AFI and AGBO Announce Christina Kelly Holmes as the 2021 Development Grant Recipient – American Film Institute


AFI and AGBO Announce Christina Kelly Holmes as the 2021 Development Grant Recipient

Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant, Christina Kelly Holmes (Screenwriting, AFI Class of 2020). Now in its third year, the program awards $25,000 to a recent AFI Conservatory film school graduate to develop at least one project with a year-long mentorship from AGBO. Christina Kelly Holmes will receive the grant for her project FOR WOMEN ONLY, a one-hour drama set in 1980s communist Romania about a blacklisted classically trained pianist who becomes a black-market entrepreneur smuggling goods for women into one of the most oppressive regimes in modern history.

“At AGBO we are keenly aware of how important mentorship is for young artists, which is why we are excited to award Christina Kelly Holmes the AGBO/AFI conservatory Development Grant this year,” said Angela Russo Ostot, President of Creative, AGBO. “We’re eager to champion Christina’s commitment as a genre storyteller in exploring her heritage, and via a serialized narrative that illuminates the challenges for women to obtain their most basic of needs. We look forward to supporting Christina and giving her our all as she develops this noteworthy project.”

Founded by Anthony and Joe Russo, AGBO is an artist-led entertainment company focused on creating content borne of innovative story universes across film, television, and digital platforms.

“The continued pursuit to elevate underrepresented and diverse storytellers is a mission shared by both AFI and AGBO,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute. “This grant is instrumental in empowering storytellers like Christina who will push the art form in bold new directions, and we look forward to her stories being shared with the world.

Christina Kelly Holmes was born in New Jersey and raised in London. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colorado College and working as a strategist for various startups in the tech industry, she redirected her career towards screenwriting, where her identity as a first-generation Romanian and mixed-race woman, as well as her experiences as a third culture kid, influenced her storytelling. She graduated from the AFI Conservatory in 2020 and is represented by Echo Lake Entertainment.

“With the invaluable insight gained from workshopping my series with professors and peers at the AFI, I look forward to further developing a compelling pilot with the support of AGBO,” said Christina Kelly Holmes.

The AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant was created in 2019. Previous recipients include Angela Chen (Directing, AFI Class of 2018) for her project TRIAD about a broken Chinese immigrant family and their first-generation children in America and Marina Kato (Screenwriting, AFI Class of 2019) for her script “Dia de las Carpas,” a fairytale about a little girl who escapes deportation by becoming a mermaid.

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