AWARDS SEASON UPDATE
More Alumni Advance in Oscar® Race
Plus Four WGA and Three Annie Nominations, and Two Gotham Wins
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, December 4, 2015 — The American Film Institute is proud to share the most recent accomplishments of AFI Conservatory alumni during the fall awards season.
This week, director/writer Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983) landed on the Academy Award® shortlist for Best Documentary Feature with his stirring film THE HUNTING GROUND. He is the fifth AFI Conservatory alumnus to be Academy Award®-shortlisted this year, bringing the total number of Conservatory alumni credited across films in Oscar® contention to 30, including: Duke Johnson (AFI Class of 2006), co-director/producer of Best Animated Feature official submission ANOMALISA; CONTRAPELO director Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (AFI Class of 2013); DAY ONE director/writer Henry Hughes (AFI Class of 2014); THE TESTIMONY producer Mitchell Block (AFI Class of 1974) for Best Documentary Short Subject; and WINTER LIGHT director Julian Higgins (AFI Class of 2010) for Best Live Action Short Film.
In addition, five AFI alumni received four 2016 Writers Guild Awards nominations: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL executive producer/writer Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994) for Long Form Original series; CONAN writer Todd Levin (AFI Class of 2003) for Comedy/Variety Series; and MR. ROBOT creator/writer Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004) and writers Randolph Leon (AFI Class of 2003) and Adam Penn (AFI Class of 2003) for both Drama Series and New Series.
At the Gotham Awards, Sam Esmail won Breakthrough Series for MR. ROBOT, and producer Steve Golin (AFI Class of 1981) took Best Feature for SPOTLIGHT. The Gotham nominees also included UNREAL creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women, Class of 2012) for Breakthrough Series.
The recently unveiled 43rd Annual Annie Awards nominations included ANOMALISA's Duke Johnson for Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement in Directing, and MARVEL'S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON creature sim supervisor Michael Balog (AFI Class of 1986) for Animated Effects.
Also among this week's National Board of Review honorees were 15 films with 22 alumni credits, including BEASTS OF NO NATION, executive-produced by Bill Benenson (AFI Class of 1975); CREED, produced by William Chartoff (AFI Class of 1989); and SPOTLIGHT, produced by Steve Golin.
In this current year to date, AFI Conservatory graduates have also received: 10 IPA Satellite Awards nominations; four Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations; three British Independent Film Award nominations; a News and Documentary Emmy Award®; a historic sweep of the 2015 Student Academy Awards Narrative category's gold, silver and bronze prizes; two wins at the 67th Emmy Awards®; the FIPRESCI and Best Canadian Feature prizes at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; the 72nd Venice International Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize; the 2015 BAFTA U.S. Student Film Award; the 2015 Cannes Film Festival's Cinéfondation First Prize; and five wins at the 36th College Television Awards.
About the AFI Conservatory
AFI Fellows make four to 10 films during their training. Graduates of the Conservatory are part of an elite group of 4,845 alumni — with 81% of AFI alumni working in the field according to a recent survey. Artists from the Conservatory have received a total of 133 Academy Award® nominations and 27 wins. Throughout the completed 2014-2015 academic year, AFI alumni have been nominated for 202 awards by 38 major guilds, academies and other professional associations — with 72 award wins.
The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. Within the Conservatory is also a unique training program, the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW). AFI Conservatory's alumni have been consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards — Academy Awards®, Emmy Awards®, guild awards — as well as the Tony Awards®. Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks serves as Artistic Director of the AFI Conservatory where he provides creative leadership for the elite film program. Proud supporter of the AFI Conservatory is American Airlines, the official airline of AFI and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.