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Career Journeys of the Assistant Director: DGA Trainee program and Set-Life

  • 06 Apr 2024
  • 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Vagrants, 230 Somerville Ave., floor 2, Somerville, MA 02143
  • 2


  • Members of the Mass Production Coalition
  • Event panelists and guests

Join WIFVNE for this intimate conversation and networking event designed to help demystify the winding journeys Assistant Directors (AD)s take from Production Assistant (PA) to AD.  Let's learn about the various pathways!  Sandra Forman provides an overview of the DGA Trainee Program and the application process; Emma Barber tells of her experience prior to, during, and post DGA Trainee Program; local 2nd A.D. Katie Valovcin and 2nd 2nd A.D. Maggie Crawford share their experiences on union films and TV shows.  We're delighted to have WIFVNE member Sabrina Avilés, founder of the CineFest Latino Boston Film Festival, moderate the conversation. 

Our guests

Sandra Forman began her career working in HR during the early years of the A&E cable network. For many years, Sandra has been the Administrator of the Directors Guild of America Assistant Director Training Program, guiding an annually selected group of Trainees through the rigors of film, television and commercial production. Sandra is also the Administrator of the DGA Commercial Qualifications List accrediting Assistant Directors and Unit Production Managers for DGA membership in conjunction with the AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers).

Emma Barber, a Directors Guild of America (DGA) First Assistant Director (1st AD), has over two decades of experience across 50+ Film and Television Productions nationwide.  A Boston University alumna with a BS in Film & Television, she's also a graduate of the NYC DGA Trainee program. Actively involved with the DGA, most recently contributing on the Proposal’s Committee that led to the latest DGA Contract.  She volunteers for harm reduction initiatives, aiming to elevate mental health awareness and impact the industry's future.  Off set, she pursues personal growth through yoga and martial arts, currently pursuing her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certificate and a Purple Belt in Karate.

Maggie Crawford is a 2nd 2nd Assistant Director originally from Virginia.  After earning her days as a production assistant, she was accepted into the DGA in 2022. She has worked on television shows and films in New England for the past six years. Her credits include "I Care A Lot," "Kevin Can F*** Himself," Wonder Woman 1984, and "The Righteous Gemstones."

Katie Valovcin was born in Boston and has been in the film industry for over 10 years. She attended Film School at Chapman University and shortly after college got her start as a Production Assistant on a feature film.  After working as a PA for several years she joined the DGA.  Since then Katie has worked throughout the country as a Key 2nd AD.  She has assistant directed big studios films such as Little Women, White Noise, John Wick 3, and most recently Madame Web.

Our moderator

WIFVNE member Sabrina Avilés is an award-winning independent filmmaker, whose work has taken her throughout Latin America, Canada and Europe. During her 25+ year career, she has worked on many PBS programs, among them the six-hour Peabody award-winning series, Latino Americans. Currently, she is in production for her first feature-length documentary on the city of Chelsea, MA and its response to the pandemic.  In addition to her film production career, in 2016 Sabrina became the Executive Director of the Boston Latino International Film Festival. In 2022, Sabrina founded CineFest Latino Boston Film Festival.

Special thanks to WIFVNE Corporate Member VAGRANTS for hosting this event

This event is produced in partnership with WIFVNE member Clark Ave Productions

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