Post(s) tagged with "AFI Conservatory"


100% of Funds Raised Goes Directly to Fellows Training

Attending AFI Conservatory just became a lot more affordable for some talented filmmakers thanks to the generosity of the Institute’s Board of Trustees.  Meeting the challenge of AFI Board of Directors Chair Robert Daly, who donated $1 million last year, the Trustees came up with $2.3 million more and raised an additional $3.5 million from others in the entertainment community, nearly tripling the amount of scholarship money available to AFI Fellows.  In addition to Daly, the biggest donors were AFI Board of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer, Lawrence Herbert, David Geffen, Alan Horn, Terry Semel and the Time Warner Foundation. 

Eight Latino Fellows in their First or Second Year will receive a boost from The Latino Donor Collaborative through the efforts of AFI Trustee Moctesuma Esparza.  And a new scholarship named for the late Gary Winick (AFI Class of 1986), who was known as a mentor of young talent, has been established.  Its first recipient is AFI Directing Fellow Henry Hughes, a U.S. military veteran, whose tuition is partially covered by the G.I. bill.

AFI Alumni Winners - Sundance 2013

Congratulations to all of the AFI alumni who worked on award-winning films! Sundance 2013 showed 25 films which featured the work of 40 AFI Conservatory Alums.

The winners are…

James Burke (AFI Class of 1993), Executive Producer
Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973), Executive Producer
Jean-Paul Leonard (AFI Class of 2011), Art Director
Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic

Matthias Grunsky (AFI Class of 2000), Cinematographer
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize

Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006), Cinematographer
U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic presented by Acura

Seamus Tierney (AFI Class of 2004), Cinematographer
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic

Todd Banhazl (AFI Class of 2009), Cinematographer
Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting

Linda Sena (AFI Class of 2001), Production Designer
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting

Edd Lukas (AFI Class of 2008), Cinematographer
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction

AFI Alumni at the Sundance Film Festival

Who’s excited for the Sundance Film Festival? We have 40 AFI Conservatory Alums represented across 25 films screening throughout the festival!

Check out all the films screening and their dates at the following links:



James Burke (AFI Class of 1993), Executive Producer

Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973), Executive Producer

Jean-Paul Leonard (AFI Class of 2011), Art Director


Polly Morgan (AFI Class of 2010), Cinematographer

Anne Costa (AFI Class of 2010), Production Designer

Brittany Bradford (AFI Class of 2010), Art Director

Katelynn Wheelock (AFI Class of 2010), Set Decorator

Erika Walters (AFI Class of 2010), On-Set Dresser


Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006), Cinematographer


Seamus Tierney (AFI Class of 2004), Cinematographer


Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973), Executive Producer


Linda Sena (AFI Class of 2001), Production Designer

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AFI Alumni at the 2012 AFI Awards

27 Alumni with work in 8 Films and 5 Television Programs received an AFI Award last Friday for their work as a part of the film or program’s collaborative team.




Sharon Seymour (AFI Class of 1984), Production Designer

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (AFI Class of 1997), Second Unit Director

Andres Cubillan (AFI Class of 2008), Assistant Art Director: Additional Photography


Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993), Editor


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AFI Alumni Recent Nominations and Award Winners

It’s Awards Season in Hollywood, and AFI is proud to congratulate our AFI Conservatory  Alumni with recent nominations and wins. We are thrilled to have so many of our alumni represented with prestigious nominations from the Golden Globes and Academy Awards to Guild and Society Awards, and so many more!


Gideon Raff (AFI Class of 2003), Executive Producer/Screenwriter
Best Television Series – Drama (Winner)

(Winners announced on February 24, 2013)

Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983), Director/Screenwriter
Documentary Feature (Nominee)

Janusz Kamiński (AFI Class of 1987), Cinematographer

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AFI Alum Honored By the International Cinematographers Guild

AFI is proud to announce that AFI Conservatory Alum, Pete Villani (AFI Class of 2004) will be honored at the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) 16th Annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards for his work on the film CARJACK. Daron Keet will also be honored for his work on the AFI Directing Workshop for Women film RIPPLE EFFECT, directed by Velvet Andrews-Smith.

Showcasing some of today’s most promising talent, the program takes place Sunday, September 30th, 2012 at the DGA at 5pm and is followed by a cocktail reception.  

For more information and to attend, go to:

Remembering Frank Pierson

We begin this note knowing we will “fail to communicate” the heavy heart we carry today with the news that Frank Pierson, the man who wrote the legendary line for COOL HAND LUKE, has passed away at the age of 87.

The great irony that it was he who etched the line into the pantheon of pop culture is that nobody could communicate like Frank.

With words imbued with wit and wisdom. With glances that had you stand a little straighter. With smiles that gave you the confidence to realize your dreams.

Frank served on the AFI Board of Trustees since 2005, providing invaluable oversight to the AFI Conservatory, where he also served as our Artistic Director. But perhaps Frank’s greatest gift to AFI was his role as leader of the Conservatory’s Narrative Workshop. Week in and week out – for decades – Frank moderated these sessions where teams of filmmakers present their work to their fellow Fellows. As you know, his only rule was that the filmmakers could not speak. They were to listen. And learn. Frank led these gatherings with an iron fist and an open heart – challenging and inspiring a new generation to make movies – and always, to reach for more.

When he retired from teaching two years ago, and we searched for a replacement, Frank requested we look for someone who would, first and foremost, make the class about the Fellows. Frank was always about the Fellows.

Someone once asked him what made a great filmmaker. His reply, “Two failed marriages and a short stint in jail.” His point – he would go on to explain – is that to tell a worthy tale one has to have lived.

Frank lived.

And he will continue to live at AFI – where an army of artists has been sent off into the world – hellbent on standing true to their beliefs – and to their stories.

Something they learned from the very best. Something they learned from Frank Pierson.

Our community will come together to remember Frank in the weeks to come, but we hope you will take a moment today to remember Pacino’s chant in DOG DAY AFTERNOON – “Attica! Attica!” – and know that Frank’s legacy will continue to echo across time. 


Bob Gazzale, President and CEO
Robert Mandel, Dean, AFI Conservatory

Wally Pfister to Receive the 2012 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal

Cinematographer and AFI Conservatory alum Wally Pfister will receive the 2012 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal. Pfister will be presented with the medal as part of the AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Shirley MacLaine, to be held at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on June 7, 2012, and broadcast on TV Land on June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Pfister’s has collaborated with director Christopher Nolan on
MEMENTO (2000), INSOMNIA (2002), BATMAN BEGINS (2005), THE PRESTIGE (2006), THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), INCEPTION (2010), for which Pfister received the Oscar, and this summer’s THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012). 

Mel Brooks and David Lynch to Receive Honorary Degrees at the 2012 AFI Conservatory Commencement

We are very excited to announce we will confer Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa upon American comedy icon Mel Brooks and celebrated surrealist David Lynch for “contribution of distinction to the art of the moving image” during AFI Conservatory commencement 2012 at Hollywood’s landmark Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Both artists worked together on the Academy Award winning THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), with Lynch as director and screenwriter and Brooks as executive producer. 

Previous recipients of the AFI Honorary Degree include Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, James Earl Jones, Nora Ephron, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Helen Mirren, Haskell Wexler and John Williams.

Mel Brooks is only one of 14 people who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony Award, and his artistry ranges from writing, directing and producing to acting and composing. Brooks got his start as a writer on YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS in 1950, and later joined forces with Buck Henry in 1965 to create the hit television series GET SMART. Brooks’ first venture into film was as a voice actor in THE CRITIC (1963), which won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film. He again won the Oscar, for Best Original Screenplay, for his first feature, THE PRODUCERS (1968). Brooks is known for his comedy films including BLAZING SADDLES (1974), YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974), SILENT MOVIE (1976), HIGH ANXIETY (1977), HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1 (1981), TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1983), SPACEBALLS (1987), LIFE STINKS (1991), ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (1993) and DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT (1995). His films have been recognized by the American Film Institute as among the funniest American movies of all time, with three films in the top 15 of AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list; BLAZING SADDLES ranked #6, THE PRODUCERS ranked #11 and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN ranked #13.

Director, screenwriter, visual artist, composer/musical artist and AFI Conservatory alumnus David Lynch (AFI Class of 1970) is known for his darker, dreamlike explorations of American life. In 1977, his debut, ERASERHEAD, which began as his thesis film while attending AFI Conservatory, premiered at Filmex, the precursor to the American Film Institute’s AFI FEST. Since then, the award-winning filmmaker has continued to craft some of the world’s most immersive noir dreamscapes, gaining mainstream success and a reputation as an innovator. His film works range from sci-fi to crime-drama and include DUNE (1984), BLUE VELVET (1986), TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992), LOST HIGHWAY (1997), THE STRAIGHT STORY (1999), MULHOLLAND DR. (2001) and INLAND EMPIRE (2006). BLUE VELVET has been honored by AFI as one of the greatest mysteries of all time and as one of America’s most heart-pounding movies in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills. Also, Frank Booth from BLUE VELVET was ranked among the greatest villains of all time on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.

Among the premier theaters in Los Angeles, 2012 marks the first AFI Commencement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which opened in 1927. For the past three years, Grauman’s Chinese has been the exhibition home to AFI Fest, the American Film Institute’s annual celebration of excellence in global cinema, with Hollywood Boulevard lighting up over eight consecutive nights each November with red carpet premieres and screenings.

The Duplass Brothers at the AFI Conservatory last week, discussing their film THE DO-DECA-PENTATHLON with AFI Fellows.


AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.

As a non-profit educational and cultural organization open to the public, AFI relies on the generous financial support from moving arts enthusiasts like you to provide funding for its programs and initiatives. Become a member today and support your American Film Institute!


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