A Message From Alumni Affairs
AFI Alumni –
The recent protests in our nation and in our cities have deeply affected us. As a Black woman in the midst of this experience, I reflect on my own sentiments, and processing what to say and how to move forward is uncomfortable. I stand united with AFI’s promise to further affect change and drive culture forward. Know this – your artistic voices are an invaluable component of this process, and I stand committed to ensuring your voices will be heard to the best and maximum of my ability. As artists, the time we’re living in is of the utmost importance. Continue to speak your truths, write your scripts, paint the pictures, and frame the narratives. I say these words both as a fellow storyteller and as a perso ... SHOW MORE
AFI Alumni –
The recent protests in our nation and in our cities have deeply affected us. As a Black woman in the midst of this experience, I reflect on my own sentiments, and processing what to say and how to move forward is uncomfortable. I stand united with AFI’s promise to further affect change and drive culture forward. Know this – your artistic voices are an invaluable component of this process, and I stand committed to ensuring your voices will be heard to the best and maximum of my ability. As artists, the time we’re living in is of the utmost importance. Continue to speak your truths, write your scripts, paint the pictures, and frame the narratives. I say these words both as a fellow storyteller and as a person of color – particularly a Black person of color – your voices, your stories, and your lives matter.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a desire to share your ideas or process your thoughts.
Manager of Alumni AffairsSHOW LESS
AFI Alumni Win College TV Awards
At the 40th College Television Awards, AFI projects took home two competitive awards, as well as the Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship and the Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award. Congratulations to all the AFI Alumni who were honored at the 40th College TV Awards!
Best Drama Series
Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa (All AFI Class of 2018)
Best Comedy Series
THEY WON’T LAST
Richard C. Bailey, Brandon Gale and Portlynn Tagavi (All AFI Class of 2019)
The Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability $10,000 Scholarship
Quinn Else and Marc Tarczali (Both AFI Class of 2019)
The Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award – $4,000 Cash Prize
Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa (All AFI Class of 2018)
New and Improved Alumni Backlot Launches
As part of the new Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center, the revamped Backlot offers an exclusive forum for AFI alumni to network, ask questions and join discipline-specific groups. AFI alumni can also find designated alumni mentors, search the directory and access the latest job opportunities, which is updated regularly by Alumni Affairs. This new online space will allow alumni from every discipline and class year – in every part of the world – to share ideas and engage with one another. Connect with your fellow alumni and join today!
Remembering Trailblazer Lynn Shelton
AFI was tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of innovative writer/director Lynn Shelton, who only just weeks ago joined AFI Fellows in an online Zoom seminar to impart what she had learned working on independent films, including HUMPDAY, YOUR SISTER’S SISTER and SWORD OF TRUST, and as an episodic director on acclaimed television series. Read our tribute to Shelton’s incredible life and career, and watch clips from her recent seminar in which she spoke about the pitching process and bringing authenticity and honesty to storytelling.
AFI Fellow Enlists Aaron Sorkin for an Epic Proposal
Those present for a recent Zoom conversation with filmmaker Aaron Sorkin were in for a sweet surprise – AFI Fellow John Graney enlisted the help of Sorkin to propose to fellow screenwriter, Letty Ayroza Galvao Ribeiro Gomes, both self-professed fans of Sorkin. Days after the proposal, the couple tied the knot at a drive-through one-hour “marriage joint” in Alhambra and hope to plan a more official event to celebrate in the future. Congratulations to John and Letty, and you can check out the surprise proposal here!
Alejandro González Iñárritu Discusses His Filmmaker Friendship with Alfonso Cuarón
Film auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu joined a virtual conversation to speak to AFI Fellows about his lauded career from the challenges he faced in financing BIRDMAN to the demanding rigors of filming THE REVENANT. In this clip, Iñárritu talks about his longstanding friendship with fellow filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón and how they push one another and challenge each other as filmmakers.
Kathleen Kennedy on the Role of a Producer
AFI Board of Trustees Chair Kathleen Kennedy recently joined AFI Fellows for an online Harold Lloyd Master Seminar to speak about what she’s learned over the course of her career as one of the most well-respected and sought-after producers in the business. Watch this clip in which she discusses the importance of supporting a singular vision as a producer and how to avoid “development hell.”
Rian Johnson on Crafting Murder Mystery KNIVES OUT
Director Rian Johnson participated in a virtual master class with AFI Fellows to talk about his recent whodunit KNIVES OUT. Watch this clip in which he speaks about how he created an active female protagonist in the character of Marta and was able to get the audience emotionally invested in her fate amidst the Agatha Christie tropes.
Akiva Goldsman Talks Story Building
AFI Fellows were treated to an HLMS featuring writer and producer Akiva Goldsman (FRINGE, A BEAUTIFUL MIND) who spoke about how important it is as a screenwriter to emotionally connect with an audience and how he evolved as a writer after taking Robert McKee’s class on story structure. Watch this clip in which he speaks about his love of dialogue, but how a scene ultimately hinges upon the underlying action.
In Other Alumni News…
Three alumni projects score Peabody Award nominations: SUCCESSION, Miguel Arteta (AFI Class of 1990); UNBELIEVABLE, Susannah Grant (AFI Class of 1991) and Michael Dinner (AFI Class of 1979); and WATCHMEN, Anna Hauger (AFI Class of 2009) and Christal Henry (AFI Class of 2005).
The May Queen dress from MIDSOMMAR, directed by Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010), is auctioned off to benefit the FDNY Foundation.
Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010) teams with Parasite producer for English-language remake of cult Korean movie SAVE THE GREEN PLANET.
Max Barbakow (AFI Class of 2015) signs on to direct GOOD BAD & UNDEAD starring Peter Dinklage and Jason Momoa.
PALM SPRINGS, directed by Max Barbakow, co-written by Andy Siara (both AFI Class of 2015) and edited by AFI Faculty Matt Friedman, gets a July 10 release date on Hulu.
INDIGO VALLEY, written and directed by Jaclyn Bethany (AFI Class of 2018), is acquired by Giant Pictures.
KUNG FU, directed and executive produced by Hanelle Culpepper (DWW Class of 2002), receives series order for 2020-2021 season.
BOOMERANG Season 2, featuring the work of showrunner/director Dime Davis (AFI DWW Class of 2015) and directors Tiffany Johnson and Katrelle Kindred (both AFI DWW Class of 2018), goes out on a high note.
HBO Max launches with ON THE RECORD, directed by Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983) and Amy Ziering, putting a spotlight on women of color and sexual abuse in the music industry.
HOUSE OF CARDIN, directed by filmmakers P. David Ebersole (AFI Class of 1991) and Todd Hughes, is picked up for distribution by Utopia.
THE WRETCHED – with production designer Marlena Feehery and construction coordinator Robert Konowalow’s (both (AFI Class of 2010) – recently ranked number one at the box office with the rise in drive-in movie theaters. It premiered at Mission Tiki drive-in in Montclair, California and will expand to several others as theaters re-open.
RUN SWEETHEART RUN, written, co-produced and directed by Shana Feste (AFI Class of 2003), lands at Amazon Studios.
Susannah Grant (AFI Class of 1991) is in Variety’s new series, “Hollywood How-To,” featuring writers talking about the craft.
Cinematographer John Guleserian’s (AFI Class of 2005) AN AMERICAN PICKLE will premiere on HBO Max.
Jeffrey Kirschenbaum (AFI Class of 1999) is set to produce the Paul Feig-directed adaptation of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL for Netflix.
David Lynch’s (AFI Class of 1970) animated short FIRE (POZAR) debuts online.
Rachel Morrison’s (AFI Class of 2006) feature directorial debut FLINT STRONG adds Judy Greer to the cast.
Four AFI alumni are semifinalists for the HBO Access 2020 Directing Fellowship: Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz (AFI Class of 2019), Portlynn Tagavi (AFI Class of 2019), Marielle Woods (DWW Class of 2020) and Hao Zheng (AFI Class of 2018).
Alexis Ostrander (DWW Class of 2014) is hired to direct THE RED ROSE CREW – Sports Illustrated Studios’ first feature film.
KCRW interviews AFI faculty Michael Pessah (AFI Class of 2004) about Zoom tips for working from home.
HBO picks up SANTA INC. created by Alexandra Rushfield (AFI Class of 1998) with Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman set to star.
Shortlist for BAFTA Student Awards includes four films by AFI alumni.
AFI Screenwriting Discipline Head Anna Thomas and two of the 2020 Writers’ Room Ready participants – mentor LaToya Morgan (Class of 2005) and winner Kenda Greenwood Moran (Class of 2019) – were interviewed on the radio show TOMORROW WILL BE TELEVISED with Simon Applebaum.
Paramount picks up the original spec scrip 2084 from writer Mattson Tomlin (Class of 2014).
Jude Weng’s (AFI DWW Class of 1998) action-comedy SHELLY adds Awkwafina and Karen Gillan to the cast.