April 2021 News

ARRAY Crew Q&A with AFI Alum Jordan Tyner

This month, AFI spoke with ARRAY Executive Assistant and AFI alum Jordan Tyner (AFI Class of 2020) about ARRAY Crew, a new database for diverse below-the-line workers that hopes to expand opportunities within the film and television industry.



SXSW 2021 Wraps

Congratulations to all our amazing alumni who had projects that played at SXSW this year! And a very special shout-out to cinematographer Kristen Correll (AFI Class of 2016) whose film THE FALLOUT took home the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award!



It’s Oscar® Time!

Are you as excited for the Academy Awards® as we are? Catch up on conversations with all eight Best Picture nominees! And then be sure to watch the 93rd Academy Awards® ceremony on Sunday, April 25 when the winners are announced.



Enjoy Conversations with Acclaimed Filmmakers!

Some of the year’s most celebrated filmmakers recently joined AFI Fellows in online conversations to talk about their latest work. Director Chloé Zhao discussed her poignant film NOMADLAND, while producer Christina Oh and production designer & AFI alum Yong Ok Lee spoke about creating the family drama MINARI. Then director George C. Wolfe took us behind the scenes of his acclaimed film MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM and actor/director Robin Wright talked about making her directorial debut LAND.

AFI Catalog Spotlight

One hundred years ago this month, the epic anti-war film, THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, became the highest grossing movie of 1921. Read more about the revolutionary production and the creative brilliance of the film’s screenwriter June Mathis.



In Conversation with Director Patricia Cardoso and Writer/Producer Tanya Saracho

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center partnered with Women in Film to host a conversation with two dynamic creatives – Patricia Cardoso (REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES) and Tanya Saracho (VIDA, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER).



Celebrating Women in Editing

The AFI Conservatory hosted a panel on Celebrating Women in Editing, featuring guests including acclaimed editors Shannon Baker Davis (AFI Class of 2003), Kayla Emter (AFI Class of 2008), La-Aja Hernandez and Franzis Muller (AFI Class of 2013) in a private Zoom conversation.



AFI Life Achievement Award Ticket Refund

Due to the pandemic, the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Julie Andrews originally planned for the spring of 2020 was postponed. AFI is currently working to reimagine the event in accordance with state guidelines and safety protocols, and we will be making an announcement in the next few months with more details. For those who bought tickets to the original event, we would like to extend a full refund and will be reaching out shortly with more information.





AFI Alumni Honored by Hollywood Guilds

Join us in celebrating our talented alumni whose work has recently been recognized by their respective guilds in the industry!


ACE Eddie Award Nominations:

Best Edited Limited Series of Motion Picture for Television

  • Anna Hauger (AFI Class of 2009) – WATCHMEN

Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television

  • Varun Viswanath (AFI Class of 2012) – WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS


ADG Award Nominations

One Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series 


  • Mari Lappalainen (AFI Class of 2015), Art Director
  • Elena Albanese (AFI Class of 2012), Art Director


  • Nathan W. Bailey (AFI Class of 2010), Assistant Set Designer
  • Randall (Randy) Wilkins (AFI Class of 1984), Digital Set Designer


  • David Moreau (AFI Class of 2006), Set Designer

Television Movie or Limited Series


  • Helen Harwell (AFI Class of 1990), Supervising Art Director
  • Toi Whitaker (AFI Class of 2009), Assistant Art Director
  • Camellia Cox (AFI Class of 2002), Graphic Artist


  • David Moreau (AFI Class of 2006), Set Designer

Half Hour Single-Camera Series


  • Adriana Dardas (AFI Class of 2002), Set Designer
  • Kelly Berry (AFI Class of 1994), Set Decorator

Variety, Reality or Competition Series


  • Claire M. White (AFI Class of 2017), Graphic Designer


  • Samantha (Sammi) Wallschlaeger (AFI Class of 2012), Assistant Art Director

Variety Special


  • Douglas (Doug) Mowat (AFI Class of 1984), Set Decorator

Period Feature Film


  • Daniela Medeiros (AFI Class of 2015), Digital Set Designer

Fantasy Feature Film


  • Gustaf “Goose” Aspegren (AFI Class of 2011), Art Director


  • Arielle Ness-Cohn (AFI Class of 2016), Assistant Art Director
  • Robert Aguirre (AFI Class of 2018), Assistant Art Director
  • Kil Won Yu (AFI Class of 2010), Set Designer

Contemporary Feature Film


  • Emma Sparer (AFI Class of 2017), Digital Set Designer
  • Sammi Wallschlaeger (AFI Class of 2012), Art Director


ASC Award Nominations:

Best Episode of a Half-Hour Television Series

  • Ava Berkofsky (AFI Class of 2013) – INSECURE

Best Episode of a One-Hour Television Series – Commercial

  • François Dagenais, CSC (AFI Class of 1995) – PROJECT BLUE BOOK


DGA Award Nominations:

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series

  • Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW Class of 1982) – HOMELAND, “Prisoners of War”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Limited Series

  • Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) – THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs

  • Dean Israelite (AFI Class of 2008) – THE ASTRONAUTS, “Countdown”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials

  • Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) – YOU LOVE ME, BEATS BY DR. DRE

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs

  • Richard Kim (AFI Class of 1999) – LEGO MASTERS, “Mega City Block”


PGA Award Nominations:

Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television

  • John Dahl (AFI Class of 1982) – THE LAST DANCE *WINNER

David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television

  • Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984)– THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT *WINNER

Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television

  • John Shiban (AFI Class of 1989) – OZARK


WGA Award Nominations: Film / TV

Best Original Screenplay

  • Max Barbakow (AFI Class of 2015) – PALM SPRINGS (“Story by” credit)
  • Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015) – PALM SPRINGS

Best Drama Series

  • John Shiban (AFI Class of 1989) – OZARK

Best Original Long Form

  • Sharon Hoffman (AFI Class of 2003) – MRS. AMERICA *WINNER*

Best Adapted Long Form

  • Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) – THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT *WINNER*


Hanelle Culpepper (AFI DWW Class of 2002) recently received the NAACP’s Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the episode “Remembrance” of STAR TREK: PICARD.


Co-creator, writer and director Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) and novelist Walter Tevis were recently honored by USC’s Scripter Awards for THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT.




Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010) and Lars Knudsen have signed a two-year first-look television deal at A24


SFFILM has selected Beth de Araújo (AFI Class of 2013 and AFI DWW Class of 2018) as one of the 2021 Dolby Institute Fellowship recipients.


Liz Hannah (AFI Class of 2009) has launched her own production company called Happy Friday Productions. She has also signed an overall deal with MRC Television and Civic Center Media to develop and produce television projects.


Courtney Stephens’ (AFI Class of 2009) acclaimed documentary THE AMERICAN SECTOR made The New Yorker’s list of the best movies of 2020. Stephens is also presenting a virtual exhibition at MOMA of her films PERFECT FIFTHS and TERRA FEMME, which are available through Saturday, April 3, 12 PM.




Tessa Blake (AFI DWW Class of 2014) has signed on to direct an untitled nun dramedy pilot for the CW network.


Uta Briesewitz (AFI Class of 1994) is set to direct and executive produce the upcoming WAR ARTS SAGA fantasy trilogy, which is being adapted for television.


GASOLINE ALLEY, which will be shot by cinematographer Brandon Cox (AFI Class of 2004), is being presented to potential buyers at this week’s European Film Market.


The creative team behind JUSTIFIED are developing a new show based on the Elmore Leonard novel “City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit.” AFI alum Michael Dinner (AFI Class of 1979) is set to direct and executive produce the series.


MONSIEUR SPADE, co-written and directed by Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) and centered on writer Dashiell Hammett’s famous detective, Sam Spade, is currently being pitched to potential buyers.


Susannah Grant (AFI Class of 1991) is set to produce WRITERS AND LOVERS, which marks Toni Collette’s directorial debut.


Maggie Kiley (AFI DWW Class of 2009) has been hired to direct the CW’s live-action pilot of THE POWERPUFF GIRLS.


AFI alum Ryan Kirby (AFI Class of 2012) is set to executive produce the new indie drama LOLA JAMES, starring Nicola Peltz and Virginia Madsen.


Chloe Okuno’s (AFI Class of 2014) feature directorial debut WATCHER adds actors Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman and Burn Gorman to the cast.


Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001) and Lars Sylvest (AFI Class of 1999) are developing and producing THE QUEEN MARY, the first in a planned trilogy of horror films inspired by the hauntings on-board the notorious ocean liner.


GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS, will mark writer/director Shuchi Talati’s (AFI Class of 2011) feature debut, and it will also be the first film produced by new production outfit Pushing Buttons Studios.


Netflix has hired Mattson Tomlin (AFI Class of 2014) as showrunner and executive producer of a new Terminator anime series.




Vertical Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to FOUR GOOD DAYS, produced by John Avnet (AFI Class of 1972) and Rodrigo Garcia (AFI Class of 1986), who also directed the movie. Ryan Kirby (AFI Class of 2012) also worked as the Unit Production Manager on the film. FOUR GOOD DAYS will premiere in theaters April 30 and be available on VOD on May 21.


Discovery+ has picked up the rights to the documentary REBEL HEARTS, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is executive produced by Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973).


Hulu picked up the U.S. rights to the sci-fi thriller MOTHER/ANDROID, which marks Mattson Tomlin’s (AFI Class of 2014) directorial debut.




Santa Barbara Film Festival announced their lineup which includes HIGHWAY ONE, directed by Jaclyn Bethany (AFI Class of 2018).


LORELEI, the directorial debut of  Sabrina Doyle (AFI Class of 2012) recently won the Jordan Ressler First Feature Award at the Miami Film Festival. Cinematographer Stephen Paar (AFI Class of 2012) and editor Daniel Myers (AFI Class of 2013) also worked on the film. Previously, the film won the Jury Prize at the Deauville American Film Festival and was a Tribeca Film Festival official selection. LORELEI will be released by Vertical Entertainment in theaters and on demand this summer.


MY NAME IS LOPEZ, directed, produced and edited by P. David Ebersole (AFI Class of 1991) will receive its World Premiere as the Opening Night film at AmDocs 2021 on March 25 and it will continue virtually through the festival run, March 26-April 5. Cinematographer Sam Ameen (AFI Class of 1991) shot the film and Mark Putnam (AFI Class of 1991) contributed additional cinematography. Tickets are now available.




Showunner Sang Kyu Kim’s (AFI Class of 2006) JUPITER’S LEGACY, which will premiere on Netflix on May 7, gets a teaser trailer.




During the pandemic, editor Jeremy Lerman (AFI Class of 2013) mentored remotely at the Cinestory Screenwriting Retreat and at ReelWorks NYC.


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