For Lauren Ludwig, it’s a dream come true.
The 30-year-old Fayetteville native is one of only eight women who were selected to participate in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. The Los Angeles-based program works to improve the number of female directors nationally, a fairly low statistic.
The program works like this: selected applicants take classes, free of charge, at the American Film Institute for three weeks. After that, the women will prepare and shoot a film for which they have written the script; this process lasts six months. Then, the applicants will work on finishing their films, and will screen them six months later. Altogether, it’s a one-year program that requires a lot of energy and dedication.
Ludwig just recently finished up her third and final week of classes, which included both art and business classes.
“They really give you a crash-course on every aspect of filmmaking,” Ludwig said.
The program trains students to enter the professional world of filmmaking, Ludwig said. To do this, she took classes in editing, digital story-telling and learning how to read a visual image.
“Some of it’s very artistic, and some of it’s very statistical,” she said. Ludwig said one business-related class she took was on how to pitch a film or script idea to potential employers.
The three weeks of classes culminates in a day where students film a scene from their written script in four hours, and then edit it in four hours, a process Ludwig described as being incredibly quick.
“It’s a learning experience,” Ludwig said. She said this short day of both filming and editing was an eye-opener that allowed her to learn what she likes and what she doesn’t like, and how she will approach things in the future while filming her movie.
Ludwig’s film is titled “Burn Brightly” and is about a 15-year-old boy, Andy Shaw, who has a genetic condition where he is allergic to the sun, that is, his body can’t repair UV light damage done to it. Shaw falls in love with a much older woman who jogs by his window every day.