AFI Alumni Make History At Sundance Again
CODA, written/directed by Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005) and shot by Paula Huidobro (AFI Class of 2004), broke the record for the highest sale at Sundance, beating out last year’s record-breaking sale of PALM SPRINGS, which was directed by Max Barbakow (AFI Class of 2015) and written by Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015).
Sparking a bidding war and selling to Apple for a record-breaking $25 million, CODA chronicles the coming of age of teenager Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) – the only hearing individual in her working-class family. While the livelihood of her fishermen parents (Oscar® winner Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur) and older brother (Daniel Durant) is imperiled by stringent fishing regulations and climate change, Ruby must navigate her newfound interest in singing in her high-school choir, while helping her family stay afloat.
CODA also swept the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, taking home the grand jury prize, the directing prize, the audience award and a special jury prize for best ensemble. Leading up to the festival, AFI spoke to the Siân and Paula about working together, their experiences at AFI and how they told their story in an authentic and culturally specific way.
Other accolades for AFI alumni projects include the NEXT Audience Award, which went to MY BELLE, MY BEAUTY, shot by Lauren Guiteras (AFI Class of 2017).
Read the full list of winners here.
Congratulations to all the AFI alumni who screened their projects at Sundance this year:
– AT THE READY Steve Golin (AFI Class of 1981) – Executive Producer
– BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE Bill Benenson (AFI Class of 1975) – Executive Producer
– CODA Siân Heder (AFI DWW Class of 2005) – Director/Writer; Paula Huidobro (AFI Class of 2004) – Cinematographer
– MASS Ryan Jackson-Healy (AFI Class of 2018) – Cinematography
– MA BELLE MY BEAUTY Lauren Guiteras (AFI Class of 2017) – Cinematography
– MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE Elena Cozlovschi (AFI Class of 2013) – Set Decorator ;Yong Ok Lee (AFI Class of 2013) – Production Designer; Zoe Zekun Mao (AFI Class of 2017) – Assistant Editor; Cyndi Trissel (AFI Class of 2013) – Editor
– REBEL HEARTS Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973) – Executive Producer
– THE SPARKS BROTHERS Jake Polonsky (AFI Class of 1994) – Cinematographer
– TOGETHER TOGETHER Bill Benenson (AFI Class of 1975) – Executive Producer; Talya Stern (AFI Class of 2019) – Production Coordinator
– USERS Bennett Cerf (AFI Class of 2014) – Cinematographer
– WILD INDIAN James Lourie (AFI Class of 2012) – Supervising Producer; Thomas Mahoney (AFI Class of 2008) – Producer; Edgar Rosa (AFI Class of 2014) – Line Producer