June News

Denzel Washington Inspires Hollywood's A-List at AFI Life Achievement Award

The AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Denzel Washington on June 6 was a powerful evening full of memorable remarks and surprises. Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Jodie Foster, Antoine Fuqua, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Michael B. Jordan, Spike Lee Issa Rae, Julia Roberts and Cicely Tyson all paid tribute to Washington’s life and work. Jennifer Hudson wowed the crowd with a stunning rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Beyoncé Surprises to Present Schaffner Medal to Melina Matsoukas

Beyoncé stunned the LAA crowd when she came onstage to present the Franklin J. Schaffner to her longtime collaborator Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005). “She is fearless, no matter the challenges, and believes in breaking stereotypes in the industry,” said Beyoncé.

Congrats to This Year's Writers' Room Ready Participants

Here are this year’s six AFI Writers’ Room Ready recipients. Aimed at cultivating the next generation of television scriptwriters, the program gives graduating AFI Conservatory Fellows the unique opportunity to work directly with established artists.


Congrats to AFI Alumni:

  • Sofia Drummond-Moore, paired with Norberto Barba (AFI Class of 1990, producer/director on MAYANS M.C.)
  • Marco Evaristo Arizpe, paired with Manny Coto (AFI Class of 1984, writer and co-executive producer on 24: LEGACY)
  • Sarah Swingley, paired with Jacqueline Hoyt (AFI Class of 2002, executive producer on DIETLAND)
  • Cari Daly, paired with Lizzy Weiss (AFI TV Writers Workshop, Class of 1994, creator and writer/executive producer of SWITCHED AT BIRTH)
  • Jessi Shuttleworth, paired with Alyson Feltes (AFI Class of 1991, co-executive producer on OZARK).

Watch the Young Women in Film Shorts

The 2nd annual Young Women in Film program was a great success! Congrats to the incredible first-time filmmakers of the program for creating six impressive short films.  And a big thank you to the AFI Fellows and alumni who participated in this ⁣important program for 45 area high school girls. Support these young filmmakers-in-the-making by watching their films online.

Congrats to DWW Alum Milena Govich

Congratulations to AFI DWW alum Milena Govich, who will be  director/co-executive producer for the upcoming second season of Dick Wolf’s CBS drama series FBI. She is the first female directing producer on a Dick Wolf series.

BOOKSMART's Olivia Wilde and Katie Silberman Come to AFI

BOOKSMART director Olivia Wilde & writer/producer Katie Silberman came to campus to discuss their new film with AFI Fellows.  Jillian Longnecker (AFI Class of 2002)  serves as Executive Producer of this new project, which is now playing in theaters. Watch a clip from the seminar here.

Alumni at Cannes!

Cannes  Film Festival took place May 14-25. We congratulate our alumni with films in competition: Terrence Malick (Class of 1969) for A HIDDEN LIFE and Robert Richardson (Class of  1979) for ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. Pippa Bianco (DWW, Class of 2014), also screened SHARE out of competition, adapted from her short film that won the Cinéfondation prize in 2015. Congrats to Terrence Malick, whose film A HIDDEN LIFE was picked up by Fox Searchlight at the festival!

AFI Alumni Win at the 2019 Cine Gear Expo

BALLOON, an AFI thesis from Jeremy Merrifield, Dave Testa, Christina Cha, Frances Kroon, and Bowei Yue (AFI Class of 2018), won Best Student Film at the 2019 Cine Gear Expo held at Paramount Studios.


In other AFI Conservatory news…


MILLER & SON by Asher Jelinsky, Robert Nachman, Robert Aguirre, and Selinda Tian JZ Zhou (AFI Class of 2018) is a finalist in the 2019 BAFTA Student Film Awards. Another AFI thesis film, HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE CORRECTLY, from Xindi Lou, Sam Shafaghi, Daiyao Daniel Yan, Angran Li, and Guangwei Du (AFI Class of 2018) was shortlisted.


Derek Asaff (AFI Class of 2014) is one of six writers chosen for the Universal Global Talent Development & Inclusion program and will be developing two scripts under the guidance of Universal Pictures and Focus Features.


Jaclyn Bethany (AFI Class of 2018) is set to direct THOMASINA starring Greta Bellamacina and Rileigh McDonald.


Pippa Bianco (DWW Class of 2014) is both one of Deadline’s ‘Ones to Watch’ and The Wrap’s ‘Hottest Directors’ with SHARE at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.


Nicholas Emiliani (AFI Class of 2007) produced TOM VS. TIME for Facebook, nominated for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy Awards.


Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994) is co-creator and executive producer of 9-1-1: LONE STAR, recently greenlit by Fox for a 2019-2020 release.


Rodrigo Garcia (AFI Class of 1986) will direct, co-produce and co-write FOUR GOOD DAYS, and Jon Avnet (AFI Class of 1972) will also produce. The films will star Glenn Close & Mila Kunis.


Vidhya Iyer (AFI Class of 2017) has attached Imagine Entertainment to develop an original pilot workshopped as part of their inaugural Imagine Impact program.


Matthew Libatique (AFI Class of 1992), Polly Morgan (AFI Class of 2010), Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006) and Robert Richardson (AFI Class of 1979) were featured in an article by Variety about standout cinematographers to celebrate the American Society of Cinematographers’ centennial.


Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006) was highlighted by the Los Angeles Times in a piece on the female filmmakers supporting and normalizing working moms in the industry.


Raymond Perez (AFI Class of 2019) has been staffed as a writer on the second season of the upcoming Netflix series, SELENA! The show’s first season is slated to air in 2020.


Robert Taylor (AFI Class of 2011) has been selected for the inaugural Rideback TV Incubator program launched in February by Dan Lin’s Rideback and MRC, with the goal to create a market-ready, straight-to-series project.


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