Shaping the Reel

Two Women Directors Share Their Journeys

Wednesday, November 8

5:30 p.m. at WorkZones
Women directors make up only a small portion of filmmakers today. What’s it like to be part of that elite cohort?
Arlene Sanford, an award-winning director of over 100 episodes of television and several feature films, and Dale Griffiths Stamos, an award-winning filmaker of short films, talk about their careers. How did they get to do what they do? They take us behind the scenes as they share their trailblazing journeys—successes and challenges—and offer some perspectives for would-be filmmakers.

Dale Griffiths Stamos

Dale Griffiths Stamos is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and playwright. She has written six short films—three of which she directed—which have been official selections at more than 70 film festivals, including Palms Springs Shortfest, LA Shorts International, Dances with Films, and The Newport Beach Film Festival. They have garnered two audience and eight jury awards. She has penned three feature-length screenplays which have been named finalists or semifinalists in various screenplay competitions including Creative World Awards, Story Pros, and the New York City International Screenplay Awards.  She is in the process of producing one of the scripts, IMBALANCE, as a feature film.

Dale’s short and full-length plays have been produced around the country. She is the recipient of the Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville, and is a top-ten winner, twice, in the Writers Digest Stage Play Competition. Her full-length play, Blue Jay Singing in the Dead of Night recently received a Zoom reading through the UCSB Launch Pad program. The screen adaptation of the play is being developed by VEW Productions, a three-woman team that includes director Deborah LaVine, actor Jane Hajduk, and herself as the writer.

Additionally, Dale is co-author of the nonfiction book RenWomen: What Modern Renaissance Women Have to Teach Us About Living Rich, Fulfilling Lives. She is on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and has led workshops at the San Miguel Writers Conference. She has also taught writing classes at Santa Barbara City College, adult ed., and is a private manuscript consultant. 
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Photo credit: Rachel Sarah Thurston

Arlene Sanford

Arlene Sanford, who grew up in New York, worked in production for a number of years before writing, producing, and directing Welcome Home, a short film starring Jamie Lee Curtis. With that as a calling card she was hired to direct one of television’s first half-hour dramedies, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, starring Blair Brown. Since that exceptional beginning she has directed over 100 episodes of television – comedies and dramas, single camera and multicam – including numerous pilots and a few family-friendly TV movies.

Highlights include multiple episodes of David E. Kelley’s groundbreaking Ally McBeal. Her season-one episode, “Those Lips, That Hand” earned her an Emmy® award nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.  She was later honored with another Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama series for “The Mighty Rogues” episode of Boston Legal.

Sanford was also part of the first few seasons of the hit series Desperate Housewives and received a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy for her episode, “Pretty Little Picture.”

Most recent work includes muliple episodes of the hit Netflix show Grace & Frankie. Additional impressive creddits include Nashville and multiple episodes of The Royals and Pretty Little Liars. In addition, she directed the feature films A Very Brady Sequel for Paramount Pictures and Disney’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

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