Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA


March 23, 2023, 7:00 P.M.

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

Outside the Box [Office], Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA), and Ashley Maria Productions,
invite you and a guest to attend


A Special Theatrical Screening of


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

Followed by a post-screening conversation with
SCA Alumnae Ashley Maria, HIKARI,
Iram Parveen Bilal, Brea Grant, and Martina Lee,
about the current state for Female Directors in Hollywood

7:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

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



About Pioneers in Skirts

Pioneers in Skirts is an inspiring story of young women with pioneering ambitions - and the obstacles that get in their way. Following stories of the women navigating these challenges the film focuses on how we as individuals can take action to overcome these biases and setbacks for today's woman and the next. Audiences connect to the problem individually, experience a broadened perspective of what’s really happening around them, and awaken with a sense of responsibility and empathy that empowers them to make a difference.

Running time: 60 minutes.

About the Guests

ASHLEY MARIA (Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Executive Producer)

Ashley Maria is an Emmy Nominated director and writer located in Los Angeles, CA. She received her MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, is the recipient of the prestigious Directors Guild of America award, she is a Blackmagic Collective Fellow, and most recently, she was recognized as the “Best New Director” at the DTLA Film Festival.

Ashley is also an advocate for advancing women’s opportunities. She is a North American delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women.

When not on set, Ashley is a directing instructor at UCLA’s Film School and a sound instructor at the American Film Institute’s Young Women in Film program.


Originally from Osaka, HIKARI is a Japanese award-winning writer, director, producer. Her debut feature 37 SECONDS premiered at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival and won the Panorama Audience Award, the CICAE Art Cinema Award, and was nominated for Best First Feature. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, BFI London, Tribeca and was acquired by Netflix. Her credits include HBO Max’s TOKYO VICE (executive produced by Michael Mann, starring Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi), upcoming Netflix TV series BEEF (starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun), TSUYAKO (USC Thesis film, winner of over 50 wards including DGA Student Award for the Best Female Director), A BETTER TOMORROW (Produced by Lexus and The Weinstein Company), and WHERE WE BEGIN (nominated for the Best International Short Film at Tribeca Film Festival)HIKARI is currently in preproduction of her second feature film RENTAL FAMILY (working title) with Sight Unseen Pictures. She’s also developing a several projects including a comic book adaptation DAN & SAM with Marc Platt Productions/Universal Pictures, and an original TV series based on her life as an exchange student living with a Mormon Host family, MADE IN UTAH with Annapurna.


Iram Parveen Bilal (she/her) is a creator excited to tell stories that matter. She is currently in post-production on her latest feature film, WAKHRI (English Title: ONE OF A KIND), which was an Official Selection for the 2019 Cannes Cinefondation L'Atelier, the 2018 Locarno Open Doors Hub, the 2022 Busan Asian Film Market and also the inaugural 2022 CAA-CAPE Full Story Initiative grant. She also recently wrapped the writer’s room on a hip hop dance drama series set in Bombay being produced by the Emmy award winning producers of DELHI CRIME. Her previous feature, I'LL MEET YOU THERE, was in narrative competition at SXSW 2020 and her TV pilot, DETAINED, was optioned earlier by Wayfarer Studios.

Eager to raise while rising, Bilal initiated the formation of the Pakistani Oscar committee and is the founder of QALAMBAAZ, Pakistan's first professional screenwriting lab, now in year eight. Iram is also an active mentor for women in film and tech. Spotlighted as 1 of 8 directors to watch by the Alliance of Women Directors, an active member of the Film Fatales, she is also a Film Independent, Watson fellow and multiple time Women in Film awardee. She has been profiled by the New York Times, featured on NPR, BBC, Bloomberg, Filmmaker Magazine among others. She is a proud graduate of Caltech and the USC Peter Stark Program. When she isn't telling stories, she is dancing to Bollywood tunes or nerding out with fellow Caltech engineers. She believes genuine curiosity is the only antidote to fear.


Brea Grant is an award-winning filmmaker, comic book writer, and actor. She most recently directed the horror thriller TORN HEARTS for Blumhouse/Epix/Paramount starring Katey Sagal. She also wrote/directed 12 HOUR SHIFT (Tribeca 2020, winner of Best Screenplay at Fantasia 2020) starring Angela Bettis and David Arquette. The same year, she wrote/starred in the film LUCKY (SXSW 2020). She has also written/directed for Netflix and the CW and recently wrote/directed on the upcoming series UNCONVENTIONAL. She has written four comic series including the recent, MARY. She co-hosts a book podcast called Reading Glasses.


Martina Lee is a writer/director who pursued her passion for film in 2013 and attended New York University Tisch Asia in Singapore. It was there she began her journey to find my artistic voice. She moved to Los Angeles in 2015 to attend the University of Southern California. Her award-winning film Blueberry starring Evan Alex from Jordan Peele’s US made it into several festivals, including the American Black Film Festival. It also aired on both domestic and international broadcasting channels.

She was a creative coordinator for White Horse Pictures and worked on The Apollo, directed by Roger Ross Williams, and Pavarotti, directed by Ron Howard. They accepted her as a directing fellow for the 2019 Project Involve Film Independent, where she developed her next short Black Boy Joy starring William and Evan Alex. The film won many awards, including the 2021 NAACP Image Award for best short narrative. Also, she worked as a post-production supervisor on the show All Rise for the first two seasons. In 2022, she became an associate producer and directed her first episode for the show, slated to air sometime this year. She is also developing and co-writing a crime drama pilot for Warner Brothers about people with disabilities.

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. The series draws from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here

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About Women of Cinematic Arts (WCA)

Women of Cinematic Arts is a collective of female and gender-nonconforming graduates of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Through an engaging slate of professional and social programming, we offer opportunities for our members to band together, support each other from graduation to retirement, and dismantle inequality in the entertainment industry. You can find out more information and join on their website.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. A reservation confirmation will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. 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.


On-campus parking at the University of Southern California is limited, and it is best to visit the USC Transportation Website for the most up-to-date information if you plan to drive and park on campus:

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago