FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — September 14, 2015, Los Angeles, CA — AFI Conservatory alumnus Duke Johnson’s (AFI Class of 2006) ANOMALISA won the Grand Jury Prize at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival this weekend.   

ANOMALISA was directed/produced by Johnson and Charlie Kaufman (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND). Shot by Cinematographer Joe Passarelli (AFI Class of 2006), the film included several other AFI alumni: Jean-Paul Bonneau (AFI Class of 2012), Ezequiel Casares (AFI Class of 2012), Robert Kraetsch (AFI Class of 2006), Edward Salerno Jr. (AFI Class of 2013) and Lee Young (AFI Class of 2012). The number of alumni on this film is another example of how graduates of AFI frequently collaborate in the workforce.

In total, 18 AFI Conservatory alumni had eight films screen at this year’s festival.

In August, AFI made history by sweeping the Narrative category of the 2015 Student Academy Awards competition and winning all three medals. Also this year, an alumna from the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women won the 2015 Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation First Prize and an AFI Conservatory alumnus won the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase Honorable Mention. AFI’s ongoing winning streak also includes five wins at the 36th College Television Awards; two wins at the 2014 DGA Student Film Awards and the 2015 BAFTA U.S. Student Film Award.

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 who report that about 81% are working. 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. 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.