August 2023 News

AFI Alumni Showcase New Work at Fall Film Festivals

Fall film festival season is almost here, and we’re excited to see so many AFI Conservatory graduates selected to showcase their innovative new work this year! Learn more about the latest projects created by your fellow Alumni that are playing at the 2023 Toronto Film Festival and Venice Film Festivals this year.



AFI Alumni Honored with Emmy® Nominations

The Television Academy of Arts & Sciences revealed the nominations for the 75th annual Emmy® Awards – with many AFI Alumni among the list of extraordinary artists recognized. Check out the full list of graduates of the AFI Conservatory who were honored this year!



AFI is Now on Letterboxd

AFI has just joined Letterboxd, the social network platform for audiences who love chronicling, discussing and sharing your favorite movies. Follow AFI’s new Letterboxd HQ to view AFI’s Top 100 lists, read the latest AFI news stories, learn about behind-the-scenes filmmaking and watch timeless conversations with master filmmakers.



AFI Conservatory Named One of the Best Film Schools in the U.S. and Canada

Moviemaker Magazine recently ranked the AFI Conservatory as one of the best film schools in the U.S. and Canada, highlighting the Conservatory for its outstanding cinematography program and Fellows’ access to “state-of-the-art camera equipment, sound stages and AVID editing rooms… [as well as] influential artists in the field and major industry players, often alumni, who speak, mentor and teach.”



DWW+ Applications Open August 11

Mark your calendars! Applications for the DWW+ Class of 2024-2025 are open August 11 through September 15, 2023. DWW+, which is a tuition-free program that educates traditionally underrepresented filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, accepts up to eight outstanding candidates who demonstrate a passion for visual storytelling, the willingness to learn and grow, and meet all program requirements. Learn more about this exciting opportunity to advance your filmmaking career!



Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center: Rooms Now Available

Interested in hosting a meeting, table read, rehearsal or filmmaker Q&A? We’re excited to announce that, as AFI Alumni, you can now reserve our conference and multipurpose rooms at the newly established Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center on campus. Contact our Alumni Affairs team at to learn more and inquire about availability.

Meet Fellow AFI Alumni on Backlot!

Looking for collaborative partners, creative guidance or to mentor other AFI Alumni in the film and television industry? You can do all of the above 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 feel free to contact Alumni Affairs at

In Other AFI News…




Variety celebrated 10 Artisans to Watch at SCAD Savannah Film Festival, including cinematographer and AFI Alum Todd Banhazl (AFI Class of 2009).


AFI Producing Fellow Mon Castro (AFI Class of 2023) was named by LA Weekly as one of the Top 10 Pioneering Leaders Revolutionizing the Entertainment Field.


Congratulations to the following AFI Alumni who were honored with awards at the 2023 Palm Springs International ShortFest:

  • Best Midnight Shortwinner: NIAN, directed by Michelle Krusiec (AFI DWW Class of 2022)
  • Young Cineastes Award winner:  WE WERE MEANT TO, directed by Tari Wariebi (AFI Class of 2020); Other Alumni who worked on the film are co-writer Christina Kingsleigh Licud (AFI Class of 2019), producer Jordan Tyner (AFI Class of 2020), cinematographer Veronica Bouza (AFI Class of 2020), production designer Rhea Solanki (AFI Class of 2020) and editor Luodawei Xiao (AFI Class of 2020).


JEROME, written, directed and co-produced by Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz and co-produced by Santi Naidoo (both AFI Class of 2023), screened as part of the HBO Short Film Award showcase. The film was also honored with the Audience Choice Award at the Cine Gear Expo!


Directing Fellow Pablo Riesgo (AFI Class of 2023) was named as one of three finalists for the Spotlight Dorado short film contest, an initiative sponsored by McDonald’s that champions Hispanic filmmakers, and will receive $75k to make a short film. The winner will work with McDonald’s on next year’s campaign and receive a laptop along with one year of industry-standard creative software subscription services. All three finalists will be granted entry fees for up to six national film competitions in 2024 on behalf of the program.


AFI Alum Alfredo Rodriguez-Allen (AFI Class of 2022) was selected for the 2023 Apichatpong Weerasethakul Creators Lab.


The BAFTA Student Awards honored WE WERE MEANT TO with the 2023 Yugo BAFTA Student Awards Special Jury Prize. The film was directed/co-written by Tari Wariebi (AFI Class of 2020), co-written by Christina Kingsleigh Licud (AFI Class of 2019), produced by Jordan Tyner (AFI Class of 2020), shot by cinematographer Veronica Bouza (AFI Class of 2020), edited by Luodawei Xiao (AFI Class of 2020), with production design by Rhea Solanki (AFI Class of 2020).




AFI DWW Alum Rachel Goldberg (AFI DWW Class of 2010) is set to make her feature directorial debut with THE BM, an action comedy from MarVista Entertainment.


Gillian Anderson will star in Netflix’s THE ABANDONS, an action series from Kurt Sutter and executive produced by Emmy Grinwis (AFI DWW Class of 2009).


Disney+ has greenlit a series based on Alex Dahl’s novel “Playdate,” which will be directed by Palme d’Or nominee and AFI Alum Eva Husson (AFI Class of 2003).


PAPER FLOWERS, directed by Mahesh Pailoor (AFI Class of 2006), has added actors Kapil Talwalkar, Olivia Liang, Karan Soni and Tom Everett Scott to the cast. The film is an inspirational independent film based on the true story of Shalin Shah, a 22-year-old whose battle with cancer gained viral attention in 2015.


Roger Ross Williams and director Elegance Bratton have partnered with Hillary Clinton’s HiddenLight Productions to create a feature documentary about 1979’s Disco Demolition Night in Chicago. The film is being executive produced by Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973).




Music Box acquired the U.S. rights to ROAD DANCE, calling specific attention to AFI Alum Petra Korner (AFI Class of 2004) “exquisite cinematography.” The film won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival.


Magnolia Pictures has picked up the domestic rights to INVISIBLE BEAUTY, a documentary about the career of pioneering African American model and fashion icon Bethann Hardison which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The project is executive produced by Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973).


Neon acquired the rights to Michael Mann’s FERRARI, starring Adam Driver. Executive producers Lars Sylvest (AFI Class of 1999) and Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001), as well as First Assistant Editor Franck Méndez (AFI Class of 2017) all worked on the film.




São Paulo’s Biônica Filmes is backing THE EYES OF ANOTHER, the feature debut of Maria Arida (AFI Class of 2017). Variety mentions that Arida “drew attention with INSTINCT, her AFI thesis film, a 17-minute short which world premiered at London’s BFI Flare, then had its U.S. premiere at the Phoenix Film Festival where it won the award for best Latin American short.”


JUSTIFIED: CITY PRIMEVAL co-showrunner and director Michael Dinner (AFI Class of 1979) sat down with Indiewire to preview his upcoming television adaptation of the classic 1980 Elmore Leonard novel.


DC Studios released the final trailer for the highly anticipated feature BLUE BEETLE, written by AFI Alum Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (AFI Class of 2013) and shot by cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski (AFI Class of 2010).


Producer Guo Guo’s (AFI Class of 2020) upcoming feature CHOPIN, starring Eddie Liu and Violett Beane, wrapped a 25-day shoot on June 4. The film is currently in post-production and scheduled for an early 2024 premiere.


Shudder released the first trailer for PERPETRATOR which stars Alicia Silverstone and features the cinematography of AFI Alum Sevdije Kastrati (AFI Class of 2011).


AFI Producing Alum René Salinas (AFI Class of 2017) just finished directing his first short documentary UNSEEN CONNECTION. In the film, Papa member Stephen, who is visually impaired, shares how his Papa Pal Marcel, a retired Veteran, helps him overcome loneliness and social isolation through the power of human connection. Learn more here.


THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY, whose story was developed, edited and produced by Vanara Taing (AFI Class of 2012), opened in select theaters on July 28. Learn more.


Season 2 of THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY recently debuted on Amazon Prime. AFI Faculty and Alum Sandra Valde-Hansen (AFI Class of 2006) served as a cinematographer and AFI Alum Victor Du Bois (AFI Class of 1976) worked as an editor on the hit series.




At the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, AFI Alum Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010) spoke with mentor and Senior Lecturer at the AFI Conservatory Barry Sabath, who is also dean of Bifan’s Fantastic Film School workshop, to talk about his film BEAU IS AFRAID.


MAY/DECEMBER, directed by Todd Haynes, is set to open the 2023 New York Film Festival. Editor Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993), Assistant Editor Chris Tenzis (AFI Class of 2019), Associate Producer Nicholas Erickson (AFI Class of 2015) and Executive Producer Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001) all worked on the feature.


The Stony Brook Film Festival took place July 20-29, 2023, and feature films by the following AFI Alumni. Congratulations to the AFI filmmakers behind THE BASICS OF LOVE which was honored with the Closing Night Short Film award!

  • THE BASICS OF LOVE – Writer/Director Joshua Nathan (AFI Class of 2021), Producer Xixian Wang (AFI Class of 2021); Cinematographer Andi Obarski (AFI Class of 2021); Editor Colton Warren (AFI Class of 2021); Production Designers Haven Kim (AFI Class of 2021) and Marina Perez Ramirez (AFI Class of 2021)
  • MAHOGANY DRIVE – Cinematographer Veronica Bouza (AFI Class of 2020)


FAMILY PORTRAIT, cinematographer Lidia Nikonova’s (AFI Class of 2017) debut narrative feature, is premiering at Locarno Film Festival on August 4. Additionally, her documentary BAMA RUSH, which she shot in Alabama last year, premiered on MAX this spring and since then has been the most watched documentary launch on the platform.




Director Darren Aronofsky (AFI Class of 1992) will premiere the first immersive production made for the MSG Sphere, the uniquely constructed, sphere-shaped venue that opens this fall in Las Vegas.


Cinematography Alum Emilia Mendieta Córdova (AFI Class of 2015) spoke to fellow Alum Veronica Bouza AFI Class of 2020) on The ICF+C Podcast about Veronica’s trajectory from electrician to cinematographer, graduating from AFI during the pandemic, the road to representation, and work-life balance.


RACHEL HENDRIX, produced and cast by AFI Faculty and Alum Heidi Levitt (AFI Class of 1987), had its L.A. premiere as part of a retrospective on director Victor Nunez at the American Cinematheque. Nunez collaborator and AFI Alum Todd Field (AFI Class of 1992) was also in attendance.


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