Prolific stuntwoman and actress Zoë Bell—whose onscreen credits include Death Proof and Whip It, and who’s doubled for actresses like Uma Thurman and Cate Blanchett in major Hollywood films—has just been inducted into the American Film Institute’s prestigious Directing Workshop For Women. Along with seven other women—Parisa Barani, Jessica Kaye, Shilpi Roy, Amber Sealey, Siyou Tan, Carly Usdin, and Talia Zucker—Bell will receive several months of teaching and instruction in the art of directing from the institute, tuition free.
The AFI has been running the program since 1974, as part of an effort to support and shepherd new female directing talent into the industry. It’s since served more than 300 women looking to hone their craft and forge connections that might help them move up in a business that skews ridiculously male in its hiring choices. Bell is probably the most famous name in her current cohort; she got her start as a stuntwoman on Xena: Warrior Princess when she was just 17 and recently appeared in Iron Man 3 and Thor: Ragnarok.