September 2023 News

AFI Ranked the #1 Film School Two Years in a Row!

We’re thrilled to share with all of our Alumni that the AFI Conservatory has been named the #1 film school in the nation once again this year by The Hollywood Reporter. Congratulations to all of you who have supported us in educating the next generation of filmmakers and championed the future of the art form! It is your passion for your art, and your commitment to excellence that makes your alma mater what it is today.



AFI Celebrates the Commencement of the AFI Class of 2023

With immense joy and pride, we congratulate the AFI Class of 2023 who graduated from the AFI Conservatory on Saturday, August 5. The ceremony, which took place at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, featured speeches by AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and Executive VP of AFI Susan Ruskin, Class of 2023 Representative Kunal Sengupta, and AFI Honorary Degree recipients Ernest R. Dickerson and Gina Prince-Bythewood.



DWW+ Applications Now Open

AFI is excited to announce that applications for the 2023-2024 cycle are officially open through September 15. DWW+ is a year-long directing workshop led by industry experts that educates traditionally underrepresented filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film. Past participants include Siân Heder (DWW Class of 2005), Hanelle Culpepper (DWW Class of 2002) and Lesli Linka Glatter (DWW Class of 1982).



AFI’s Get the Picture is New and Improved!

The game you love just got better! AFI recently celebrated the 500th installment of Get the Picture, AFI’s signature daily movie guessing game, by unveiling an array of all-new game features – now allowing movie lovers to track both your playing and winning streaks, as well as challenge yourselves by playing images from the game’s extensive archive of movie images.



Admission Readers Wanted!

It’s that time of year – application season! The Admissions Office is looking for Alumni reviewers and interviewers for this year’s Fall 2024 applications. We are particularly looking for reviewers in the Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing and Screenwriting disciplines. Reviewers are expected to read applications from December 1, 2023–January 12, 2024, while interviewers participate between January 16–February 28, 2024. Learn more about the process, expectations and important dates and complete your application to help select the next class of AFI Fellows! Alumni reader applications are due by Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PST. If you have any questions, reach out directly to Brian Hostenske, Manager of Admissions at



Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center Multi-Purpose Space Now Available to Reserve

Interested in hosting a meeting, table read, rehearsal or filmmaker Q&A? We’re excited to announce that, as AFI Alumni, you can now reserve our conference and multipurpose rooms at the newly established Lawrence Herbert Alumni Center on campus. Contact our Alumni Affairs team at to learn more and inquire about availability.

Meet Fellow AFI Alumni on Backlot

Looking for collaborative partners, creative guidance or to mentor other AFI Alumni in the film and television industry? You can do all of the above on AFI Backlot. Join today!



Sign up for an AFI Email

Would you like an AFI email address to make it easier to contact other Alumni? Or are you a recent graduate who requires assistance with your AFI Alumni Account? If so, please feel free to contact Alumni Affairs at

In Other AFI News…




Chapman University announced that it has hired AFI Alum Annabelle K. Frost (AFI Class of 2002) as Assistant Professor of Producing at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.


AFI DWW+ Alum Lesli Linka Glatter (DWW Class of 1982) was reelected as President of the Directors Guild of America this week.


Jhanvi Motla (AFI Class of 2017) was announced as a finalist for 1497’s third annual Features Lab whose mission is to champion South Asian screenwriters.


Ino Yang Popper (AFI Class of 2020) was honored with a Best Cinematography award for her film GRAPEFRUIT at the 72 Hour Shootout filmmaking competition which is part of the Asian American International Film Festival. The Shootout is a worldwide filmmaking competition celebrating gender and ethnic diversity in film.




THE LEMURIAN CANDIDATE has officially received a SAG-AFTRA waiver to begin production this summer. The psychedelic independent film is written and directed by Casey Cooper Johnson (AFI Class of 2011) with Johnson producing alongside fellow AFI Alums Antoneta Kastrati (AFI DWW Class of 2012) and Casey Fenton (AFI Class of 2011). Cinematographer J. Connor Bjornson (AFI Class of 2020) and production designer Emily Henninger (AFI Class of 2024) are also working on the film.






Season 2 of WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY recently premiered on HBO Max. Todd Banhazl (AFI Class of 2009) not only returns as a cinematographer this season, but also scores his first directing credit on episode 3. Cinematographer Ricardo Diaz (AFI Class of 2009), Associate Producer Gala Goliani (AFI Class of 2013), Set Designer Argya Sadan (AFI Class of 2017) and Archive Researcher Frederic J.A. Richter (AFI Class of 2012) also worked on this season.


FX announced that A MURDER AT THE END OF THE WORLD, co-created, written and executive produced by Zal Batmanglij (AFI Class of 2006), will premiere on November 14. The series stars Emma Corrin, Clive Owen and Brit Marling, who also co-created the show.


BLUE BEETLE, written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (AFI Class of 2013) and shot by cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski (AFI Class of 2010), is receiving early acclaim with Variety calling it a “love letter to Latino culture.”


The first teaser for Taylor Sheridan’s LAWMEN: BASS REEVES dropped in August. AFI Alum Chad Feehan (AFI Class of 2004) serves as showrunner and executive produced the anthology series.


Variety reviewed Clement Virgo’s new film BROTHER, particularly calling out the cinematography of AFI Alum Guy Godfree (AFI Class of 2011).


Mike Flanagan’s limited series THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, executive produced by Emmy Grinwis (AFI DWW Class of 2009), will be released October 12 by Netflix.


Netflix released the first trailer for FAIR PLAY, starring Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich, this week. Marian Jiménez (AFI Class of 2012) worked as an Assistant Editor on the film, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.


The first teaser trailer for MAESTRO, a Leonard Bernstein biopic directed, co-written and starring Bradley Cooper, was recently released. The film was shot by AFI Alum and cinematographer Matthew Libatique (AFI Class of 1992).


IFC Films recently released BIRTH/REBIRTH, edited by AFI Alum Taylor Mason (AFI Class of 2012), in theaters. Premiering at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, the film has been named as a New York Times Critics’ pick and called an “ultrasmart, ferociously feminist take on the Frankenstein myth.”


Apple TV+ revealed the first trailer for THE CHANGELING, which was directed and executive produced by AFI Alum Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005). The first three episodes of the series will debut September 8, followed by weekly installments through October 13.


The Hollywood Reporter reviewed THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY, now out in theaters, which was developed, edited and produced by Vanara Taing (AFI Class of 2012) and shot over four years. The film follows the journey of a Native American woman (Lily Gladstone) to reconnect with her Oglala Lakota relatives.


The third and final season of RESERVATION DOGS premiered to rave reviews. AFI Faculty and Alum Varun Viswanath (AFI Class of 2012) served as an editor on the series.


A24 announced that THE ZONE OF INTEREST, which was produced by James Wilson (AFI Class of 1991) and won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes, will be released December 8, 2023.




DREAM SCENARIO, which AFI Alum Ari Aster (AFI Class of 2010) produced, will premiere as part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Platform lineup.


The psychological thriller BREAKWATER will have its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival this weekend. The film is written and directed by James Rowe (AFI Class of 1998), shot by cinematographer Kai Krause (AFI Class of 2015) and produced by AFI Faculty Dana Lustig (AFI Class of 1988).


Michael Mann’s FERRARI is set to close the 2023 New York Film Festival. Producers Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001) and Lars Sylvest (AFI Class of 1999), as well as 1st Assistant Editor Franck Méndez (AFI Class of 2017) all worked on the film.




Carl Franklin (AFI Class of 1986) spoke to The Wrap about his 1992 breakout independent film ONE FALSE MOVE, starring Bill Paxton, which is now available in a new 4k edition from the Criterion Collection.


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