AFI Conservatory Screenwriting Alumna Christina Kelly Holmes Receives $25,000 Development Grant and a Year of Mentorship from AGBO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — July 12, 2021, Los Angeles, CA — The American Film Institute (AFI), in partnership with AGBO, has announced Christina Kelly Holmes as this year’s recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant. Now in its third year, the program awards $25,000 to a recent AFI Conservatory 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 AFI Conservatory Screenwriting discipline has graduated many of today’s finest storytellers, including Brad Falchuk (AMERICAN HORROR STORY), Scott Frank (THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL), Susannah Grant (ERIN BROCKOVICH, UNBELIEVABLE), Karen Janszen (DOLPHIN TALE), LaToya Morgan (THE WALKING DEAD), Jim Reynolds (THE BIG BANG THEORY) and Andy Siara (PALM SPRINGS).
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.
About the American Film Institute (AFI)
Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, YouTube.com/AFI, Twitter.com/AmericanFilm and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.
About the AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory opened its doors in 1969 to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Today, the Conservatory offers a two-year MFA degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. In a collaborative production environment, AFI Fellows learn to master the art of storytelling, collectively creating up to 175 films a year. Fellows actively participate in the entire life cycle of a film, from development through production and exhibition.
Alumni of this elite program, ranging from modern masters to bold new voices defining the state of the art form include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Sam Esmail, Brad Falchuk, Liz Hannah, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas, Polly Morgan, Rachel Morrison and Wally Pfister, among others.
Founded by award-winning, record-breaking directors 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 company is headquartered in downtown Los Angeles.