AFI Conservatory Alumna Marina Kato Receives $25,000
to Develop Project and a Year of Mentorship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — August 6, 2020, Los Angeles, CA — The American Film Institute (AFI), in partnership with AGBO, has announced Marina Kato (Screenwriting, AFI Class of 2019) as this year’s recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant. The program, in its second year, awards $25,000 to a recent AFI Conservatory graduate to develop at least one project with a year-long mentorship from AGBO. Kato will receive the grant for her script “Dia de las Carpas,” a fairytale about a little girl who escapes deportation by becoming a mermaid.
“Marina spotlights injustice and inequality through a remarkable lens that brings both beauty and joy to her examinations of the struggles immigrants face,” said Angela Russo-Otstot, President of Creative at AGBO. “We are honored to guide her through our story process to help develop her short Dia de las Carpas into a feature-length screenplay that champions underdog heroes in the Latinx community through a commercial approach that speaks to broad audiences.”
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.
“Through its grants and mentorship, AGBO leads the way in supporting and championing diverse voices, an integral step in increasing inclusivity in the industry,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute. “We are proud of our partnership with AGBO and can’t wait to see the results of their collaboration with Marina.”
Marina Kato was also the recipient of the Sloan Science and Film scholarship during her time in the Screenwriting program at the AFI Conservatory. The Screenwriting discipline has graduated many of today’s finest storytellers, including Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, Unbelievable), Karen Janszen (Dolphin Tale), LaToya Morgan (The Walking Dead) and Jim Reynolds (The Big Bang Theory).
The AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant was created in 2019; the first recipient was Angela Chen (Directing, AFI Class of 2018) for her project TRIAD about a broken Chinese immigrant family and their first-generation children in America.
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.
About the American Film Institute (AFI)
Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit 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.
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. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, AGBO was founded in 2017.
American Film Institute: Stacy Adamski, SAdamski@AFI.com
AGBO, Marian Koltai-Levine, Marian.Koltai@rogersandcowanpmk.com