Since its beginnings in 1973 as Women in Film (WIF) Los Angeles, WIF has actively used its platform to advocate for women who work in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes across film and television.

No stranger to amplifying the diversity agenda and prioritizing women of color, last year WIF partnered with New York Women in Film & Television and Women in Film and Television Atlanta to launch the Hire Her Black initiative to promote gender and racial equality by providing grants to women who have been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, ESSENCE is proud to announce WIF’s latest program, curated specifically for aspiring and veteran Black women in the film industry: Women in Film Pathmakers.

Designed to highlight the career journeys of incredibly talented and passionate Black women leaders and innovators in Hollywood, WIF Pathmakers fosters mentorship between established writers, directors, producers, marketers, showrunners, and more and their hand-selected awardees. The “rising star” chosen by each of these multifaceted trailblazers will receive a no-strings-attached grant of $5,000, courtesy of Stella Artois, which can be put toward career endeavors or supporting their livelihood.

Throughout Women’s History Month, we will highlight four pathmakers’ journeys in exclusive interviews which shed light on life-changing career decisions and the importance of Black women supporting one another in film. Meet the 2021 WIF Pathmakers below.