April 2024 News

The Academy Honors AFI Alumni Project THE ZONE OF INTEREST

The Oscars® red carpet was rolled out to great fanfare on March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, marking one of the pinnacles of the Hollywood awards season. AFI is proud to announce that the Academy Award® for Best International Feature Film was awarded to THE ZONE OF INTEREST, produced by AFI Conservatory Alum James Wilson (AFI Class of 1991), who helped create this provocative and pertinent film.



AFI Alumni Win SXSW Grand Jury and Audience Awards

Coming off of another inspiring SXSW, we are excited to reveal the AFI Alumni who worked on 2024 Grand Jury and Audience Award-winning projects! Congratulations to producer Edgar Rosa (AFI Class of 2014), editor Anisha Acharya (AFI Class of 2014) and Post Production Supervisor Rich Song (AFI Class of 2012) whose feature BOB TREVINO LIKES IT won the Grand Jury Award in the Narrative Feature Competition, as well as cinematographer/producer Nate Hurtsellers (AFI Class of 2014) whose film FRANK received a Special Jury Award in the Documentary Short Competition. Both films, in addition to MONKEY MAN, shot by cinematographer Sharone Meir (AFI Class of 1993), also took home Audience Awards at this year’s festival.



Hollywood Guilds Recognize AFI Conservatory Alumni

We’re thrilled to celebrate several of our esteemed AFI Alumni who have been honored for their remarkable work by the Hollywood Guilds in 2024. Recently, venerated director and producer Mimi Leder (AFI Class of 1973) was awarded the Cinematic Imagery Award by the Art Directors Guild of America at the 28th annual Production Design Awards. Additionally, acclaimed cinematographer Amy Vincent (AFI Class of 1991) was awarded with the ASC Presidents Award while renowned cinematographer Steven Fierberg (AFI Class of 1995) was the recipient of the ASC Career Achievement in Television Award by the American Society of Cinematographers at the 38th Annual ASC Awards.

AFI Welcomes World-class Filmmakers

Every month, AFI hosts some of the most innovative and influential filmmakers from all around the globe and shares these exclusive conversations with you. This month, we’re excited to share exclusive videos featuring Oscar® winner Cord Jefferson (AMERICAN FICTION) and acclaimed filmmaker Wim Wenders (PERFECT DAYS). Additionally, co-creators and EPs Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994) and Byron Wu (AFI Class of 2019), executive producer Mikkel Bondesen (AFI Class of 1998) and production designer Ray Yamagata (AFI Class of 1998) visited AFI to discuss their groundbreaking series THE BROTHERS SUN, starring Michelle Yeoh.



Meet Fellow AFI Alumni on Backlot

Looking for potential collaborators, creative guidance or to mentor other AFI alums in the industry? You can do all of the above and enrich the AFI community on AFI Backlot. Join today!



AFI Emails Available

Would you like an AFI email address to make it easier to contact other Alumni? Or are you a recent graduate who requires assistance with your AFI Alumni Account? If so, please contact our Alumni Affairs team today.



In Other AFI News…




We are proud to announce that AFI DWW Alum Neema Barnette (AFI DWW Class of 1983) has won the 2024 NAACP Image Award for Best Comedy Director for the television series GRAND CREW.


Congratulations to writer/director and AFI Alum Santiago Paladines (AFI Class of 2016) whose film LOS WANABIS has been nominated for best comedy at the Platino Awards – the highest recognition for Hispanic Films after the Oscars and Golden Globes. The film also marks the first nomination for Ecuador ever.


AFI Alum Britt Williams (AFI Class of 2023) was a recipient of the Audience Award for her film SOFT LAUNCH and received a $2,500 prize at the fifth Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Awards.




Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Austin Butler and Pedro Pascal signed onto AFI Conservatory Alum Ari Aster’s (AFI Class of 2010) next film EDDINGTON, which recently started production.


Producer Daniel Dreifuss (AFI Class of 2007), who won an Academy Award® for ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, has signed on to produce Hari Sama’s RED MEN, an “’edgy and provocative coming-of-age story’ about the life of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele.”


Kurt Sutter’s new western series THE ABANDONS added six new cast members and will be executive produced by AFI Conservatory Alum Emmy Grinwis (AFI DWW Class of 2009).


Director Patty Jenkins (AFI Class of 2000) appeared on the TCM/Max podcast to discuss working on the highly anticipated screenplay for STAR WARS: ROGUE SQUADRON for Lucasfilm and Disney.


The dramatic series El GATO was greenlit by Amazon Studios with Turi Meyer (AFI Class of 1986), Eric Carrasco and Alfredo Septién on board as showrunners.


Yi Zhou‘s documentary IN BETWEEN STARS AND SCARS will feature Academy Award® winners Robert Richardson (AFI Class of 1979) and Cameron Crowe and chronicle “the intricate world of filmmaking, with a special focus on the artisans who bring cinematic visions to life.”


Russell Rothberg (AFI TVW, Class of 1999) has signed on to executive produce the suspense thriller, LONG BRIGHT RIVER, which will star Amanda Seyfried.


Priyanka Chopra Jonas will star in THE BLUFF, executive produced by Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001), for Amazon MGM Studios and AGBO.


AFI Alum Eli Snyder (AFI Class of 2022) is set to direct the pilot for the new French Foreign Legion series UNTIL THE LAST ONE, which is being produced by Wesley Coller as well as Zack and Deborah Snyder.


Scott Foley has boarded the new romantic comedy LA DOLCE VILLA which is set to be directed by Mark Waters (AFI Class of 1992) for Netflix.




Disney Entertainment Television has revealed the latest cohort for its Television Directing and Writing Programs, including screenwriter and AFI Alum Letícia Ayroza (AFI Class of 2020).


Film Independent revealed the Fellows and projects selected for the 2024 edition of its Amplifier Fellowship, including Mobolaji Olambiwonnu (AFI Class of 2001).




Vertical Entertainment has picked up the rights to the award-winning film PARACHUTE, which was shot by AFI Conservatory Alum Kristen Correll (AFI Class of 2016).


Magnolia Pictures has acquired the rights to THE GRAB, executive produced by AFI Alum Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973). The documentary “follows journalists from The Center for Investigative Reporting as they work high-profile sources and utilize a cache of secret data to uncover the money and influence being used by countries, corporations and members of the uber-elite to control the planet’s most vital resources.”


GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS, which was written, directed and produced by Shuchi Talati (AFI Class of 2011) and had its world premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, was picked up for distribution by Juno Films. Cinematographer Jih-E Peng (AFI Class of 2012) and First Assistant Camera Akanksha Shyam (AFI Class of 2021) also worked on the film.




Warner Bros released a new trailer for the horror film THE WATCHERS, starring Dakota Fanning and shot by cinematographer and AFI Alum Eli Arenson (AFI Class of 2015). The film is set to be theatrically released on June 14, 2024.


Lionsgate released a new trailer for a remake of THE CROW, written by AFI Conservatory Alum William Schneider (AFI Class of 2007) and starring Bill Skarsgård, Danny Huston and FKA twigs.


Warner Bros Pictures released the first trailer for the new BEETLEJUICE film, featuring the cinematography of AFI Alum Haris Zambarloukos (AFI Class of 1994). The project stars Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe, Justin Theroux and Monica Bellucci with Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara returning from the original film.




A24 celebrated Pi Day with two new releases – an all-new Blu-ray release of PI, written/directed by Darren Aronofsky and shot by cinematographer Matthew Libatique (AFI Class of 1992), and a new behind-the-scenes book about the making of the film, titled “Pi: The Guerilla Diaries.”


Variety gave the television adaptation of SHŌGUN, based on James Clavell’s novel, a rave review. AFI Alum Charlotte Brändström (AFI Class of 1982) served as a director on the new series.


HBO announced that the second season of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, shot by Emmy Award®-nominated cinematographer Catherine Goldschmidt (AFI Class of 2013), will return in June.




At SXSW, AFI Conservatory Producing Fellow and recipient of the Paramount Pictures scholarship Uloaku Anyiam-Osigwe (AFI Class of 2023) participated in a panel called The Power of Narrative Storytelling to Shift Gender Norms, focusing on the compelling anthology In Bloom. Featuring five short films directed by talented women from Nigeria, Kenya, India, the U.S. and Brazil, the project addresses critical issues ranging from child marriage and gender-based violence to economic empowerment. Watch the conversation here.




Black History Mini Docs, executive produced by AFI Alum Neema Barnette (AFI DWW Class of 1983) celebrated its 10th anniversary by have an installation in the Academy® Museum for Black History month.


AFI Conservatory Faculty and Alum Michael Pessah (AFI Class of 2004) published an article in the Los Angeles Review of Books which explores the innovative cinematography techniques in the 2024 Best Picture Academy Award® nominees and “how cinematographers have been inspired to create their best work when the form itself is challenged” throughout cinematic history.


CBS News Sunday Morning interviewed AFI Alum Ed Zwick (AFI Class of 1975) on the AFI Campus about his new memoir “Hits, Flops and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood.”


Shoot Online published a feature celebrating the career of AFI Alum Amy Vincent (AFI Class of 1991) whose latest film A NICE INDIAN BOY recently premiered at SXSW.


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