August News

2020 Emmy Nominations Honor AFI Alumni

AFI alumni received a total of 20 Emmy nominations in 2020! Dime Davis (AFI DWW Class of 2015) also set a record as the first Black woman to receive an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Variety or Music Program for A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW. The winners will be announced on September 20, 2020, in a virtual edition of the annual awards show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Read the full list AFI alums nominated below.

 

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Welcome New AFI Conservatory Faculty!

This summer the AFI Conservatory welcomed new instructors to teach a variety of classes, on topics ranging from engaging the industry to unconscious bias on set to the business of directing. Master filmmaker and alum Bill Duke (Directing, AFI Class of 1978) is teaching a course called “The Disruptors,” in which the class will explore groundbreaking, genre-shaking, revolutionary films. Fellows will become familiar with these influential works, their context, their players and the effect they have had on the industry at large. Other talented, new instructors include Rebecca Green, Matty Rich, Alfredo Barrios and Beth de Araújo.

AFI Merchandise Now Available

The AFI Store is now open! Be sure to check out the Conservatory section and the AFIxAFI section featuring hats, hoodies and jackets designed by AFI Fellows.

 

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AFI Alumni Accepted to Telluride Film Festival

AFI is pleased to announce that films created by eight AFI alumni were accepted into the prestigious Telluride Film Festival this year. Although the festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic, we would like to offer congratulations to the following alumni on their incredible work:

 

-APPLES, associate producer Jerome Duboz (AFI Class of 1999)

 

-BORDER, director Shu Zhu (AFI Class of 2018); cinematographer Ino Yang Popper (AFI Class of 2020), editor Yuxi Han (AFI Class of 2020)

 

-PAWS IN PRISON, director Bill Guttentag (AFI Class of 1979)

 

-MAINSTREAM, cinematographer Autumn Durald (AFI Class of 2009) and art director by Mars Feehery (AFI Class of 2010)

 

-TO THE MOON, cinematographer Sara Ross-Samko (AFI Class of 2013)

 

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AFI is pleased to announce that films created by eight AFI alumni were accepted into the prestigious Telluride Film Festival this year. Although the festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic, we would like to offer congratulations to the following alumni on their incredible work:

 

-APPLES, associate producer Jerome Duboz (AFI Class of 1999)

 

-BORDER, director Shu Zhu (AFI Class of 2018); cinematographer Ino Yang Popper (AFI Class of 2020), editor Yuxi Han (AFI Class of 2020)

 

-PAWS IN PRISON, director Bill Guttentag (AFI Class of 1979)

 

-MAINSTREAM, cinematographer Autumn Durald (AFI Class of 2009) and art director by Mars Feehery (AFI Class of 2010)

 

-TO THE MOON, cinematographer Sara Ross-Samko (AFI Class of 2013)

 

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AFI and AGBO Announce 2020 Grant Recipient Marina Kato

Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant: AFI Conservatory alumna Marina Kato! The program, in its second year, awards $25,000 to a recent AFI Conservatory graduate to develop at least one project with a year-long mentorship from AGBO. Kato will receive the grant for her script “Dia de las Carpas,” a fairytale about a little girl who escapes deportation by becoming a mermaid.

 

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Be a Mentor

In these unprecedented time, AFI alumni are stepping up to help each other. Join Backlot and become a mentor to your fellow alumni. You just sign up and select the “willing to help” option in your profile settings.

It’s never been easier to expand your network, reconnect with classmates and give back by mentoring future generations of innovative filmmakers.

 

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Humanitas Select AFI Alumni as Semi-finalists

Recently, 2020-2021 Humanitas semi-finalists for the Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Screenwriting Fellowship and David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Screenwriting Fellowship were announced! This year’s semi-finalists include three AFI Fellows: Thomas Kivney, Kasi Meek and Guljan Toktogul. Finalists will receive a $20,000 prize and honors at the awards gala next year.

 

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Did You Know?

This film was released 100 years ago this August – the same month when women were finally allowed the vote. It was based on Arline Van Ness Hines’ revolutionary 1918 play, set in a world in which women could vote well before they actually won this right when Congress ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Can you guess the film?

 

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Acclaimed Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Shares What She’s Learned in Hollywood

Following the successful premiere of her new film THE OLD GUARD on Netflix, Gina Prince-Bythewood joined a Harold Lloyd Master Seminar to share her journey as a trailblazing director in the industry. Watch Prince-Bythewood talk about her breakthrough film LOVE & BASKETBALL, which was recently featured as an AFI Movie Club pick, and speak about the actor/director relationship as well as the character work that are essential to make an impactful film.

 

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AFI Welcomes Groundbreaking Filmmaker Ernest Dickerson

Recently, renowned filmmaker Ernest Dickerson joined AFI Fellows to discuss his acclaimed career, beginning with his collaborative start as a cinematographer in Spike Lee pictures, including SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT and DO THE RIGHT THING. He has carved a path all of his own and made a name for himself directing prestigious dramas, such as THE WIRE, DEXTER and BOSCH. Watch Dickerson discuss his trajectory, from casting Tupac Shakur in JUICE to directing THE WALKING DEAD in this seminar recap.

 

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PALM SPRINGS Filmmakers Join Virtual Seminar to talk with Fellow AFI Alumni

PALM SPRINGS is one of the biggest hits of the summer, even breaking Hulu’s opening weekend streaming record. Recently, the filmmakers, led by director Max Barbakow and writer Andy Siara (both AFI Class of 2015) and AFI faculty Matthew Friedman, participated in an online seminar to share their knowledge and experiences with AFI Fellows. Watch videos from the session whose speakers also include PALM SPRINGS cinematographer Quyen Tran and physicist and science advisor Clifford Johnson.

 

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Other AFI News…

 

The American Society of Cinematographers welcomes Gonzalo Amat (AFI Class of 2002) to its ranks.

 

2020 Warner Bros. Television Directors Workshop names 12 directors, including five AFI alums: Omer Ben-Shachar (AFI Class of 2018), Melissa Hickey (AFI Class of 2013), Tiffanie Hsu (AFI DWW Class of 2013), Marie Jamora (AFI DWW Class of 2020) and Yoko Okumura (AFI Class of 2014).

 

João Dall’Stella (AFI Class of 2019) discusses his AFI thesis film DIA DE LAS CARPAS, which won the DGA Student Grand Prize for Latino Directors.

 

Issa Rae and producing partner Deniese Davis (AFI Class of 2012) join forces with CAA’s Talitha Watkins to expand the newly formed management division of their ColorCreative banner.

 

Darius Dawson (AFI Class of 2019) talks about his AFI thesis short A RODEO FILM, which won the DGA Student Film Grand Prize for directing in 2019.

 

Producer Nikit Doshi (AFI Class of 2013) adds Tyler Posey to the cast of his new film BRUT FORCE. The independent thriller is prepping to begin shooting this fall.

 

Deauville Film Festival lineup includes LORELAI, directed by Sabrina Doyle (AFI Class of 2012) and KAJILLIONAIRE, produced by Jillian Longnecker (AFI Class of 2002) and Amber Sealey (AFI DWW Class of 2019). A new trailer for KAJILLIONAIRE was released ahead of its limited release on September 18.

 

Director/producer P. David Ebersole (AFI Class of 1991) debuts official new trailer for HOUSE OF CARDIN documentary about fashion designer Pierre Cardin exclusively with Vogue.

 

Netflix wins the rights to LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND, which will be written and directed by Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004) and sees Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts reunite for the first time in 23 years.

 

Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival announces lineup which includes the work of AFI alumni: Ashley Eakin (AFI DWW Class of 2020), Brandon Gale (AFI Class of 2019), Marie Jamora (AFIDWW Class of 2020), Sydney Meadow (AFI Class of 2018), Portlynn Tagavi (AFI Class of 2019) and Omer Ben-Shacher (AFI Class of 2018).

 

Created by writer/director Shana Feste (AFI Class of 2003) during the shutdown, new podcast series DIRTY DIANA starring Demi Moore was recently released.

 

AFI alum Lesli Linka Glatter (DWW Class of 1982) discusses female director programs and mentoring women in the film industry.

 

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (AFI Class of 1995) is featured in The Wrap’s Latinx edition, writing, “as I begin to produce and create more television…I aim to nurture Latinx voices in front of and behind the camera and make attainable the access that I had to fight for.”

 

AFI DOCS Guggenheim honoree and alum Lee Grant (AFI DWW Class of 1974) is profiled in The Washington Post as a retrospective of her work called 20th Century Woman: The Documentary Films of Lee Grant opens at the AFI Silver Virtual Screening Room.

 

Indiewire interviews Susannah Grant (AFI Class of 1991) on her groundbreaking series UNBELIEVABLE.

 

Amy Heckerling (AFI Class of 1974) remembers making CLUELESS as it recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

 

Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound name AFI faculty and alum Julian Higgins (AFI Class of 2010) as one of the directors for its 2020 Film Music and Sound Design Lab.

 

Producer Mel Jones (AFI Class of 2010) is part of filmmaker trio who have launched the creative studio Invisible Collective to give advertising and entertainment leaders access to underrepresented directors and talent.

 

Mimi Leder (AFI Class of 1973) discusses her work in television from ER to THE MORNING SHOW and being a pioneering female director in Hollywood.

 

Hulu taps AFI alum Jonathan Levine (AFI Class of 2004) to direct all eight episodes of the limited series NINE PERFECT STRANGERS starring Nicole Kidman.

 

The GLAAD Awards announce this year’s winners including BOOKSMART executive produced by Jillian Longnecker (AFI Class of 2002), POSE co-created by Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994), SCHITT’S CREEK with cinematography by David Makin (AFI Class of 1984) and TRANSPARENT: MUSICAL FINALE with additional editing by Matthew Horn (AFI Class of 2011).

 

THE BOOK OF VISION, produced by Terrence Malick (AFI Class of 1969), is set to open Venice Critics’ Week.

 

The Young Director Award recognizes the talent of two AFI alumni: Jeremy Merrifield (AFI Class of 2018) for his AFI thesis film BALLOON and Quinn Else (AFI Class of 2019) for his AFI thesis film FORT IRWIN.

 

THE OUTPOST, produced by Paul Merryman (AFI Class of 2010) and Henry Hughes (AFI Class of 2014), was recently released on VOD and is currently ranked as the number one movie on Apple TV.

 

Cynthia Erivo joins TALENT SHOW, written by Lena Waithe and directed by alum Gandja Monteiro (AFI DWW Class of 2018).

 

Jing Ai Ng (AFI Class of 2019) is interviewed on her AFI thesis film FLECK, which received the DGA’s Student Film Award.

 

Jacob Pinger (AFI Class of 1998) has recently published a book on directing called “So You Want to Direct TV? Sixteen Professionals Share Their Paths to Success.” It includes in-depth interviews with 16 diverse television directors about how they forged their careers in the industry and is available through McFarland Books and Amazon.

 

Ryan Murphy’s new RATCHED prequel series, executive produced by Margaret Riley (AFI Class of 1991), gets a trailer and will stream on Netflix starting September 18.

 

Focus Features acquires U.S. distribution rights to Paul Schrader’s (AFI Class of 1969) THE CARD COUNTER, one of the hottest titles at this year’s Cannes Film Festival virtual market.

 

New trailer for PROJECT POWER, written by Mattson Tomlin (AFI Class of 2014) and starring Jamie Foxx, is released.

 

PBS announces AMERICAN MASTERS documentary, which will spotlight six iconic Black female entertainers, including Cicely Tyson (AFI DWW Class of 1977), and be executive produced by Alicia Keys.

 

Disney Launchpad names Hao Zheng (AFI Class of 2018) as one of six directors selected for its inaugural Shorts Incubator program.

 

We want to hear from you. So we created an easy form for you fill out whenever you want to share information or updates about one of your projects or a fellow alum’s project. And then we’ll share it in Alumni Connection. Bookmark this link and keep everyone updated about all of your great work. VIEW FORM

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