Los Angeles Film Festival (California)
  • Los Angeles Int’l. Short Film Festival (California)
  • Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (California)
  • Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
  • Los Cabos International Film Festival (Mexico)
  • London International Documentary Film Festival
  • Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
  • Maryland Film Festival (Maryland)
  • Melbourne Int’l Film Festival (Australia)
  • Montreal Festival Du Nouveau Cinema (Canada)
  • Montreal World Film Festival (Canada)
  • Morelia International Film Festival (Mexico)
  • Nashville Film Festival (Tennessee)
  • NewFest Film Festival (New York)
  • New Orleans Film Festival (Louisiana)
  • New York Film Festival (New York)
  • Nordisk Panorama – 5 Cities Film Festival (Five Nordic Countries)
  • North Carolina Black Film Festival
  • Outfest (California)
  • Outfest Fusion Film Festival (California)
  • Ottawa Int’l Animation Festival (Canada)
  • Overlook Film Festival (New Orleans)
  • Palm Springs Int’l Festival Of Short Films (California)
  • Pan African Film Festival (California)
  • Reel Sisters (New York)
  • Rhode Island International Film Festival (Rhode Island)
  • Rio De Janeiro International Short Film Festival (Brazil)
  • St. Louis Int’l Film Festival (Missouri)
  • San Francisco Int’l Film Festival (California)
  • San Sebastian Film Festival (Spain)
  • Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival (California)
  • Seattle International Film Festival (Washington)
  • Shortshorts Film Festival (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Siggraph (California)
  • Silverdocs/AFI Docs (Maryland/D.C.)
  • Slamdance Film Festival (Utah)
  • South By Southwest (Texas)
  • Sundance Film Festival (Utah)
  • Sydney Film Festival (Australia)
  • Tribeca Film Festival (New York)
  • True/False Film Festival (Missouri)
  • Toronto Film Festival (Canada)
  • Toronto Black Film Festival (Canada)
  • Uppsala Int’l Short Film Festival (Sweden)
  • Urbanworld Film Festival (New York)
  • Usa Film Festival – National Short Film & Video Competition (Texas)
  • Venice Int’l  Film Festival (Italy)

6 thoughts on “STARZ #TakeTheLead Directors Program with AWD

  1. Hi. It says “AWD members can find a link to the application on the program’s CALENDAR PAGE. Please note that you must login to access this information.” HOWEVER, I applied to be a member so I still cannot login… so I cannot access the application

    1. Hi Bears — Once you have been approved for membership and have paid your annual dues you’ll have access to the form.

  2. Hi Gabrielle — Thank you for reaching out. It is not possible to apply to the Starz program if the May 15th membership application deadline wasn’t met. We hope you will still join AWD and take advantage of our robust programming.

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