May 2024 News

AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Nicole Kidman

Thank you to all AFI Alumni who were able to attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award celebrating the legendary Nicole Kidman at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Guests in attendance included Ava DuVernay, Morgan Freeman, AFI Alum Mimi Leder (AFI Class of 1973), Michelle Pfeiffer, Aaron Sorkin, Meryl Streep, Naomi Watts, Keith Urban, Reese Witherspoon and more. Photos featuring Alumni from the event will available soon. Check out AFI’s photo gallery and newly launched online tribute site to Kidman chronicling her life and career.



Matthew Libatique Honored at AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute

Also at the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute, AFI presented the 2024 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal to AFI Conservatory Alum and three-time Academy Award®-nominated cinematographer Matthew Libatique, ASC, LPS (AFI Class of 1992). Libatique’s latest work can be seen in the Academy Award®-nominated MAESTRO (2023) and in A24’s Academy Award®-winning film THE WHALE (2022), where he reteamed with director Darren Aronofsky (AFI Class of 1992), his longtime collaborator who he met on their third day while attending the AFI Conservatory. Upon receiving the award, Libatique spoke about the influence of his AFI instructors and mentors, and meeting Aronofsky, saying “Starting in this incubator called AFI, we’ve gone on to have a career-long collaboration that I feel privileged and grateful to be a part of.” Libatique’s credits include A STAR IS BORN, BLACK SWAN, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and more.



AFI Alumni Set to Debut New Work at Cannes Film Festival

The 77th Cannes Film Festival, which runs May 14-25, unveiled their full lineup of titles that will premiere on the Croisette this month. We’re proud to announce that the following AFI Alumni will have projects debuting at the prestigious festival this year!


In Competition:

  • Writer/director of BIRD, Andrea Arnold (AFI Class of 1991),
  • Writer/director of OH CANADA, Paul Schrader (AFI Class of 1969)
  • Producer of THE SHROUDS, Martin Katz (AFI Class of 1985)
  • Co-executive producer of THE APPRENTICE, Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001)

Out of Competition

  • Executive Producer of RUMOURS, Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010)


AFI DWW Celebrates Next Generation of Directors at 2024 Showcase and Marks 50th Anniversary

AFI recently hosted the AFI DWW+ Showcase to screen the innovative new films of the Class of 2024 at the DGA Theatre. The evening’s keynote address was delivered by the always-inspiring director and AFI Conservatory Alum Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) while AFI Dean Susan Ruskin marked the occasion by announcing the AFI DWW 50th Anniversary Honorary Committee. Check out highlights from the captivating evening below!



AFI Alum Neema Barnette Wins 2024 NAACP Image Award

Congratulations to AFI DWW Alum Neema Barnette (AFI DWW Class of 1982) who recently was honored with the 2024 NAACP Image Award for Best Comedy Director for her work on the series GRAND CREW. Barnette broke ground as the first African American woman to direct a sitcom and get a major studio deal, and her accolades include a Peabody and an Emmy® Award. Her credits throughout her distinguished career include working on acclaimed series such as QUEEN SUGAR, HARLEM and LUKE CAGE.



Register to Attend the 2024 Cine Gear Expo!

Attendee Registration is now open for The Cine Gear Expo, a premier event for professionals engaged in the film and entertainment technology industry. Taking place June 6-9 with exhibits June 7-8 at Warner Bros. Studios, Cine Gear features exhibits, new product and service introductions, complimentary seminars led by industry leaders, and ample opportunity to network with peers. Get educated, inspired, and explore the latest tools and services in entertainment technology. All attendees must complete the Cine Gear Badge online registration process and registration is free until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.


  • June 6 – Conference, Film Competition Screenings
  • June 7 – 8 – Exhibits, Premier Seminars, Special Events, Awards Presentations
  • June 9 – Master Classes



AFI Welcomes World-class Filmmakers

At the AFI Conservatory, we host some of the most innovative and influential filmmakers from around the world and deliver these exclusive conversations to you. This month, we’re excited to share exclusive conversations featuring renowned independent filmmakers Todd Haynes and Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993) (MAY DECEMBER), international auteur Matteo Garrone (IO CAPITANO), and acclaimed talent Juel Taylor and Franco-Giacomo Carbone (AFI Class of 1998) (THEY CLONED TYRONE).



In Other AFI News…




The 2024 Cannes Film Festival is set to honor AFI Alum Andrea Arnold (AFI Class of 1991) with the Honorary Golden Carriage Award at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.


AFI Alum Paul Schrader (AFI Class of 1969) will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 48th Laceno d’Oro International Film Festival, which will run from December 3-10.




Cinematographer and AFI Alum Autumn Durald Arkapaw (AFI Class of 2009) has just begun filming Ryan Coogler’s new thriller starring AFI Board of Trustees member Michael B. Jordan.


Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s upcoming novel “Long Island Compromise” is being developed as an Apple TV+ series with AFI Conservatory Alum Susannah Grant (AFI Class of 1991) on board as an executive producer.


Director David Lynch (AFI Class of 1970) spoke to Deadline about his new project SNOOTWORLD, which he’s been working on with writer Caroline Thompson (EDWARD SCISSORHANDS) and pitching to potential investors.


Actors Amanda Plummer, James Russo and Ulrich Thomsen have joined Uwe Boll’s upcoming thriller RUN, with cinematographer Mathias Neumann (AFI Class of 1990) attached.


Julianne Moore has joined the new film CONTROL, which has James McAvoy attached to co-star and Robert Schwentke (AFI Class of 1993) on board to direct.




Film Independent has announced the participants selected for the 26th edition of its Screenwriting Lab and five of the seven are AFI Alumni: Omer Ben Shachar (AFI Class of 2018), MG Evangelista (AFI DWW+ Class of 2025), Naomi Iwamoto (AFI DWW+ Class of 2024), Thomas Kivney (AFI Class of 2021) and Jhanvi Motla (AFI Class of 2017).


The Alliance of Women Directors has launched the Mentor Latina Director Fellowship and selected AFI Alum Silvia Lara (AFI Class of 2019) as a participant for the fellowship’s Class of 2024.


Apple Studios announced that they have selected three participants for their inaugural Directors Program, including AFI Alum Yoko Okumura (AFI Class of 2014).




Distributor Factory 25 will release writer/director Lucy Kerr‘s acclaimed debut film FAMILY PORTRAIT, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and was shot by cinematographer Lidia Nikonova (AFI Class of 2017), on June 28. Check out the trailer.


Disney has set DESCENDANTS: THE RISE OF RED, directed by Jennifer Phang (AFI Class of 1999), for a July 12 premiere and dropped a new teaser trailer.


Netflix has released the first trailer for DEADBOY DETECTIVES, the upcoming series edited by AFI Alum Brian Wessel (AFI Class of 2009) and adapted from the Neil Gaiman-created comic book characters of the same name.




Variety explored the making of MONKEY MAN, Dev Patel’s feature directorial debut, which premieres in theaters today. The film was shot by Academy Award®-winning cinematographer and AFI Alum Sharone Meir (AFI Class of 1993).


3 BODY PROBLEM, which premiered at SXSW, reached the top of Netflix‘s TV charts. AFI Conservatory Alum Jeremy Podeswa (AFI Class of 1984) served as a director on the new series.


Paramount Pictures recently released SWEET DREAMS in select U.S. theaters. Alexander Rudolph (AFI Class of 2020) executive produced the film and First Year Cinematography Fellow Adam Birch served as the Gaffer on it.


Indiewire interviewed director and AFI Alum Arkasha Stevenson (AFI Class of 2015) whose new film THE FIRST OMEN, recently came out in theaters.




The Cleveland International Film Festival showcased four episodes of the new series SHATTER BELT which played on April 4 and 5. Joel McDonellI (AFI Class of 2002) was an Associate Producer on the episode “Immotus” and stars of the series include Patton Oswald and Abigail Spencer.




The film THERE THERE, shot by cinematographer and AFI Alum Matthias Grunsky (AFI Class of 2000) has been reconceived as a multichannel gallery installation piece which will be available to view at the Rusha & Co. Gallery in Los Angeles starting May 4. “Adapted for a gallery setting, the work now adds new dimensions both thematically and quite literally…The viewer is immersed, as in a dream of being ‘in the middle of the movie,’ invited to physically navigate and interact with the exchanges surrounding them.


The Hollywood Reporter profiled director Freddy Macdonald (AFI Class of 2021) who talks about the journey he’s been on with his short film SEW TORN, from developing it for his AFI application to Academy Award®-winning producer Peter Spears coming on board as an executive producer to Searchlight Pictures acquiring the short to its Oscar®-qualifying theatrical release to eventually catching the attention of acclaimed filmmaker Joel Coen.


AFI Conservatory Alum Luis Pineiro (AFI Class of 2015) has joined film management and finance firm The Cartel as a manager and producer.


THE FIRST OMEN writer/director Arkasha Stevenson (AFI Class of 2015) has signed with WME for representation.


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