February News

Alumni Challenge - THANK YOU!

Thanks to the many alumni who contributed to the Alumni Scholarship Challenge, you raised $26,898 and unlocked the Challenge grant made by a fellow alumnus! More than $50,000 will go directly to provide much needed support to Fellows currently enrolled at AFI.

 

On behalf of future filmmakers, we thank you.

 

If you missed the opportunity to donate to the Alumni Scholarship Challenge, you can still support the Fellows by making a tax-deductible gift to our scholarship fund at any time. Imagine the possibilities and donate now.

AFI Alumni Shine at Sundance 2020

We are proud of all the alumni who represented the AFI Conservatory at Sundance 2020!

 

PALM SPRINGS, directed by Max Barbakow (AFI Class of 2015), written by Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015) and edited by AFI faculty Matt Friedman, broke the record for the biggest sale at Sundance – by 69 cents. UNCLE FRANK, edited by Jonathan Alberts (AFI Class of 2001), was bought by Amazon for $12 million for worldwide rights. ON THE RECORD, co-directed and co-written by Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983), was bought by HBO Max, marking the company’s first Sundance acquisition ever.

 

Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993) won the Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing.  WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, produced by Neal Baer (AFI Class of 1983), won U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing; and MINARI, with production design by Yong Ok Lee (AFI Class of 2013), won U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The Sundance Institute Amazon Studios Producers Award for Documentary Features went to Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006) of Fishbowl Films, for WHIRLYBIRD.

 

Here is the full list of your fellow alumni who screened films at Sundance 2020: Jonathan Alberts (Class of 2001), Almotaz Aljefri (Class of 20 ... SHOW MORE

We are proud of all the alumni who represented the AFI Conservatory at Sundance 2020!

 

PALM SPRINGS, directed by Max Barbakow (AFI Class of 2015), written by Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015) and edited by AFI faculty Matt Friedman, broke the record for the biggest sale at Sundance – by 69 cents. UNCLE FRANK, edited by Jonathan Alberts (AFI Class of 2001), was bought by Amazon for $12 million for worldwide rights. ON THE RECORD, co-directed and co-written by Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983), was bought by HBO Max, marking the company’s first Sundance acquisition ever.

 

Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993) won the Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing.  WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, produced by Neal Baer (AFI Class of 1983), won U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing; and MINARI, with production design by Yong Ok Lee (AFI Class of 2013), won U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The Sundance Institute Amazon Studios Producers Award for Documentary Features went to Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006) of Fishbowl Films, for WHIRLYBIRD.

 

Here is the full list of your fellow alumni who screened films at Sundance 2020: Jonathan Alberts (Class of 2001), Almotaz Aljefri (Class of 2019), Darren Aronofsky (Class of 1992), Jon Avnet (Class of 1972), Max Barbakow (Class of 2015), Diane Becker (Class of 2006), Robert Brecko (Class of 2015), Katherine Butler (Class of 1984), Carolina Costa (Class of 2013), Kirby Dick (Class of 1983), Daniel Dreifuss (Class of 2007), Andrea Arce Duval (Class of 2015), Mátyás Erdély (Class of 2005), Shana Feste (Class of 2003), Rodrigo Garcia (Class of 1986), Dave Harris (Class of 2003), Caleb Heller (Class of 2016), Allison Jones (Class of 1981), Mako Kamitsuna (DWW Class of 2011), Yong Ok Lee (Class of 2013), Matthew Libatique (Class of 1992), Jillian Longnecker (Class of 2002), Jake Magee (Class of 2016), Bridget Moloney (DWW Class of 2020), Aakash Raj (Class of 2019), Sage Scroope (Class of 2010), Amber Sealey (DWW Class of 2019), Andy Siara (Class of 2015), Zoé Wittock (Class of 2010), Matthew Allen Wolf (Class of 2001) and Ed Wu (Class of 2014).

 

Check out AFI Instagram for all the behind-the-scenes moments.

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AFI Alumni Nominated for the Oscar ®

Congratulations to the following AFI Conservatory alumni for their Oscar® nominations:

 

Scott Silver (AFI Class of 1992)
Best Adapted Screenplay – JOKER

Robert Richardson (AFI Class of 1979)
Best Cinematography – ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Colette Sandstedt (AFI Class of 2003)
Best Documentary Short Subject – WALK RUN CHA-CHA

 

In addition to Silver’s nomination, JOKER earned 11 nominations (the most for any film), including Best Picture and Best Lead Actor for Joaquin Phoenix. ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD was right behind with a total of 10 nominations, also landing a Best Picture nomination and Best Director for Quentin Tarantino. For Richardson, this is his 10th nomination and he’s won the award a total of three times.

 

The winners will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.

AFI Alumni Heading to SXSW

Congrats to our alumni who have projects programmed to screen at the upcoming 2020 SXSW Film Festival:

 

Bill Benenson (Class of 1975), Dooho Choi (Class of 2002), Brandon Cox (Class of 2004), Aashish D’Mello (Class of 2017), Nick Higgins (Class of 2002), Nate Hurtsellers (Class of 2014), Mel Jones (Class of 2010), Erin Magill (Class of 2012), Franck Mendez (Class of 2017), Paul Merryman (Class of 2010), Rachel Morrison (Class of 2006), Rick Rosenthal (Class of 1973), Seamus Tierney (Class of 2004) and Cyndi Trissel (Class of 2013)

 

Read more about the AFI alumni projects here.

Directing Workshop for Women Class of 2021

In January, the AFI Directing Workshop for Women announced the eight new participants selected for the DWW Class of 2021: Michelle Krusiec, April Maxey, Mary Angélica Molina, April Moreau, Kelly Pike, Jessica Shields, Lucretia Stinnette and Em Weinstein.

 

“We are thrilled to welcome these eight artists into the AFI family and can’t wait to see their unique stories on the screen,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute.

 

Read the full bios of the Class of 2021 here.

 

Save the date: The DWW Class of 2020 will screen their films at the annual DWW showcase on March 11, 2020.

Star-Studded AFI AWARDS Kicks Off Awards Season

On January 3, AFI celebrated the 2019 AFI AWARDS. The honorees included Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Laura Dern, Ava DuVernay, Clint Eastwood, Greta Gerwig, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Martin Scorsese and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

 

Check out the exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures of some of this year’s most talked-about filmmakers and stars.

 

Watch highlights from AFI’s exclusive red carpet interviews:

NAACP Image Award Nominees

Congrats to AFI alums Melina Matsoukas (Class of 2005) and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (Class of 1975) for their NAACP IMAGE AWARD nominations.

 

Melina’s film QUEEN & SLIM was nominated for seven NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Motion Picture.

 

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and his film TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM was nominated for Outstanding Documentary Feature.

To see the full list of nominees, click here.

 

Winners will be announced on February 22.

AFI Seminar Guests Discuss PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, MARRIAGE STORY and THE IRISHMAN

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE director Céline Sciamma shared what she learned while directing her first feature film, WATER LILIES. “What I learned the most was that I loved it.” Watch more here.

 

MARRIAGE STORY writer/director Noah Baumbach spoke to AFI Fellows about making the acclaimed film. “What I discovered as I was writing, is that it is the ordinary moments of our lives, which when observed by someone who loves you, suddenly become extraordinary.”  Watch the full clip here.

 

THE IRISHMAN cinematographer and Academy Award® nominee Rodrigo Prieto talked about the challenges of lighting Martin Scorsese’s recent epic film. “Every light you set for a face, you have to be thinking what it is going to do to the opposite angle.” Watch the full clip here.

In other AFI Alumni news…

 

The Alice Initiative has unveiled its annual list of emerging female directors. Voted on by more than 50 studio executives and producers, this year’s selected filmmakers include Dime Davis (DWW Class of 2015), Rachel Goldberg (DWW Class of 2010) and Alexis Ostrander (DWW Class of 2014).

 

Caroline Costa (AFI Class of 2013), cinematographer for HALA, WANDER DARKLY and WORKFORCE, was named to Variety’s “Ten Latinx to Watch” list.

 

Mattson Tomlin (AFI Class of 2014), who co-wrote “The Batman” with director Matt Reeves, will adapt the graphic novel “Memetic” for Lionsgate and Seth Rogen’s Point Grey.

 

Claudia Sparrow (AFI Class of 2008) won an honorable mention at Slamdance for her feature documentary film MAXIMA.

 

Paola Villegas (AFI Class of 2019) was accepted as one of the thirteen participants for the 2020 Walt Disney Television Writing Program.

 

In recognition of her work championing women in entertainment, Julie Dash (AFI Class of 1974) received the 6th Annual Horizon Pioneer Award presented at the WME Lounge during the Sundance 2020 Film Festival.

 

The American Society of Cinematographers honored Frederick Elmes (AFI Class of 1972) with the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th Annual ASC Awards ceremony.

 

The Oscar®-nominated documentary short WALK RUN CHA-CHA by Colette Sandstedt (AFI Class of 2003) is available to watch on Vimeo.

 

Caleb Deschanel (AFI Class of 1969) won Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project for THE LION KING  at the 18th Visual Effects Society Awards.

 

The DGA Awards nominated Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005), director of QUEEN & SLIM, for Outstanding Directorial Achievement – First-Time Feature Film Director.

 

STAR TREK: PICARD, directed by Hanelle Culpepper (DWW Class of 2002), has launched on CBS.com.

 

Andrea Arnold (AFI Class of 1991)Susannah Grant (AFI Class of 1991) and Jennifer Lane (AFI Class of 1994) were nominated for PGA Awards for BIG LITTLE LIES, UNBELIEVABLE and QUEER EYE respectively.

 

Robert Richardson (AFI Class of 1979) was nominated for an ASC Award for his work on ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

 

Scott Silver (AFI Class of 1992) was nominated for both a BAFTA and WGA Award for his work on the Warner Bros. and DC Comics feature film, JOKER.

 

John Roesch (AFI Class of 1977) earned multiple Motion Picture Sound Editors nominations for his work on AVENGERS: ENDGAME, FROZEN II, JIM HENSON’S THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE, SPIES IN DISGUISE and TOY STORY 4.

 

Valentin Vignet (AFI Class of 2011) was the cinematographer for NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Live Action Short Film.

 

Rodrigo Garcia (AFI Class of 1986) was named to the jury at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, alongside actor/filmmaker Ethan Hawke and MUDBOUND’s Dee Rees.

 

For his 74th birthday, David Lynch (Class of 1970) released WHAT DID JACK DO? On Netflix.

 

Patty Jenkins (AFI Class of 2000) and ASC President Kees can Oostrom (AFI Class of 1977) were among numerous industry professionals championing a “Filmmaker Mode” setting to be made available on all home television systems.

 

Maor Azran (AFI Class of 2018), Omer Ben-Shachar (AFI Class of 2018), Ashish Dawar (AFI Class of 2017) and Muriel Naim (AFI Class of 2017) were named to the BAFTA Newcomers 2020 Group.

 

MARRIAGE MATERIAL, an AFI thesis film, is now available to watch online from Searchlight Pictures. The film was written/directed by Oran Zegman (AFI Class of 2018), produced by Maor Azran (AFI Class of 2018), shot by Charlie Cole (AFI Class of 2018) and edited by Marc Sedaka (AFI Class of 2018).

 

Carroll Parrott Blue (AFI Class of 1981) passed away recently and will be greatly missed.

 

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