Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA


January 30, 2020, 7:00 PM

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The Alumni Screening Series, Women of Cinematic Arts, and Council for Diversity and Inclusion invite you and a guest to a special screening of

Pioneers in Skirts

Directed by Ashley Maria
Written and Produced by Ashley Maria and Lea-Ann W. Berst

7:00 P.M. on Thursday, January 30, 2020
The Ray Stark Family Theatre
900 W. 34th Street, SCA 108
Los Angeles, California 90007



Followed by an action-based speaker program titled:

Ambition in Film: Overcoming Obstacles, Changing the Landscape of the Industry.

Featuring a Q&A with Ashley Maria and Lea-Ann W. Berst


About Pioneers in Skirts

Pioneers in Skirts is an engaging examination of gender parity in the workplace from the perspective of a female filmmaker who was frustrated with her own problems in the film industry.

Not finding many answers within her profession, she decides to expand her search to include other industries and society in general.

In an inspiring portrait of perseverance and determination, director Ashley Maria not only shares her own story, but she follows the journey of 3 robotic girls and their fathers as well as a young mother – all while traveling the U.S. to investigate solutions. She spoke to fellow pioneering women and interviewed topic experts.
By the end of her quest, Ashley finds out how we ALL can address the stereotyping and sexism that can chip away at a woman, hurt her potential, and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.

Presented courtesy of the filmmaker. Runtime: 60 minutes. English, no subtitles.

Currently accepting screening requests from communities, schools and organizations (companies, associations, conferences, etc). Click here to find out how you can screen the film!

Visit the Official Website:
Facebook: @PioneersinSkirts
Instagram: @PioneersinSkirts
Twitter: @PioneersnSkirts



About the guests

ASHLEY MARIA (Writer, Director, Producer, SCA Alum)

Ashley Maria is a movie director, writer, and sound engineer based in Los Angeles, CA.

Winner of the coveted Directors Guild of America (DGA) award, she was also featured by the DGA Women’s Steering Committee as a director who represents The Future of Women in Film and the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival as Best New Director.

When she’s not running her own production, Ashley is a directing instructor at UCLA, and at AFI’s Young Women in Film program.

With years of studio and independent production experience under their belts, Ashley and her female colleagues started to notice they were consistently turned down for jobs because of being inexperienced “women-directors.”

That’s when Ashley picked up her camera to share her story; revealing the career obstacles she and many other women still have to deal with today.

Thanks to her journey making Pioneers in Skirts, Ashley was selected as a North American delegate to attend the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women.

Find out more about Ashley at, and her filmmaking credits by visiting her IMDb page.

LEA-ANN W. BERST (Writer, Producer)

Lea-Ann W. Berst is a Raleigh, NC-based producer, writer, and activation marketer.

She spent 17 years of her career in the corporate arena before transitioning to competitive positioning consulting for mid-to-large sized companies. When not in conference room, Lea-Ann produces social impact documentaries, contributes to non-profit boards, and guest lectures on the topic of marketing practice. She is a winner of several technical and leadership awards – including the Triangle Women in Business award and twice receiving the prestigious IBM Award of Excellence.

Lea-Ann entered her career at a time where she had to fight for many of her career achievements, but – was shocked to hear her daughter, Ashley, had to fight just as hard. With years of studio and independent production experience under their belts, Ashley and her female colleagues started to notice they were consistently turned down for jobs because of being inexperienced “women-directors.”

Years of championing Lea-Ann’s daughter to be and do anything she wanted – wasn’t working!

That’s when Lea-Ann and Ashley picked up their cameras to share Ashley’s story; revealing the career obstacles she and many other women still have to deal with today. Now that the film is being screened all over the globe, Lea-Ann is currently focused on building partnerships and tactics designed to deepen and advance the impact the film will have on our culture.

Find out more about Lea-Ann at, and her filmmaking credits by visiting her IMDb page.

About the Women of Cinematic Arts

Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA) is an official alumnae organization of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Since our founding in 2005, we have been dedicated to supporting women in film, television and digital industries by providing fellowship and professional development opportunities. We have chapters in Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, and London, and it’s free to join - visit our website to learn more about how you can become a member!

Learn more and become a member at

About the Alumni Screening Series

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an exciting free screening series featuring a dynamic selection of new feature films by alumni and faculty throughout 2019. All screenings and events will be free of charge and open to the public, although we do ask for an electronic reservation for each screening, which can be made through the website for each individual screening.

If you are (or know of) a USC alum, student, or faculty member with a film or television show that you would like to recommend for the screening series, please email with the subject "[NAME OF FILM] -- Alumni Screening Series Recommendation." The email should include a link to a screener, the distribution format and schedule, any festival selections and notable accolades, and the names and cast/crew positions of any alumni involved in the project, as well as any other information you feel is relevant.

Check-in & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring either a printed or digital confirmation of your reservation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M. and the RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.

Limited handicap seating is available. For guests with disabilities who require special accommodations, please contact Matthew Meier at with the subject line: "Accommodations Request – PIONEERS."


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the McClintock Avenue Entrance (formerly Gate #5) or Royal Street Entrance (formerly Gate #4) on W. Jefferson Blvd. We recommend parking in the Royal Street Parking Structure (formerly PSD), at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd, with limited non-metered spaces also available north of Jefferson and throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Especially if you plan to utilize street parking, we HIGHLY recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before the screening, as parking can be difficult to find and it may take time to walk to the theater from your parking space.

For a map of campus, visit:

Contact Information

Name: Matthew Meier