SeriesFest – a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the art of episodic storytelling – is partnering with Shondaland to launch their Women Directing Mentorship initiative.

The initiative will give aspiring women directors the opportunity to shadow a director for an episode of a Shondaland production.

Submissions are now open until March 4, 2019.


Submissions Open Today, November 29, 2018

Denver, Colo. (November 29, 2018) – As part of its ongoing commitment to support and inspire the work of female directors and creators, SeriesFest organizers announced today an expansion of their “Featuring Women” platform through a new mentorship initiative with Shondaland, prolific storytelling company founded by Shonda Rhimes. Through this partnership, SeriesFest will launch their first-ever Women Directing Mentorship initiative, anchored with the unique opportunity to shadow a director for an episode of a Shondaland production. Submissions are now open on and close on March 4, 2019. The winner will be announced in June 2019 at SeriesFest: Season 5.

SeriesFest founders Randi Kleiner and Kaily Smith Westbrook said: “At SeriesFest, our mission is to support all artists working on serial content. Knowing that there are far too few working women behind the camera today, we felt empowered to focus our efforts on an initiative that could help support emerging female directors. We are thrilled to launch our Women Directing Mentorship as the next step in the evolution of our Featuring Women platform and can’t think of a better partner for this inaugural year than Shondaland. Shonda Rhimes changed television landscape and continues to be a leading force as she and her company redefine representation on both sides of the camera and we are honored to be creating this incredible opportunity with them.”

“Shondaland has long been known to defy industry standards through dynamic female characters, but we have also always felt it was important to have equal representation behind the camera. To have talent and sets that reflect the world we live in has always seemed natural,” said Shonda Rhimes. “We’re happy to partner with SeriesFest on this mentorship initiative to continue providing opportunities for women directors.”

In conjunction with the annual SeriesFest festival, the year-round non-profit has developed multiple platforms to support creators. Other new initiatives in 2018 include the Jan Marino Scholarship, developed to support women over age 55 enrolled in the Stephens College M.F.A. in Television and Screenwriting program, and the Forward Impact Project, designed in partnership with the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) to help finance, produce, release, scale and build an audience for 12 select independent series deemed ready for development and production. For more information about these and other SeriesFest year-round platforms and initiatives visit:

SeriesFest ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the art of episodic storytelling. With year-round initiatives and professional development opportunities focused on diverse and under-served voices, education programs for students ages 10-18, and an annual festival which gives emerging artists a platform and place for discovery, SeriesFest is where new voices and storytellers have found a home. SeriesFest: Season 5 will take place June 21-26, 2019 in Denver, Colorado – the birthplace of cable television. With a musical performance and network premiere at the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and six days of in-competition screenings, panels, and network sneak peeks and premieres, the festival showcases compelling and creative content while celebrating television history and engaging in meaningful dialogue about serialized storytelling. SeriesFest is collecting submissions now through March 4, 2019 for Season 5 competitions. Visit for more information on competition categories, key dates, entry fees, guidelines and prizes.

Shondaland is the pioneering storytelling company founded by Shonda Rhimes. Shondaland, under the leadership of Rhimes and producing partner Betsy Beers, is behind award-winning series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “For The People” and “Station 19.” Shondaland made the unprecedented move to Netflix where the company will produce content exclusively for the internet entertainment service. operates as a part of the Hearst Digital Media Network and is an inclusive destination which features in-depth interviews, emotional and relatable essays, and smart unexpected culture coverage.