Alumni Events & Announcements

AFI is seeking alumni readers for the second annual Writers' Room Ready television pilot script competition, highlighting the best pilot scripts and TV writers from its graduating Screenwriting class. Alumni will read and rate three to five original pilot scripts in November and be invited to an awards reception in 2017. If you have experience working in television and would like to participate as TV script reader, please contact by September 16.

Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973) invites you to reconnect over burgers, bratwurst and beer at the annual barbecue in the courtyard of Whitewater Films in West Los Angeles.
Spouses and families welcome! A suggested donation of $15 per person is optional. All donations will support the AFI Conservatory through the Alumni Fund.

Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 5:30–8:30 p.m.
Location: Whitewater Films
2013 Beloit Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025

NOVEMBER 10–17 | AFI FEST presented by Audi
AFI FEST presented by Audi will take place November 10–17, 2016. Save the dates! AFI Alumni Reunion invitation and festival details will reach your inbox soon.


Rafael Aguilo (AFI Class of 2003) produced and Neal Thibedeau (AFI Class of 2003) edited a commercial for Resident Brewing.

Drafthouse Films has inked a deal to release the Sundance music documentary WE ARE X in U.S. theaters. The film will open in limited release on October 21 in New York and Los Angeles, with a bigger expansion and awards push planned. The film chronicles the backstory of the punk-rock band “X Japan,” as its star drummer Yoshiki prepares for a reunion concert at Madison Square Garden. Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006) is the producer; Mako Kamitsuna (AFI DWW, Class of 2011), who won the 2016 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Documentary Editing Award, is the editor; and Daniel Herman (AFI Class of 2007) and Brian Outland (AFI Class of 2006) are additional photographers.

The Disney Channel has launched a block of 12 short-form movies. The films debuted under the "Free Period" rubric on the Disney Channel website, mobile apps and connected-TV devices, and on the Disney Channel's YouTube channel. Alexander Berman (AFI Class of 2013) and Camille Stochitch (AFI Class of 2013) are the directors and writers of the short VIRTUAL HIGH.

Martin Bernfeld (AFI Class of 2008), Kayla Emter (AFI Class of 2008), Matthew Lloyd (AFI Class of 2009) and Ed Wu (AFI Class of 2014) were selected for Variety's Below the Line Impact Report 2016.

Amazon Prime has purchased TYMPANUM, a feature written and produced by Shannon Corder Scott (AFI Class of 2005). TYMPANUM is the story of a young suburban family who move into a new home, only to find something strange and fantastic there. At first inspiring, this discovery eventually threatens their bond as a family.

Charlie Hunnam and Lea Seydoux will star in Drake Doremus' (AFI Class of 2005) next film. Doremus, the director behind LIKE CRAZY, recently helmed the sci-fi film EQUALS, starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult. The currently untitled project is being described as a "unique love story" by sources, but all other plot details are being kept under wraps. Ridley Scott's production banner, Scott Free Productions, which also worked with Doremus on EQUALS, is producing.

Ian Drazen (AFI Class of 2013), Kendell Courtney Klein (AFI Class of 2014), Joseph Pellegrino (AFI Class of 2013), Ross Raffin (AFI Class of 2012), Alex Simon (AFI Class of 2005) and Erin Stanley (AFI Class of 2015) are semifinalists in the 2016 Page International Screenwriting Awards.

Fox Global Directors Initiative has selected 16 participants for its comedy and drama apprenticeship programs. Seven are AFI alumni: Roja Gashtili (AFI DWW, Class of 2014), Rachel Goldberg (AFI DWW, Class of 2010), Alexis O. Korycinski (AFI DWW, Class of 2014), Julia Lerman (AFI DWW, Class of 2014), Yoko Okumura (AFI Class of 2014), Jennifer Phang (AFI Class of 1999) and Ryan Velasquez (AFI Class of 2012).

Refinery29 is spotlighting female filmmakers with the debut of its ShatterBox Anthology short-film series. On August 28, the digital media company released the first of 12 planned short films created by female directors, writers and animators, kicking off plans to premiere a new film each month on its website and via Comcast's Watchable streaming video service. One of the shorts is PINKY from Roja Gashtili (AFI DWW, Class of 2014) and Julia Lerman (AFI DWW, Class of 2014). The film is about a young girl who faces her impending adulthood during a slumber party.

Halima Gilliam (AFI Class of 2002) wrote an article for the Motion Picture Editors Guild CineMontage magazine. The article is an introduction to the new Diversity Committee at the Editors Guild and discusses the diversity survey that was taken by the membership earlier this year.

AT&T's Audience Network has given a formal series greenlight to ICE, handing a 10-episode order to the project from Antoine Fuqua's Fuqua Films and Entertainment One about the world of diamond traders in downtown Los Angeles. Sharon Hall (AFI DWW, Class of 1998) is a production executive of the series.

IFC Midnight has taken U.S. rights to director Anne Hamilton’s (AFI DWW, Class of 2013) feature debut, AMERICAN FABLE, which premiered at SXSW in March. IFC Midnight plans to release the fairytale thriller in winter 2017. AMERICAN FABLE is set in the 1980s rural Midwest where an imaginative girl named Gitty is forced to choose between protecting her family's secret and saving a man's life.

Amy Heckerling (AFI Class of 1974) will headline the 2016 Visiting Film Artist Series in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 9-10. The two-day event is organized by the West Michigan Film Video Alliance and hosted by Celebration Cinema.

Dan Hertzog (AFI Class of 2004) and Alexa Ihrt (AFI Class of 1995) will be honored at the ICG's 20th Annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards.

"On The Bright Side" is an official selection in the 2016 New York Television Festival Independent Pilot Competition. Andy Jones (AFI Class of 2010) is a writer.

Kendell Courtney Klein (AFI Class of 2014), Eric Nelson (AFI Class of 2003) and Nickolaus Swedlund (AFI Class of 2008) are among 30 finalists in the 2016 Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition.

BREATHE was a finalist in the Student Media Narrative category at the 59th CINE Golden Eagle Awards. Paul Kowalski (AFI Class of 2015) is the director/writer, Daniel Gentile (AFI Class of 2015) is a writer, Christina Dow (AFI Class of 2015) is the producer, Simu Feng (AFI Class of 2015) is the cinematographer and Spencer Koobatian (AFI Class of 2015) is the editor.

Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) won Video of the Year, Best Pop Video and Best Direction at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards for Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video.

Amazon has picked up the drama BRITANNIA to series. The drama set in 43 A.D. as the Roman Imperial Army, determined and terrified in equal measure, returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia, a mysterious land ruled by wild warrior women and powerful Druids who can channel the powerful forces of the underworld. The series is currently in production and is scheduled to premiere on Sky 1 in the UK and Ireland, and on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. in 2017. Rick McCallum (AFI Class of 1975) is the producer.

Kimberly McCullough (AFI DWW, Class of 2010) directed an episode of Freeform's PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.

LaShawn McGhee's (AFI Class of 2010) new streaming app Revry was featured on Macworld. The app launched this summer to exclusively showcase LGBT entertainment — web series, short films, documentaries, podcasts, music videos, viral videos and other “snackable” digital content — made by indie creators from all over the world. Revry is the first LGBT-focused streaming app for tvOS and Chromecast, and it's also currently available on iOS, Android, Roku and on the web.

FilmBuff has licensed all worldwide rights to SUMMER OF 8. Michael M. McGuire (AFI Class of 2009) and Steven J. Berger (AFI Class of 2010) are producers and Martim Vian (AFI Class of 2009) is the cinematographer.

Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006) will reunite with FRUITVALE STATION director Ryan Coogler to shoot BLACK PANTHER for Marvel.

AVA'S IMPOSSIBLE THINGS was picked up by Vimeo as the first investment under their Share the Screen program to help combat gender inequality in the industry. The film is currently streaming worldwide on Vimeo for a 90-day exclusive, after which, it will be distributed by Gravitas Ventures. Jih-E Peng (AFI Class of 2012) is the cinematographer, Varun Viswanath (AFI Class of 2012) is the editor, Ying-Te Julie Chen (AFI Class of 2014) is the production designer, Pin-Chun Liu (AFI Class of 2013) is the unit production manager, Simo Manfredi (AFI Class of 2012) is the first assistant director, Kyle Spleiss (AFI Class of 2012) is the second assistant director, Guy Pooles (AFI Class of 2013) is the second assistant camera and Sunghwan Moon (AFI Class of 2014) is the assistant editor.

Asaph Polonsky's (AFI Class of 2012) film ONE WEEK AND A DAY has been nominated for seven Ophir Awards (Israel's equivalent to the Oscars®), including Best Film, Best Director and Best Script. Winners will be announced on September 22.

Gideon Raff (AFI Class of 2003) will executive-produce Marta Cunningham's newest project OKAY GOODNIGHT.

Tegan Shohet (AFI Class of 2015) is now a staff writer on the CBS primetime drama spinoff of THE GOOD WIFE.

Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom Ezer will direct Ellen Page and Kate Mara in the romance-drama MERCY with shooting set to begin in Cincinnati in September. Maya Sigel (AFI Class of 2007) is the film's production designer.

The Round Hole Square Peg exhibit opened on August 12 and runs through October 1 in LA. The exhibit, which was the first LGBTQ international exhibition to appear at Photo LA, originally debuted in 2014. This iteration was developed and curated by Phil Tarley (AFI Class of 1981).

Todd Verow (AFI Class of 1990) was interviewed by The Huffington Post on queer cinema and his upcoming projects.

Jeff Vespa (AFI Class of 1992) is making his feature directorial debut on the indie film AMRE. AMRE, a period piece set in Paris in 1925, stars Kazakh actor Sanjar Madi in the title role opposite Abbie Cornish and Ben Aldridge in the story of a small-town Kazakh singer named Amre Kashaubaev who journeys from Russia to Paris to compete in an international singing competition.

Tanisha White (AFI DWW, Class of 2006) launched her website Rated T, which features short comedy videos that are directed, written and edited by White.

Ozzy Villazon’s (AFI Class of 2010) GET THE LIFE was the runner-up in the Hammer to Nail Short Film Contest.

Lisa Wiegand (AFI Class of 1995) was interviewed by the American Society of Cinematographers magazine.