April 2022 News

Congratulations AFI Alum Siân Heder on her Academy Award® win! 

At the 94th annual Academy Awards® ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarded AFI Alum Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005) the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar® for CODA – which also won Best Picture. Watch her acceptance speech below!



Hollywood Guilds Recognize AFI Alumni

Awards season has officially come to a close, culminating with the Academy Awards® and the Hollywood guilds each announcing the recipients of their top honors of the year for film and television. Congratulations to all the AFI Alumni recognized by their respective guilds!



Alumni Opportunity Form

The AFI Conservatory has an incredible global network of Alumni who are ready and willing to pay it forward as new Alumni graduate and look to make their mark in the film and television industry. If you’re looking to publicize a job opportunity for AFI Alumni, please fill out the short form below. All submissions will be reviewed internally by our Alumni Affairs team. If there are any documents that correspond with the opportunity, please send them to alumni.opportunities@AFI.edu.



AFI DWW Class of 2022 Premiere New Films

The AFI DWW Showcase was held March 30 at the Directors Guild of America before an audience of working artists throughout the creative community who were on hand to champion the new DWW Class and celebrate their extraordinary work. Check out a video featuring the up-and-coming filmmakers, view their loglines and bios, and watch their short films below.



Hollywood Stars Turn out for AFI AWARDS 2021

On March 11, AFI celebrated the 2021 AFI AWARDS honorees with a star-studded reception at the Beverly Wilshire. Take a look back at our photo gallery featuring the incredible artists in attendance, including Steven Spielberg, Rita Moreno, Meryl Streep, Guillermo del Toro, Kenneth Branagh, Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, Barry Jenkins, Marlee Matlin and more. And go behind the scenes and see the cast and crew of the year’s best films and TV series walk the red carpet!



AFI AWARDS Official Rationales and March of Time

At the beloved event, AFI revealed its official rationales for all 23 AFI AWARDS honorees, providing the cultural and artistic context to mark these outstanding creative endeavors. The much-anticipated March of Time video also played, highlighting the honored films and television series from 2021 as they took their place in the pantheon of cinematic history.



SXSW Film Festival Winners

The 2022 SXSW Film Festival took place March 11-20 in Austin, TX, returning to in-person screenings and events. We’re incredibly proud of the AFI Alumni with projects represented at the festival and to the AFI filmmakers behind EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, which won this year’s Adobe Editing Award. Congratulations to Aashish D’Mello and Zekun Mao (both AFI Class of 2017) who worked as assistant editors on the film, as well as Todd Makurath (AFI Class of 2005) who served as an executive producer.



In Focus: AFI Alum Eva Husson on her new Film MOTHERING SUNDAY

Writer/director Eva Husson (AFI Class of 2003) takes us behind the scenes of her latest film MOTHERING SUNDAY, which stars Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth and premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.



INSECURE Case Study: From Web Series to HBO

In honor of Black History Month, Co-Executive Producer of INSECURE and original producer of its web series beginnings, THE MIS-ADVENTURES OF AWKWARD BLACK GIRL, Deniese Davis (AFI Class of 2012) recently moderated a panel with members of her production team, discussing the trajectory of the project from an acclaimed short-form web series to a hit television show. View a clip from the conversation where Davis speaks about the importance of pitching and how to stand out from other projects in development.



A Tribute to Hollywood Producer Charles K. Feldman

The AFI Catalog is shining a light on legendary film producer Charles K. Feldman this month in honor of his birthday on April 26. Feldman was an acclaimed filmmaker and talent agent, known for such classical Hollywood movies as THE GLASS MENAGERIE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, and his collection of papers is currently housed in the AFI Archive.



Network With Fellow AFI Alumni on Backlot!

Looking for collaborative partnership, creative guidance or to mentor other AFI alums entering the industry? You can do all of the above and enrich the AFI community on AFI Backlot.



AFI Emails Still Available

You asked, and we have answered! Request an AFI email address to make it easier to contact other Alumni. If you’re interested, please reach out to Alumni Affairs at AlumniEmailRequest@AFI.com.

In Other AFI News…




The Rising Voices initiative, spearheaded by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Indeed, has announced the 10 filmmakers selected for its second year including Jalmer Caceres (AFI Class of 2020), Georgia Fu (DWW Class of 2018) and Cara Lawson (AFI Class of 2017).


Academy Award®-nominated actor Riz Ahmed has established the inaugural Pillars Artist Fellowship which seeks to expand Muslim representation in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. AFI Alum Nausheen Dadabhoy (AFI Class of 2008) has been selected as one of this year’s Fellows.


Screenwriting Alum Allison Jackson (AFI Class of 2020) was named to the 2022 Fox Writers Incubator initiative.


The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) presented the Judy Irola Student Heritage Award (Graduate Category) to Seth MacMillan (AFI Class of 2021) for his AFI thesis film MY LIFE STOPPED AT 15.




AFI Alum Doug Ellin (AFI Class of 1992) is set to produce the comedy DISCUSSION MATERIALS, the feature directorial debut of TV writer, director and producer Alfredo Barrios Jr.


Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004) is set to develop and executive produce Lan Samantha Chang’s novel “The Family Chaos” under his Esmail Corp. banner, which has a deal at the Universal Studio Group division.


Apple has greenlit a new television adaptation of METROPOLIS, with AFI Alum Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004) signing on to serve as writes, director, executive producer and showrunner.


TBS is developing STUBS, a half-hour comedy from Screenwriting Alum Lindsay Golder (AFI Class of 2014) and THE MICK creators Dave Chernin and John Chernin. Congrats!


Gabriela Gonzalez (AFI Class of 2010) is set to produce the indie thriller THE LOW END THEORY which just added Rene Rosado, Eddie Martinez, Ricky Russert and actor/rapper Scotty Tovar to its cast.


THE CHANGELING, from Annapurna and Apple Studios, is set to star Academy Award® nominee Lakeith Stanfield, Emmy Award® nominee Adina Porter and Clark Backo. Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) is on board to direct the series.


William Jackson Harper and Cristin Milioti are set to star in THE RESORT, a true-crime love story created by writer Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015). Fellow AFI Alum Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004) will executive produce the new Peacock series alongside Siara.




Blumhouse and Prime Video have picked up NANNY, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Jonathan Guggenheim (AFI Class of 1990) worked as Production Designer and Bill Benenson (1975) served as an Executive Producer on the project.


Vertical Entertainment acquired the rights to the thriller THE COW, which stars Winona Ryder and just premiered at SXSW. Arndt-Wulf Peemöller (AFI Class of 2010) edited the film while Susannah Honey (AFI Class of 2014) served as production designer.


Saban Films has picked up the North American rights to MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON, executive produced by AFI Alum Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001).




Greta Bellamacina and Amber Anderson have been cast as the leads in writer/director Jaclyn Bethany’s (AFI Class of 2018) upcoming feature TELL THAT TO THE WINTER SEA which begins shooting this spring.


Disney Plus released the first trailer for the new STAR WARS limited series, OBI-WAN KENOBI, which debuts May 25. Todd Cherniawsky (AFI Class of 1993) served as Production Designer, Arielle Ness-Cohn (AFI Class of 2016) as Art Director and Robert Aguirre (AFI Class of 2018) as an Assistant Art Director on the series, which is executive produced by AFI Board of Trustees Chair Kathleen Kennedy.


Cinematographer Farhad Ahmed Dehlvi (AFI Class of 2014), discussed his Academy Award®-nominated short film PLEASE HOLD.


BLUE BEETLE, Marvel’s first film to center on a Latino superhero, has enlisted the talents of George Lopez, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo and Damián Alcázar for its ensemble cast. The screenplay is from AFI Alum Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (AFI Class of 2013).


IFC Midnight released the first trailer for WATCHER, written and directed by Chloe Okuno (AFI Class of 2014), shot by cinematographer Benjamin Kirk Nielsen (AFI Class of 2014) and edited by Michael Block (AFI Class of 2014).  The film has played at both Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals.


Director Darius Dawson and editor Austin Rourke (both AFI Class of 2019) made a documentary short called TO RIGHT A WRONG: THE STORY OF BALLARD MOUNTAIN for the National Park Service.


Eirik Andreas Sandaker (AFI Class of 2013) wrote, directed and edited a short tribute documentary portrait about acclaimed composer James Horner, which will premiere May 13 in Szczecin, Poland. Fellow AFI Alum Stephen St. Peter (AFI Class of 2014) also served as the cinematographer on the project.




Blumhouse Productions is boarding SOFT & QUIET, the debut feature of Beth de Araújo (AFI Class of 2013), which premiered at SXSW. Saba Zerehi (AFI Class of 2014) and Joshua Beirne-Golden (AFI Class of 2011) are producing the film while Bea Sequeira (AFI Class of 2003) from Blumhouse is serving as an executive producer.


ELVIS, centered on the iconic rock ‘n’ roll singer, is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Director Baz Luhrmann co-wrote the film alongside AFI Alum Jeremy Doner (AFI Class of 1994).


100TH AND CEDAR, directed by AFI Alum Carl Kriss (AFI Class of 2015), was recently accepted into the Cleveland Film Festival. Find out more information here.


RETURN SASYK TO THE SEA, by Andrea Odezynska (AFI Class of 1990), about an eco-disaster unfolding southern Ukraine, will be playing at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, Environmental Film Festival at Yale and International Wildlife Film Festival in April and May.




HIGHTOWN was just renewed for a third season at Starz. Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006) directed four episodes across the first two seasons of the show.




Following the premiere of his feature directorial debut GOD’S COUNTRY, AFI Faculty and Alum Julian Higgins (AFI Class of 2010) has signed with A3 Artists Agency. Congrats!


AFI Conservatory Dean Susan Ruskin and ASC Vice President Amy Vincent (AFI Class of 1991) spoke to Variety about how opportunities have begun to increase for women cinematographers.


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