February 2024 News

Hollywood Stars Attend AFI AWARDS 2023 to Celebrate the Year’s Best in Film and TV

On January 12, AFI celebrated the AFI AWARDS 2023 honorees at a private reception at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Browse our photo gallery featuring the extraordinary filmmakers in attendance, view the official rationales for all 20 AFI AWARDS honorees, watch the March of Time video and check out all the highlights from the star-studded event.



AFI Alumni Nominated for Academy Awards®

There’s nothing more thrilling than the prospect of taking home the golden Oscars® statue on one of the biggest nights of the year! Click below to find out which AFI Alumni projects are in contention at the 96th Academy Awards which will be held March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.



New Memoir Penned by AFI Alum Ed Zwick out February 13

We’re excited to share that “Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood,”an upcoming memoir written by Academy® and Emmy Award®–winning filmmaker and AFI Conservatory Alum Ed Zwick (AFI Class of 1975), will be published and available to order beginning Tuesday, February 13. Zwick is an acclaimed director, writer, and producer whose credits include the landmark series THIRTYSOMETHING and MY SO-CALLED LIFE, as well as iconic films – BLOOD DIAMOND, THE LAST SAMURAI, LEGENDS OF THE FALL and GLORY. From February 8-16, he will also be participating in a book tour where he will read excerpts and talk about his experiences throughout his renowned career. Learn more below!



2024 Sundance Film Festival Comes to a Close

That’s a wrap! We’re proud of all the AFI Conservatory graduates whose new work debuted in Park City in January. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the pre-Sundance Pancake Breakfast, hosted by AFI and Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973), to honor our Alumni filmmakers at Sundance. Learn more about which AFI Alumni projects were represented this year and won awards at the festival’s 40th edition.



AFI Alumni Projects Win Big at the Emmy Awards®

In January, AFI Alumni and their projects were honored at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards® ceremony. Congratulations to all the Alumni who were recognized for their inspiring work and dedication to their craft. Be sure to check out the full list of nominations and wins for AFI Alumni and their projects!



AFI to Honor Matthew Libatique (AFI Class of 1992) with Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal

Three-time Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Matthew Libatique, ASC, (MAESTRO, A STAR IS BORN, BLACK SWAN) is set to receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, which will be presented at the AFI Life Achievement Award to Nicole Kidman on April 27, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.



AFI Unveils New DWW+ Class of 2025

AFI is excited to announce the incoming class selected for the prestigious AFI DWW+ program. AFI DWW+ is a year-long directing workshop that supports women and traditionally underrepresented narrative filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, providing hands-on instruction led by industry experts. AFI DWW Alum Hanelle M. Culpepper has also been named AFI DWW+ Guest Artistic Director for the Class of 2025.



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Sign up for an AFI Email

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In Other AFI News…




The 43rd College Television Awards revealed this year’s nominees, recognizing the AFI Alumni who brought to life a trio of AFI Thesis films – CHORUS, FISHMONGER and WE MET AT CAMP.


Film Independent unveiled the 2024 Independent Spirit Award nominations. Learn more about which AFI Alumni projects were honored this year.


ALL OF US STRANGERS took home seven awards at the 2023 British Independent Film Awards, including Best Editing for AFI Alum Jonathan Alberts (AFI Class of 2001).


Zal Batmanglij (AFI Class of 2006) was recently named one of Variety’s top 50 television producers of 2023, alongside his writing and producing partner Brit Marling.


SFFILM announced this year’s Sloan Science in Cinema Initiative recipients, including AFI Alum James “Séamus” Bearheart (AFI Class of 2022), who are set to receive $140,000 in cash grants.


The Directors Guild of America announced the 2023 DGA Student Film Awards and we’re excited to announce the following AFI Alumni were recognized:

  • Best Asian American Student Filmmakers: West Region | Award Winner: Naomi Christie (AFI Class of 2023) for her film OBJECT OF DESIRE
  • Best Latino Student Filmmakers: West Region | Award Winner: Giselle Bonilla (AFI Class of 2023) for her film THE BULLFIGHTER
  • Best Women Student Filmmakers: West Region | Jury Award Winner: Anna Lo Westlin (AFI Class of 2022) for her film BIENVENIDO JUANITO


The Ford Foundation announced its latest round of grants with “$4.2 million that will go to support ‘59 innovative film projects centered on social justice globally and in the United States.’” One of those projects is TRAVEL NOTES OF A GULLAH GEECHEE GIRL, which is set to be helmed by acclaimed director and AFI Conservatory Alum Julie Dash (AFI Class of 1974).


Film Independent announced the 27 new Project Involve Fellows who will join the 2024 cohort, including Vaughn Greve (AFI Class of 2019), Angelia Sciulli (AFI Class of 2011), Joewi Verhoeven (AFI Class of 2023), Natalie Camou (AFI Class of 2019), Portlynn Tagavi (AFI Class of 2019), Manuel Villarreal (AFI Class of 2022), Augustine So (AFI Class of 2020) and Philip Yuzhong Ge (AFI Class of 2022).


The Art Directors Guild will bestow AFI Alum Mimi Leder (AFI Class of 1973) with this year’s 2024 Cinematic Imagery Award.


Cinematographer Dominque Martinez (AFI Class of 2005) shot six episodes of the series WAFFLES + MOCHI’S RESTAURANT, which was nominated for five Children’s & Family Emmy Awards® including Best Cinematography.


CHANGELING director/executive producer Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) received the Auteur Award with creator Kelly Marcel at the 2023 IndieWire Honors.


The 2024 Slamdance Film Festival recently announced their award winners. Congratulations to the AFI Conservatory Alumni recognized at the ceremony:


George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner: DOSH

–Writer/director Radha Mehta (AFI Class of 2023)

–Producer Gabriel Gutierrez (AFI Class of 2023)

–Cinematographer Isue Shin  (AFI Class of 2023)

–Editor Joseph Murphy  (AFI Class of 2023)

–Production Designer Sandra B. Rodriguez (AFI Class of 2023)


Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: AFRICAN GIANTS

–Writer/director/producer Omar Kamara (AFI Class of 2020)

–Producer Jordan Tyner (AFI Class of 2020)

–Executive Producer Yancey Wang  (AFI Class of 2020)

–Cinematographer Jonas Fischer  (AFI Class of 2020)

–Editor Lily Judge  (AFI Class of 2020)


The new historical film GOMBURZA, shot by cinematographer David Carlo Mendoza and edited by Benjamin Tolentino (both AFI Class of 2018), recently won seven awards including Best Cinematography at the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival. Check out the trailer here.


Film Independent selected 16 projects for the 21st Fast Track Film Finance Market which took place December 4–6, 2023. Congratulations to writer/director Jing Ai Ng (AFI Class of 2019) and producer Elizabeth Glass (AFI Class of 2019) for being chosen for their project FORGE, as well as director Haohao Yan (AFI Class of 2019) and producer Guo Guo (AFI Class of 2020) for AUNTY UNTITLED PROJECT.


THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY won the 2023 Children’s & Family Creative Arts Emmy Award® for Outstanding Art Direction/Set Decoration/Set Design. Congratulations to AFI Alum Nathan Ogilvie (AFI Class of 1997) who served as Art Director on Season 2!


Congratulations to filmmaker Charlie Polinger (AFI Class of 2017) whose script “The Masque of the Red Death” was named to the Black List!


The Producers Guild of America recently explored the legacy of producer Debra Hill, including the Debra Hill Fellowship which was awarded to AFI Alum Zofia Sablinska (AFI Class of 2023) this year.


Cinematography Alum Diego Trenas (Class of 2019) was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Goya Awards for his film ONE NIGHT WITH ADELA. Another of his films titled THIS EXCESSIVE AMBITION was nominated for Best Documentary as well.




Screenwriter Daniel Casey (AFI Class of 2007) is set to pen and produce a new film, whose logline is being kept under wraps, with director Craig Gillespie and Sony Pictures attached.


Filmmaker John Patton Ford (AFI Class of 2009) is set to direct a new Netflix drama centered on an enigmatic Union spy during the Civil War.


Peacock greenlit the new show FIGHT NIGHT: THE BILLION DOLLAR HEIST, which was created and is being showrun by AFI Alum Shaye Ogbonna (AFI Class of 2011), and “tells the story of an armed robbery during the night of Muhammad Ali’s historic 1970 comeback fight.”


OH, CANADA, written and directed by AFI Alum Paul Schrader (AFI Class of 1969), added actress Kristine Froseth to the cast which also includes Richard Gere and Jacob Elordi.


AFI Alum and director Courtney Stephens (AFI Class of 2009) and Michael Almereyda are set to co-direct a new documentary about controversial scientist John C. Lilly. “The project will look at the countercultural figure’s work as the inventor of the isolation tank, as well as his pioneering studies of dolphin intelligence and support of psychedelics.”


Universal and Monkeypaw has tapped AFI Alum Justin Tipping (AFI Class of 2011) to direct the new psychological horror film GOAT with Marlon Wayans attached to star.


Jesse Wigutow (AFI Class of 1999) is the writer on Disney’s latest installment of the TRON franchise, TRON: ARES, which will star Jared Leto. Director Joachim Rønning is in talks to helm the film.




The BIPOC content accelerator Rideback Rise, which was launched to advance racial equity, has announced its “inaugural cohort of 16 writers and filmmakers who will be financially and creatively supported” as they develop their own TV and film projects, including writer/directors Victor Gabriel and Omar S. Kamara (both AFI Class of 2020).


Congratulations to AFI Alumni Stacy Gaspard (AFI Class of 2021), Giselle Bonilla (AFI Class of 2023) and Gianfranco Ruiz (AFI Class of 2023) who were selected by the Latino Film Institute for its 4th annual LFI Inclusion Fellowship!




KING COAL, an award-winning documentary produced by Oscar® winner Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006), has been picked up by American Documentary for the upcoming season of POV.


For a deal of upwards of $15 million, MY OLD ASS, which was shot by cinematographer Kristen Correll (AFI Class of 2016) and executive produced by Bronte Payne (AFI Class of 2017), was picked up for distribution by Amazon MGM.


Distributor Abramorama has acquired the North American theatrical rights to the documentary VISHNIAC, produced by Roberta Grossman (AFI Class of 1985), which “tells the story of the prominent 20th century photographer Roman Vishniac, known for capturing Jewish life in Eastern Europe.”


Juno Films picked up AFRICAN GIANTS, written, directed and produced by Omar Kamara (AFI Class of 2020). Producer Jordan Tyner (AFI Class of 2020), Executive Producer Yancey Wang  (AFI Class of 2020), Cinematographer Jonas Fischer  (AFI Class of 2020) and Editor Lily Judge (AFI Class of 2020) all worked on the film.




New production company The Coven has wrapped filming on the horror film SHADOW OF GOD, written by AFI Alum Tim Cairo and produced by Kendall Anlian (both AFI Class of 2011).


A teaser trailer for 4 RIVERS 5 RANGES, shot by AFI Alum and cinematographer Brandon Cox (AFI Class of 2004), was recently released.


The Hollywood Reporter spotlighted AFI Alum Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994) in conjunction with his new series THE BROTHERS SUN which recently premiered on Netflix. He co-created, wrote and executive produced the show alongside Byron Wu (AFI Class of 2019) while production designer Ray Yamagata and executive producer Mikkel Bondesen (both AFI Class of 1998) both worked on the series which star Michelle Yeoh compared to “Buster Keaton, but more violent.”


LAWMEN: BASS REEVES, which was created, executive produced, and showrun by AFI Alum Chad Feehan (AFI Class of 2004), broke records by becoming Paramount+ most-watched series premiere globally this year. Writer Jacob Forman (AFI Class of 2004), editors Jonathan Converse (AFI Class of 2013), Christopher Gay (AFI Class of 2006) and David Kashevaroff (AFI Class of 2004), and cinematographer Tommy Maddox Upshaw (AFI Class of 2004) all worked on the show.


Creator, writer, director and executive producer Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) was interviewed by IndieWire for his new series MONSIEUR SPADE, which stars Clive Owen and transports Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco-based detective to the south of France.


Matthew J. Lloyd (AFI Class of 2009), who worked as the cinematographer on Ava Duvernay’s ORIGIN, spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about his time filming, remarking that the “communal experience was so riveting and inspiring.” The film is now screening in theaters nationwide.


NBA All-Star Paul George has launched The Pack Productions and signed on to executive produce the upcoming documentary AMONGST THE TREES, produced by Joshua Zev Nathan (AFI Class of 2021), which debuted at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.




Independent Artist Group has signed filmmaker Shuchi Talati (AFI Class of 2011), ahead of the world premiere of her first feature, GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS, at the Sundance Film Festival. Variety recently reviewed the film remarking, “Talati’s handling of the movie’s complex, often discomforting material is deft and empathetic, and as a first-time feature filmmaker, she has all the makings of a future auteur.” Cinematographer Jih-E Peng (AFI Class of 2012) and First Assistant Camera Akanksha Shyam (AFI Class of 2021) also worked on the film.



A MURDER AT THE END OF THE WORLD co-creators Zal Batmanglij (AFI Class of 2006) and Brit Marling stopped by The Criterion closet to “talk about the influence of Alan J. Pakula, share their deep connection to THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VÉRONIQUE and AFTER LIFE, and praise the storytelling in DRIVE MY CAR.”


TheWrap highlighted decades of Jeff Vespa’s (AFI Class of 1993) work covering the Sundance Film Festival as a photographer, the featured shots included Ryan Gosling, Naomi Watts, Taika Waititi, Kristen Stewart, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.


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