March 2021 News

AFI Awards Culminates with Benediction Speech By Morgan Freeman

AFI AWARDS revealed its 2020 March of Time, celebrating the best films and television series of the year. Revisit AFI Movie Club’s 21-day celebration of the 2020 AFI AWARDS honorees, and then check out the special virtual benediction by the iconic actor Morgan Freeman.



AFI Alumni & Their Projects Take Home Golden Globes!

In last night’s virtual ceremony of the 78th Golden Globes, comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted from opposite coasts, announced the official winners. Visit our website to learn which alumni took home the night’s top honor!



For Your Consideration: AFI Films up for the Oscar®

Interested in learning which AFI alumni films are in Oscar® contention this year? Support your fellow alums by checking out their work today!



AFI Alumni Make History at Sundance Again!

Sundance announced the award winners of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, honoring several AFI alumni for their exceptional work. Discover who took home the night’s top honors!



SXSW Releases 2021 Lineup

The SXSW Film Festival, which celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries, will take place virtually for the first time ever from March 16–20, 2021. Learn which AFI alumni have films in the festival this year.



AFI Alumni Nominated for WGA Awards

Congrats to the following four AFI alumni who were nominated for 2021 WGA Awards, which recognizes outstanding writing in film and television!

  • Scott Frank (AFI Class of 1984) for Best Adapted Long Form Series (THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT)
  • Sharon Hoffman (AFI Class of 2003) for Best Original Long Form Series (MRS. AMERICA)
  • John Shiban (AFI Class of 1989) for Best Drama Series (OZARK)
  • Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015) for Best Original Screenplay (PALM SPRINGS)


AFI DOCS Submission Fee Waived

Are you looking to submit your latest film to AFI DOCS? The late deadline is March 12, and as an AFI alum, you can submit for free! Please fill out a waiver request with your graduation year and email with any questions.



AFI in the News:


Awards Season & Competitions


Director Hanelle Culpepper (AFI DWW Class of 2002) penned a guest column for Deadline, in which she discussed her recent NAACP Image Award nomination for directing the pilot for STAR TREK: PICARD and the STAR TREK universe’s longstanding commitment to diversity and representation.


Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) and Regina King sat down to talk about visualizing vulnerability and celebrating Black men for Variety’s “Directors on Directors” series.


The DGA announced the winners of the 26th Annual Student Film Awards, including writer/director Olivia Hang Zhou (AFI Class of 2020) for her film APART, TOGETHER.




Women in Film has compiled a list of female filmmakers for awards season that spotlights the work of AFI alumni including Patty Jenkins (Class of 2000), Carolina Costa (Class of 2013), Yong Ok Lee (Class of 2013), Theresa Guleserian (Class of 2006) and Erin Magill (Class of 2012).


New Projects in Development


Alum Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010) is set to reteam with A24 for his third feature DISAPPOINTMENT BLVD. with Joaquin Phoenix onboard to star.


ABC ordered to pilot the romantic anthology series EPIC, written and executive produced by Brigitte Hales (AFI Class of 2005).


Amazon lined up a star-studded cast, including Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman, for anthology series SOLOS. Tiffany Johnson (AFI DWW Class of 2018) is set to direct.


On the heels of his bestselling debut novel THE SILENT PATIENT, Alex Michaelides’ (AFI Class of 2004) forthcoming novel THE MAIDENS has been picked up by Stone Village Television to develop as a TV series.


Distribution Deals


WHIRLYBIRD, which screened at AFI DOCS and was produced by Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006), is acquired by Greenwich Entertainment.


IFC Films acquired the rights to Gia Coppola’s MAINSTREAM, which was shot by cinematographer Autumn Durald (AFI Class of 2009).


MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY, which was shot by Lauren Guiteras (AFI Class of 2017) and won Sundance’s Audience Award in the NEXT category, has been picked up by Good Deed Entertainment.


THE DJINN, produced by Ryan Scaringe (AFI Class of 2017), was recently picked up by IFC Midnight.


Productions & New Releases


Neema Barnette (AFI DWW Class of 1982) directed two episodes of Nat Geo’s new limited television series, GENIUS ARETHA, which stars Cynthia Erivo and premieres March 21.


Variety reviewed the thriller ADVERSE, starring Mickey Rourke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Penelope Ann Miller and Sean Astin and shot by cinematographer Derrick Cohan (AFI Class of 2013).


The Washington Post interviewed filmmaker Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983) in which he discusses his upcoming miniseries ALLEN VS. FARROW and the power dynamics within Woody Allen’s oeuvre.


TEST PATTERN, about an interracial couple navigating the aftermath of a sexual assault, opens today in virtual cinemas. The film was produced by Pin-Chun Liu (AFI Class of 2013) and Yu-Hao Su (AFI Class of 2015) and shot by Ludovica Isidori (AFI Class of 2013). Zekun Mao (AFI Class of 2017) served as an assistant editor while Valentina Martinico (AFI Class of 2014) was a gaffer on the project. It is also playing at the AFI Silver Virtual Screening Room.


Screenwriter Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015) spoke about the inception of his film PALM SPRINGS and the culmination of his creative friendship with director Max Barbakow (AFI Class of 2015) in the LA Times.


LITTLE FISH, a pandemic love story written by Mattson Tomlin (AFI Class of 2014), is now available to watch in theaters and on VOD.


CBS’ SILENCE OF THE LAMBS sequel, CLARICE, premiered this week. The pilot was directed by AFI alum Maja Vrvilo (AFI Class of 1995).


Other News of Note


Deniese Davis (AFI Class of 2012), who is a producer and founding member of AFI’s Alumni Council for the Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center, recently founded Reform Media Group and signed with CAA.


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