August News

Lesli Linka Glatter to Direct All Eight Episodes of Amazon’s Book Adaptation of ‘The Banker’s Wife’

Amazon Studios announced it has ordered an adaptation of Cristina Alger’s novel “The Banker’s Wife.” Emmy-winning “Homeland” director and executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW Class of 1982) will direct all eight episodes of the first season of this new series.

Melina Matsoukas Feature Directorial Debut QUEEN & SLIM

Melina Matsoukas’ (AFI Class of 2005) feature directorial debut, QUEEN & SLIM hits theaters this fall. The film had a successful screening at July’s Essence Festival in New Orleans. When asked, Matsoukas revealed she was drawn to the project for a number of reasons: “I’m about unity and bringing folks together and showing all our different voices in front of the camera and behind it…In all of my work I try to challenge the status quo.” Read more about the Essence event and watch the film’s trailer here.

Vote AFI as the #1 Film School

TheWrap has chosen the AFI Conservatory to be included in their 2019 ranking of the top 50 film schools in the USA. Last year they ranked AFI as #2. We need your help to get to #1! Please take a minute to vote here.

AMC To Develop For Scripted Inclusion Initiative, Led by AFI Alumna LaToya Morgan

INTO THE BADLANDS writer and co-executive producer, LaToya Morgan (AFI Class of 2005), who manages the AMC Scripted Inclusion Initiative, will oversee development of two new series – FARMHAND and OF TWO MINDS – that are part of the program which launched last year.


“What has always been important to me as a creator is not just the kinds of stories that get told, but also who gets the opportunity to be storytellers,” says Morgan, “With this initiative I wanted more writers of color and women to have seats at the creative table and AMC has been a great champion.”

AFI Directing Workshop for Women Now Accepting Applications

The AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) is now accepting applications! The hands-on training program is committed to increasing the number of women and gender non-binary artists working professionally as narrative screen directors.


If you, or someone you know, are interested, visit this link, or email the DWW office directly.

DWW Alumna, Director Maggie Kiley Inks Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV

Director and AFI alumna, Maggie Kiley (DWW Class of 2009), who directed the pilot for the CW’s new series KATY KEENE, signed a new, exclusive, multi-year overall deal at Warner Bros TV. Kiley will contribute director and executive producer services for the studio, in addition to developing new TV projects for broadcast, cable and streaming services.

'Glory' At 30: Director Edward Zwick Reflects On His Civil War Epic

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the cinema classic, GLORY, Deadline recently sat down with Edward Zwick (AFI Class of 1975) to reflect on the cinematic and cultural legacy of the landmark Civil War epic.

AFI Wins Student BAFTA Award

We celebrate the incredible success of one of our own at the 2019 BAFTA Student Film Awards! The BAFTA Student Film Award for Live Action was awarded to AFI’s Asher Jelinsky for their AFI thesis film MILLER & SON that centers on the life of a transwoman mechanic. Jelinsky also took home the Young Director Award at Cannes Lion for the film.

Mel Jones Joins Confluential Films As EVP, Production & Development

Confluential Films has set Mel Jones (AFI Class of 2010) as EVP, Production & Development. Jones will oversee the film and TV slates for the Confluential Films and Black Love Productions brands. She will report to Confluential Films founder, Tommy Oliver.



Jacob Estes Set to Release New Blumhouse Film DON'T LET GO

Writer/director Jacob Estes (AFI Class of 2000) teamed with Blumhouse Productions to create his latest film, DON’T LET GO, a high concept time-traveling thriller, starring David Oyelowo and Storm Reid, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and is set to be released theatrically on August 30.


Watch the trailer here.

Watch 2019 Commencement Ceremony

The AFI Conservatory’s cap-and-gown-clad graduating Class of 2019 commenced just one month ago! Watch the ceremony and hear filmmakers Paul Schrader (AFI Class of 1969) and director Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI Directing Workshop for Women Class of 1982), impart sage advice for the graduates as they enter the next phase of their careers.



In other AFI Conservatory news…


Eight AFI alumni have been nominated for Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy® Awards in the Drama, Structured Reality, Cinematography, Documentary/Nonfiction, and Editing categories. These accomplished artists include Ava Berkofsky (AFI Class of 2013), Chris Teague (AFI Class of 1989), Gonzalo Amat (AFI Class of 2002), Jeff Philips (AFI Class of 1990), John Dahl (AFI Class of 1982), Matt Davis (AFI Class of 1994), Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994) and Jennifer Lane (AFI Class of 1994). Winners will be announced at their respective ceremonies in September.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named 15 AFI alumni as new members for 2019: David Arata (AFI Class of 1983); Autumn Durald Arkapaw (AFI Class of 2009); Neema Barnette (DWW Class of 1982); Carolina Costa (AFI Class of 2013); Roberta Grossman (AFI Class of 1985); Trisha Gum (DWW Class of 2011); Liz Hannah (AFI Class of 2009); Julian Higgins (AFI Class of 2010); Eva Husson (AFI Class of 2003); Mako Kamitsuna (DWW Class of 2011); Jillian Longnecker (AFI Class of 2002); Matt Manfredi (AFI Class of 1995); Gail Parent (DWW Class of 1974); Beatriz Sequeira (AFI Class of 2003); and Lynn Smith (AFI Class of 1980). They include cinematographers, directors, writers, executives, film editors, documentary filmmakers, and creators of short and feature animation. Visit AMPAS for the full list of new Academy members.


Projects from nine AFI alumni – Kayla Emter Bernfeld (AFI Class of 2008), Drake Doremus (AFI Class of 2005), Brad Inglesby (AFI Class of 2005), Unjo Moon (AFI Class of 1998), Garrett Price (AFI Class of 2005), Sharon Seymour (AFI Class of 1984), Scott Silver (AFI Class of 1992), Marina Stabile (AFI Class of 2009), and Gregory Weimerskirch (AFI Class of 1994) – are part of the first wave of films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 5– 15.


David Freid (AFI Class of 2007), producer of the film GUNS FOUND HERE, was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy®. The film was submitted by NBC, on behalf of the Meet the Press Film Festival with AFI.


Gabriela Gonzalez (AFI Class of 2010), Diana Romero (AFI Class of 2007), and Jevon Whetter (AFI Class of 2009) have all been selected for this year’s PGA Power of Diversity Master Workshop. The initiative aims to foster greater diversity in the entertainment industry, with those accepted receiving one-on-one mentoring from PGA producers.


Mindy Johnson (AFI Class of 1989) is the recipient of the 2019 Academy Film Scholar Award. This is only the second time in the award’s 20-year history that it has been granted for the study of animation history, and the first time it’s been awarded to a woman in the field of animation.


Milena Korolczuk (AFI Class of 2018) and Warner James Wood (AFI Class of 2019) are both finalists in the Script Pipeline 2019 Screenwriting Contest for their respective features, ANIMAL and SONG OF MYSELF. Wood is also a finalist in the 2019 TV Writing Contest for his original pilot, THE CHELSEA HOTEL.


THE SILENT PATIENT, written by Alex Michaelides (AFI Class of 2004), is one of Amazon’s Top 20 picks for best books of the year so far.


Polly Morgan (AFI Class of 2010) is currently shooting A QUIET PLACE: PART II for Platinum Dunes and director John Krasinski, which will hit theaters on March 20, 2020.


AND THE BRAVE SHALL RISE, a documentary directed by Adam Schlachter (AFI Class of 2005), will have its world premiere at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.


THE JOKER, co-written by Scott Silver (AFI Class of 1992); SEBERG, shot by Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006); and HOUSE OF CARDIN, co-directed by P. David Ebersole (AFI Class of 1991) additional cinematography by Amy Vincent (AFI Class of 1991) and Mark Putnam (AFI Class of 1991), are set to screen at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, taking place August 28 – September 7.


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