FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 11, 2016, LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, the American Film Institute (AFI) will present its annual alumni awards to four AFI Conservatory graduates from the Class of 2015 for excellence in their thesis work: David Henry Gerson, Shelly Lauman, Daniel Sawka and Andy Siara. The presentation will take place Friday night during the AFI Alumni Reunion at AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi in Hollywood, CA. The grant awards recognize the remarkable talents of these promising storytellers while propelling them forward to successful careers in the moving image arts. Director/producer Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973, BAD BOYS, MEAN CREEK) will present the following:

The William J. Fadiman Award for Screenwriting ($15,000) to Andy Siara for the screenplay "The Last Karpinski."

The Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award ($10,000 each) to director/writer Shelly Lauman for the film WOMAN OUTSIDE and director/writer David Henry Gerson for the film ALL THESE VOICES. Earlier this year, ALL THESE VOICES won Gold in the Alternative category of the 2016 Student Academy Awards.

AFI Conservatory Dean Jan Schuette will also present:

The Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award ($20,000) to director/writer Daniel Sawka for the film ICEBOX.

Bios for the award recipients are available here.

The William J. Fadiman Award for Screenwriting recognizes an outstanding achievement in screenwriting in honor of distinguished story editor and AFI Conservatory faculty member William J. Fadiman (THE LAST FRONTIER). The Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award is given annually to a director whose performance at the Conservatory embodies the spirit of celebrated documentarian Richard P. Rogers (PICTURES FROM A REVOLUTION), who passed away in 2001. These awards are made possible through the remarkable support of Nancy Stephens and Rick Rosenthal, in conjunction with the Rosenthal Family Foundation.

The Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award is presented to an exceptional Directing Fellow in memory of Franklin J. Schaffner (PATTON, PLANET OF THE APES), a longtime champion of AFI and former chair of the AFI Conservatory Advisory Committee. The Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award, made possible through the generous support of the Franklin and Jean Schaffner Foundation, was established in 1991 by Jean Schaffner to celebrate her husband’s creative legacy and dedication to fostering new talent.

About the AFI Conservatory

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 supporters of the AFI Conservatory are American Airlines, the official airline of AFI and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.

Media Contacts:
Liza deVilla Ameen, 323.856.7885, [email protected]
Stephanie Sweeney, 323.856.7871, [email protected]