July 2022 News

Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center Dedication Ceremony

On June 11, AFI hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of the newly built Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center with guest of honor and AFI Trustee Emeritus Lawrence Herbert, as well as AFI Alumni and Staff uniting to celebrate on campus. The Center, which officially opens its doors this fall, will provide career development resources for Alumni and support graduates by connecting them with mentors within the industry.



Highlights from the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute

Take an inspiring look back at one of Hollywood’s most glamorous nights, featuring presenters and guests including Carol Burnett, Steve Carrell, Bo Derek, Héctor Elizondo, Cynthia Erivo, Jane Seymour, Gwen Stefani and a special reunion with cast members from THE SOUND OF MUSIC!



All the Best Photos from the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute

The evening was “practically perfect” in every way! We are excited to share photos of the joyous occasion, from the silver carpet to the AFI Life Achievement Award presentation, broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre.



Siân Heder Receives Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal

At the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute Gala, Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005) – who won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar® for CODA – was honored with the 2022 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal. In her acceptance speech, Heder said, “AFI taught me that directing is a state of curiosity and learning. The solving of problems is where the art lives.”



Tribeca Film Festival Recognized AFI Alumni

AFI is incredibly proud of all the AFI Alumni with films at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival! The festival awarded SMOKING TIGERS, produced by Guo Guo (AFI Class of 2020), with the AT&T Untold Stories Development Grant. Congratulations to the following AFI Alumni who worked on Tribeca Award-winning projects this year!


Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary Short: STRANGER AT THE GATE: 

  • Eric Nichols (AFI Class of 2013), Executive Producer


Best Cinematography: NEXT EXIT

  •  Brett W. Bachman (AFI Class of 2011), Editor/EP; Narineh Hacopian (AFI Class of 2011), Producer; Edd Lukas (AFI Class of 2008), Cinematographer: Additional Photography


Best Online Premiere: CHERRY

  • Shincy Lu (Class of 2018), Producer; Qiyu Zhou (Class of 2019), Production Manager; Haohao Yan (Class of 2019), First Assistant Director; and Shu Zhu (Class of 2018), First Assistant Director



AFI Alumni Happy Hour at the Tribeca Film Festival

In honor of the 21st Tribeca Film Festival, AFI Alumni in New York came together on June 14 for a happy hour at Petrarca Cucina e Vino in Tribeca, owned by AFI Alum Ivano Pulito (AFI Class of 2016). Thank you to all who attended, and stay tuned for more Alumni events!

AFI Alumni Showcase Projects at the American Black Film Festival

And that’s a wrap! The 26th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) was held in Miami Beach from June 15-19, followed by virtual screenings and events on ABFF PLAY from June 20-30. We’re excited to announce the following AFI Alumni had work represented at the festival this year.



Peabody Awards Honor AFI Alumni Work

Last month, the recipients of the Peabody Awards, which honor the most intelligent, powerful and moving stories in broadcasting and digital media, were announced. Congratulations to the following AFI Alumni who worked on Peabody Award-winning films and television series this year!



– Jaqueline Hoyt (Class of 2002), Writer/Executive Producer; Marie Montgomery (Class of 2011), Script Coordinator



– Varun Viswanath (Class of 2012), Editor



– Stefan Weinberger (Class of 2012), Additional Camera



– John Demps Jr. (Class of 1982), Additional Cinematography



AFI Announces 2022 Screen Australia-AAA-Onbass Fellow

AFI recently announced that Julia Corcoran will be the 2022 recipient of the Screen Australia-AAA-Onbass Fellowship, a full tuition scholarship to the AFI Conservatory. Corcoran is an emerging film and TV producer from Sydney, Australia, and will enter the MFA Producing program at AFI in the fall as part of the Class of 2024.



AFI Alumni Chloe Okuno and Michael Block Visit the AFI Conservatory

WATCHER writer/director Chloe Okuno and editor Michael Block (both AFI Class of 2014) recently visited AFI to talk about the film, starring Maika Monroe, which has earned the biggest opening weekend grosses ever for IFC Films. Fellow Alum Benjamin Nielsen (AFI Class of 2014) also served as the cinematographer on the project.



Meet 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. Join today!



AFI Emails Available

Would you like an AFI email address to make it easier to contact other Alumni? If you’re interested, please feel free to contact Alumni Affairs at AlumniEmailRequest@AFI.com.



In Other AFI News…




The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has invited the following AFI Alumni to join its ranks. Congratulations! Ava Berkofsky (AFI Class of 2013), Mariano Barroso (AFI Class of 1987), Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005), Lyn Goldfarb (AFI DWW Class of 1991), Louie Provost (AFI Class of 2006) and Shannon Baker Davis (AFI Class of 2003).




AFI Alum Bill Duke (AFI Class of 1978) is set to executive produce DEFIANT which “tells the true story of enslaved harbor pilot Robert Smalls who, in the midst of the Civil War, pulled off the most audacious heist in history by stealing a Confederate warship, disguising himself as the captain, filling it with family and friends and sailing to freedom.”


Bill Oliver (AFI Class of 2005) is set to direct OUR SON, which he co-wrote with Peter Nickowitz and will star Luke Evans and Billy Porter as a married couple navigating divorce and a custody battle of their 8-year-old son.


Screenwriter Scott Silver (AFI Class of 1992) is set to reteam with writer/director Todd Phillips for the sequel of JOKER, titled JOKER: FOLIE À DEUX, the French reference being a medical term pertaining to a mental disorder which affects two or more people. The first JOKER was the highest grossing R-rated movie of all-time, earning $1.07 billion worldwide, as well as 11 Oscar® nominations.




The boxing drama FLINT STRONG, directed by Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006), has resumed production, with actor Brian Tyree Henry joining the cast, after being shut down due to the pandemic two years ago.




AMC Networks acquired the North American rights to MONSIEUR SPADE, starring Clive Owen and written/directed by Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) who attended the AFI Conservatory.


MUBI has picked up the rights to David Cronenberg’s CRIMES OF THE FUTURE for Latin America, Turkey, India and Malaysia. The film, which just premiered at Cannes, is executive produced by Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001).




Local 600/ICG Magazine’s “Deep Dive” hosted a panel with the creative team behind HBO’s new series WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY, including cinematographer Todd Banhazl (AFI Class of 2009).


Actors Forest Whitaker, Thomasin McKenzie, Vera Farmiga and Richard E. Grant will lend their voices to the new animated series GOSSAMER, adapted from Lois Lowry’s novel and directed by Azazel Jacobs (AFI Class of 2001) and Heidi Bivens.


AFI Alum Anthony Leonardi III (AFI Class of 2005) directed this Tide commercial, starring Benedict Wong in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi, Marvel Studios, and Bullitt, a creative studio co-founded by Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo.


With the support of the Disney Directing Program, Stephanie Martin (AFI Class of 2002 and DWW Class of 2012) directed her first episode of TV on THE RESIDENT which aired back in April and will be directing a second episode this upcoming season.


Editing Alum Taylor Mason (AFI Class of 2012) was recently interviewed about her work on the Emmy® Award-winning HBO comedy A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW.


Netflix released a teaser trailer for Tim Burton’s new Addams Family show WEDNESDAY. Gandja Monteiro (AFI DWW Class of 2018) served as a director on the series.


CANDY, which stars Jessica Biel, had the best debut of any Hulu title since the most recent season of THE HANDMAID’s TALE hit the streaming platform in May 2021. Jennifer Getzinger (AFI DWW Class of 2005) served as a director on the series.


WATCHER, the feature directorial debut of Chloe Okuno (AFI Class of 2014), marked the biggest opening weekend grosses ever for IFC Films and its IFC Midnight/Shudder label across 764 U.S. screens. Cinematographer Benjamin Nielsen and editor Michael Block (both AFI Class of 2014) worked on the film.


Rolling Stone Magazine reviewed DARK WINDS, edited by Brian Wessel (AFI Class of 2009). The publication calls the series ­– which was released June 12 on AMC – “a pulpy mystery that makes Native characters the stars of their own story.”


Cinematographer Pip White (AFI Class of 2020) has joined the sci-fi thriller PARALLEL, starring Danielle Deadwyler, Aldis Hodge and his brother Edwin Hodge.




The Tribeca Film Festival, which ran from June 8-19, selected Darren Aronofsky (AFI Class of 1992) as a juror for the 2022 Human/Nature Prize, a new award this year going “to the project that best illuminates the pressing environmental issues of our time.”


Kino Lorber picked up the North American rights to FRAMING AGNES, a hybrid narrative and documentary feature film that explores trans lives and history that premiered at Sundance earlier in the year and was shot by cinematographer Aubree Bernier-Clarke (AFI DWW Class of 2013).


Variety profiled director Georgia Fu (AFI DWW Class of 2018) whose film MAPS recently premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival as part of Indeed’s Rising Voices competition.


AFI Alum Matthew Gentile (AFI Class of 2015) had his feature directorial debut AMERICAN MURDERER, starring Tom Pelphrey, Ryan Phillippe, Idina Menzel and Jacki Weaver, open the official selection competition at the Taormina Film Festival. Cinematographer Kalilah Robinson (AFI Class of 2016), Editor Matt Allen (AFI Class of 2017), Editor Chris Young (AFI Class of 2016), Assistant Editor Guangwei Du (AFI Class of 2018), Assistant Editor Krishna Sanchez (AFI Class of 2020), Camera Operator Stas Bondarenko (AFI Class of 2016) and Visual Effects Artist Justin Chandra (AFI Class of 2012) all worked on the film.


HBO announced the five finalists for the 2022 American Black Film Festival’s annual short film award, including Gia-Rayne Harris (AFI Class of 2021) who directed PENS & PENCILS.  Writer/producer Gem Little (AFI Class of 2021), cinematographer Veronica Bouza (AFI Class of 2020) and editor Lily Judge (AFI Class of 2020) also worked on the project.


THE UNFINISHED SONATA, written by Ariane Hahusseau (AFI Class of 2020), was selected by Wscripted to be pitched at the Cannes Film Market this year.


The inaugural London Action Festival, which takes place July 28-31, will open with a screening of DIE HARD with director John McTiernan (AFI Class of 1975) in attendance.


Cara Lawson (AFI Class of 2017) talks about her short film CROOKED TREES GON GIVE ME WINGS which recently premiered in the Indeed Rising Voices section at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Fellow Alum Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) served as a mentor on the project.



HBO renewed A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW, produced by Deniese Davis (AFI Class of 2012), for Season 4, as well as OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH for Season 2, which was shot by cinematographer Cynthia Pusheck (AFI Class of 1995).


FX renewed WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS for season 5 and 6. David A. Makin (AFI Class of 1984) served as a cinematographer on the series, created by Taika Waititi.




The Hollywood Reporter released their full writer roundtable which included AFI Alum Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005), Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Chase, Jeymes Samuel and Zach Baylin.


Emmy Award®-winning director and AFI Alum Daresha Kyi (AFI Class of 1991) recently signed with WME. She is currently in postproduction on Black Voters Matter, a feature documentary that follows Cliff and April Albright’s and LaTosha Brown’s rise from aspiring acolytes to game-changing civil rights leaders and the pivotal role they played in helping Georgia flip from red to blue in 2020 and 2021.


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