Alumni Events & Announcements

A great time was had by all at the annual Alumni BBQ, hosted by Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973), at Whitewater Films on September 9. Click here to view photos from the day!

This summer, VIZIO and Dolby once again joined forces for the second annual VIZIO + Dolby Vision™ Filmmaker Challenge. The contest invited AFI Cinematography Fellows from the 2016 graduating class to submit highlights of their best visual work from their AFI thesis films.

A team of judges from VIZIO and Dolby Laboratories chose these five finalists to move forward:
CLARITY — Maria Ines Manchego (AFI Class of 2016)
LAWMAN — Kalilah Robinson (AFI Class of 2016)
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON — Han-seok Yoon (AFI Class of 2016)
MANNERS OF DYING — Jessica Pantoja (AFI Class of 2016)
PLEA — Joshua Zucker-Pluda (AFI Class of 2016)

Support your fellow AFI alumni by visiting to watch the films online and vote now. Your vote also enters you to win a 65" VIZIO SmartCast™ P-Series™ Display featuring Dolby Vision™ High Dynamic Range. Voting closes on Sunday,
October 8.

The Filmmaker Challenge is just one of many ways that VIZIO continues to support AFI. As the Official Home Theater Sponsor of AFI, VIZIO supports AFI Conservatory Showcases for Cinematography and thesis productions. VIZIO is also a year-round sponsor for the AFI Life Achievement Award, AFI DOCS and AFI FEST presented by Audi.

NOVEMBER 9–16 | AFI FEST presented by Audi
Each AFI alumnus is eligible to receive a complimentary Cinepass to AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi, happening this November!

The Cinepass is an exclusive benefit for AFI alumni. It is a movie passport for alumni to move freely through the festival without tickets. The AFI FEST Cinepass grants admission for one to all regular screenings, Special Screenings, Conversations and Presentations, subject to seating availability (excluding Galas). With a Cinepass, you will not have to register for individual tickets.

Registration for the complimentary Cinepass will be held online October 10–26. Alumni will receive an email announcing that registration is open on Tuesday, October 10. You can prepare for Cinepass registration by ensuring that you have a current online account on Please note that if you previously had an account on (prior to July 2017), you may have to reset your password to access AFI's improved login system and update your email preferences.

Read more important information about the Cinepass here.

Join your AFI family at the annual Alumni Reunion — our biggest alumni event of the year — during AFI FEST!

We will present the William J. Fadiman Award for Screenwriting, Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Awards and Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award to this year's recipients in an awards ceremony with the reunion reception immediately following.

Date: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Location: The Hollywood Roosevelt | Cinema Lounge
7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Save the date! Invitations to reach your inbox soon.


Gregory Bernstein (AFI Class of 1988) has published "Understanding the Business of Entertainment: The Legal and Business Essentials All Filmmakers Should Know," an informative book about business skills that helps filmmakers navigate the process of obtaining financing, securing distribution and ensuring they receive their share of any profits.

Current Fellow Jaclyn Bethany (AFI Class of 2018) stars in the pop-up performance "Red Light Winters," which will be presented at a special, one-night-only event on October 29 in Downtown Los Angeles. The cast includes current Fellow Jaclyn Bethany (AFI Class of 2018). The performance will feature a pop-up gallery featuring work from artists around the world, created in response to the text.

Bestselling author Elizabeth Brundage's (AFI Class of 1983) latest literary work, "All Things Cease to Appear," has been described as a tense and terrifying tale of a gruesome unsolved murder and its aftermath. The story takes place in a down-on-its-luck Upstate New York community, where suspicion surrounds the husband of the murder victim, while evidence tying him to it proves elusive.

Julie Dash (AFI Class of 1974) has signed on to direct an upcoming biopic on Rosa Parks, which will center on her decade of activism before her seminal moment on a Montgomery bus.

Paige Devitt (AFI Class of 2014) has joined the writing staff of a new, untitled show produced by Mindy Kaling.

Peter J. Fox (AFI Class of 1994) has begun production on SUMMER DANCE as the film's executive producer and writer.

Myles Hawthorne (AFI Class of 2017) and David Ullendorff (AFI Class of 1983) are semifinalists in the 2017 ScreenCraft Horror Screenplay Contest.

Tannaz Hazemi (AFI DWW, Class of 2014) and Michael Leung (AFI Class of 2017) are semifinalists in the 2017 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay Contest.

Andy Hines (AFI Class of 2009) was featured in The Chronicle Herald for directing 1-800-273-8255, the video for Maryland hip-hop artist Logic, who performed the song live during the MTV Video Music Awards. The music video featuring Don Cheadle debuted in August and is now up to 40 million views on YouTube.

Featuring director/producer Sean Hoessli (AFI Class of 2007), writer Amanda Lockhart (AFI Class of 2011), cinematographer Kristin Fieldhouse (AFI Class of 2011) and production designer Rachel Lee Payne-Darrow (AFI Class of 2007), the film PALM SWINGS will be released in the U.S. and Canada and on digital platforms on October 3.

Courtney Hoffman (AFI DWW, Class of 2016) has been set to direct RUTHLESS, the John Swetnam-scripted action film that sold in a competitive spec auction back in February. Hoffman has been best known as a costume designer on films that include BABY DRIVER, HATEFUL EIGHT and CAPTAIN FANTASTIC.

Kendell Courtney Klein (AFI Class of 2014) is a finalist in the 2017 Page International Screenwriting Awards. Semifinalists included Lisa Gold (AFI DWW, Class of 2009), Anton Hill (AFI Class of 2001), Morris Long (AFI Class of 2015), Dana Maddox (AFI Class of 2016) and Devi Snively (AFI DWW, Class of 2003).

UNDER THE TREE has been acquired for U.S. theatrical and platform distribution by Magnolia Pictures. Monika Lenczewska (AFI Class of 2008) is the cinematographer of the film, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Eight of David Lewison's (AFI Class of 1990) short one-act plays were presented in Korean translations in a production at the Incheon Arts Platform in Incheon, South Korea, in August.

FEDERAL POLICE: NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW, a Brazilian film written by Gustavo Lipsztein (AFI Class of 1999), was featured in The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, the second season of Lipsztein's Fox Latin America series 1 CONTRA TODOS (ONE AGAINST ALL), the second highest-rated cable series in Brazil, premiered in September.

Jude Lutz (AFI Class of 1979) and Alex Simon (AFI Class of 2005) were selected for the Stowe Story Lab, which provides writers with a year of mentorship and workshops.

Writer LaToya Morgan (AFI Class of 2005) will adapt AMC's new drama series based on Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery's bestselling nonfiction book, "They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice."

Charla Perry (AFI Class of 2003) recently published the children's book "The Exciting Travels of Tuffie and Giuseppe."

Drew Pollins (AFI Class of 2016) is directing ICE CREAM IN THE CUPBOARD, an indie drama adapted from the book by Pat Moffett.

Netflix has picked up RATCHED from Fox 21 Television Studios. Margaret Riley (AFI Class of 1991) is an executive producer on the series.

Director/writer Paul Schrader's (AFI Class of 1969) FIRST REFORMED has been acquired for U.S. theatrical and platform distribution by A24 Films.

CHAPPAQUIDDICK has been acquired by WME/Sierra/Affinity for U.S. theatrical and platform distribution by Entertainment Studios. Michael Spencer Smith (AFI Class of 2014) is an additional editor on the film, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Nickolaus Swedlund (AFI Class of 2008) has joined Bethel University's faculty as an associate professor of communication studies.

Derek Asaff (AFI Class of 2014) and Sofia Drummond-Moore (AFI Class of 2018) were selected as the Austin Film Festival's 2017 Script Competition Semifinalists (top 2%). Second Rounders (in the top 20%) included Brian Allen (AFI Class of 2016), Silvia Arribas-Mantelli (AFI Class of 2016), John Barr (AFI Class of 2014), Dennis Clarke (AFI Class of 2015), Jessica Ellis (AFI Class of 2010), Edward Gene Excaliber (AFI Class of 2016), Brandon Geiger (AFI Class of 2015), Christopher Greenslate (AFI Class of 2016), Myles Hawthorne (AFI Class of 2017), Paul Kowalski (AFI Class of 2015), Michael Leung (AFI Class of 2017), Samantha Manahan (AFI Class of 2009), Randy McKinnon (AFI Class of 2017), Marisé Samitier (AFI DWW, Class of 1998), Nick Sinnott (AFI Class of 2009), Kate Sheffield (AFI Class of 2017), Nadine Truong (AFI Class of 2009) and David Ullendorff (AFI Class of 1983).


Ruth Elizabeth Burks Abbott (AFI Class of 1977)
On graduation from George Washington High School, Ruth Elizabeth Burks was voted the most likely to succeed, and that recognition was further developed when she enrolled at Boston University as a pre-med student. There, literary aspirations took command and she changed her major to English. Burks continued her journey in higher education at the University of California, Berkeley and earned her master’s degree in creative writing. In 1977, she moved to Los Angeles and attended the American Film Institute.

Royce Osborn (AFI Class of 1984)
Writer and producer Royce Osborn passed away after a career spent documenting the world around him, particularly his hometown of New Orleans. Osborn spent his formative years in the seventh ward and went on to attend the AFI Conservatory, eventually producing his famous PBS documentary ALL ON A MARDI GRAS DAY in 2003. The film explores the complexities of African-American Mardi Gras traditions in New Orleans, including that of the Mardi Gras Indians. In 2017, he received the Capturing the Spirit honor from the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame. In addition to filmmaking, Osborn also served as a writer and a producer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards since 1987, and was an active member of the Northside Skull and Bones Gang since 2001.