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 AFI CONSERVATORY ALUMNI
SCORE FOUR
2016 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Nominations Include Best Feature and Best Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, November 24, 2015 — The American Film Institute is proud to announce that the following AFI Conservatory alumni have been nominated for four 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards today: ANOMALISA co-director/producer Duke Johnson (AFI Class of 2006) for Best Feature and Best Director; SPOTLIGHT producer Steve Golin (AFI Class of 1981) for Best Feature; and ADVANTAGEOUS director/writer Jennifer Phang (AFI Class of 1999) for the John Cassavetes Award. Altogether, 17 Conservatory alumni are credited across the feature films nominated for Independent Spirit Awards this year.  Winners will be announced February 27, 2016.

The Independent Spirit Awards announcement arrives on the heels of the recently announced Academy Award® shortlist for Best Live Action Short Film, in which the AFI Conservatory is represented more than any other film school with AFI thesis film DAY ONE director/writer Henry Hughes (AFI Class of 2014); CONTRAPELO (AGAINST THE GRAIN) director Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (AFI Class of 2013); and WINTER LIGHT director Julian Higgins (AFI Class of 2010).

Also announced last week was the Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar® shortlist, which features THE TESTIMONY producer Mitchell Block (AFI Class of 1974).

In this current 2015-2016 academic year to date, AFI Conservatory graduates have received: four spots across the Best Live Action Short Film and Documentary Short Subject Oscar® shortlists; three British Independent Film Award nominations; three Gotham Independent Film Award nominations; a News and Documentary Emmy Award®; a historic sweep of the 2015 Student Academy Awards Narrative category’s gold, silver and bronze prizes; two wins at the 67th Emmy Awards®; the FIPRESCI and Best Canadian Feature prizes at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; the 72nd Venice International Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize; the 2015 BAFTA U.S. Student Film Award; the 2015 Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation First Prize; five wins at the 36th College Television Awards; and two wins at the 2014 DGA Student Film Awards.

About the AFI Conservatory
AFI Fellows make four to 10 films during their training.  Graduates of the Conservatory are part of an elite group of 4,845 alumni — with 81% of AFI alumni working in the field according to a recent survey.  Artists from the Conservatory have received a total of 133 Academy Award® nominations and 27 wins.  Throughout the completed 2014-2015 academic year, AFI alumni have been nominated for 202 awards by 38 major guilds, academies and other professional associations — with 72 award wins.

The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines:  Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting.  Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling.  Within the Conservatory is also a unique training program, the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW).  AFI Conservatory’s alumni have been consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards — Academy Awards®, Emmy Awards®, guild awards — as well as the Tony Awards®.  Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks serves as Artistic Director of the AFI Conservatory where he provides creative leadership for the elite film program.  Proud supporter of the AFI Conservatory is American Airlines, the official airline of AFI, and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.