Alumni Events & Announcements

Celebrate the beginning of fall with the annual AFI Alumni BBQ!

Rick Rosenthal (AFI Class of 1973) invites you to reconnect over burgers, bratwurst and beer (vegetarians won't be left out) at the annual barbecue in the courtyard of Whitewater Films.

Save the date! Invitations to reach your inbox soon.


Each year, the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) holds a conference attended by faculty from various film schools across the country. This year's UFVA conference was held at Cal State LA from July 30 to August 2.


AFI alumni who presented at the UFVA conference:


Mitchell Block (AFI Class of 1974)
Jacob Bricca (AFI Class of 1998)
Linda Brown (AFI Class of 1985)
Lyn Goldfarb (AFI DWW, Class of 1991)
Rob Hahn (AFI Class of 1974)
Allan Holzman (AFI Class of 1973)
Evan Lieberman (AFI Class of 1984)
David Mallin (AFI Class of 2008)
West McDowell (AFI Class of 2010)
Sarah Nilsen (AFI Class of 1990)
Gary Novak (AFI Class of 1991)
Maria Sanders (AFI Class of 2002)
Paul Schneider (AFI Class of 1981)
Wenhwa Tsao (AFI DWW, Class of 2011)
David Waldman (AFI Class of 2001)
George Chun Han Wang (AFI Class of 1993)
David Warfield (AFI Class of 1982)
Dana Weidman (AFI Class of 2001)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences extended new member invitations. AFI alumni who were invited to the Academy's Class of 2017: Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006), Kelly Berry (AFI Class of 1994), Mortiz Borman (AFI Class of 1976) and Nick Higgins (AFI Class of 2002).

BEATRIZ AT DINNER did well in the specialty box office. Released by Roadside Attractions and FilmNation, the film, starring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, has so far grossed nearly $7 million in the U.S. Miguel Arteta (AFI Class of 1990) is the director and Marina Stabile (AFI Class of 2009) is the line producer.

A24 and DirecTV have acquired the North American distribution rights to DOG YEARS, the Adam Rifkin-directed film that stars Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane and Nikki Blonsky. Beni Atoori (AFI Class of 1993) is the executive producer and Scott Winig (AFI Class of 1994) is the cinematographer.

James Balestrieri (AFI Class of 1988) was featured in Antiques and The Arts Weekly for his book "The Ballad of Ethan Burns."

Nine AFI Production Design alumni were accepted into the Art Directors Guild Trainee Program, out of 13 total accepted: Anastasia Bankova (AFI Class of 2017), Jubilate Cox (AFI Class of 2017), Stella Wanshu Deng (AFI Class of 2017), Yihong Ding (AFI Class of 2014), Argya Sadan (AFI Class of 2017), Emma Sparer (AFI Class of 2017), Ella Thompson (AFI Class of 2015), Claire White (AFI Class of 2017) and Xi Yang (AFI Class of 2017).

Kurt Sutter's FX SONS OF ANARCHY spinoff pilot MAYANS MC is undergoing a reshoot and a recasting of some key roles. Norberto Barba (AFI Class of 1990) has been tapped to direct and executive produce. Barba served as executive producer/director on all six seasons of GRIMM and most recently directed episodes of PREACHER and THE STRAIN. His other TV directing credits include DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, CHICAGO JUSTICE, PURE GENIUS, ICE and THE BRIDGE.

Neema Barnette (AFI DWW, Class of 1982) will be honored at the BronzeLens Women SuperStars Luncheon on August 25.

Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006) was selected for the Sundance Institutes Creative Producing Program for her project BRAINIACS.

Current Fellow Jaclyn Bethany (AFI Class of 2018) directed a performance reading of "Anna Karenina" in London on July 23.

Director/writer/Emmy® Award-winning producer Stan Brooks (AFI Class of 1979) wrote an article for The Huffington Post on his experience at AFI and working with Amy Rose Bloch.

The PTSD drama battle scars BATTLE SCARS was released by Gravitas Ventures theatrically in 11 markets on July 14. Danny Buday (AFI Class of 2005) is the director/writer/producer, Jason Oldak (AFI Class of 2005) is the cinematographer and Curtis Pierce (AFI Class 2005) is the writer.

Amazon Studios/Lionsgate's THE BIG SICK grabbed the year's highest opening weekend per-theater-average from a five-theater gross of $435K. Brian Burgoyne (AFI Class of 2005) is the film's cinematographer.

Dennis James Clarke (AFI Class of 2015) and Gianpaolo Santarelli (AFI Class of 2005) are quarter-finalists in the 2017 ScreenCraft Comedy Screenplay Contest.

OPENING NIGHT is now available on Netflix in the U.S. and U.K.  Gerry de Leon (AFI Class of 2010) and Greg Lisi (AFI Class of 2010) are the writers, and Andre Lascaris (AFI Class of 2005) is the cinematographer.

Drake Doremus (AFI Class of 2005) will make his television-directing debut with the upcoming Amazon series WHITE FUR.

Sam Esmail's (AFI Class of 2004) drama series HOMECOMING, starring Julia Roberts, has received a two-season pickup from Amazon. Additionally, Esmail's MR. ROBOT returns to USA Network for a third season in October 2017.

Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bradley Whitford, Alison Brie, Matthew Rhys, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Michael Stuhlbarg and Zach Woods have joined the cast for the upcoming Steven Spielberg film THE PAPERS. Written as a spec script by Liz Hannah (AFI Class of 2009), the film is about The Washington Post's publishing of the classified Pentagon Papers in 1971. The film is set to open in limited release on December 22, 2017.

AMC has proceeded with a straight-to-series order for drama DIETLAND, based on Sarai Walker's 2015 novel of the same name.  The 10-episode series, a co-production between AMC Studios and Skydance Television, will premiere in 2018. Jackie Hoyt (AFI Class of 2002) is an executive producer.

THE WONDER WOMAN duo of director Patty Jenkins (AFI Class of 2000) and male lead Chris Pine are reuniting for ONE DAY SHE'LL DARKEN, a six-episode limited drama, which has received a straight-to-series order at TNT. Jenkins is set to direct the pilot and potentially additional episodes, and Pine is attached to star in all six hours.

Mako Kamitsuna (AFI DWW, Class of 2011) has secured an editor position for HBO and Alan Ball's new TV series HERE, NOW, starring Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins. Kamitsuna recently finished editing LABYRINTH directed by Brad Furman (THE INFILTRATOR), starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker.

Loic Magneron's Paris-based Wide Management has swooped on world sales rights to Dominik Locher's (AFI Class of 2014) GOLIATH, the only majority-Swiss film in main competition at this year's Locarno, Switzerland's biggest film festival.

Anneke Lucas (AFI Class of 1991) spoke at a TedX event in Austria about her 30-year healing journey from being sold into child sex slavery.

Manjari Makijany (AFI DWW, Class of 2016) was featured in The Better India for her DWW film I SEE YOU.

FORBIDDEN: UNDOCUMENTED AND QUEER IN RURAL AMERICA premiered on Logo TV on August 3 and will play on MTV on August 27. The film received the Social Justice Award from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Heather Mathews (AFI Class of 2009) is the writer/producer/editor, William Adashek (AFI Class of 2009) is the digital intermediate executive producer and Kevin Cannon (AFI Class of 2009) is the digital intermediate colorist.

Priscilla J. ("Sally") Mattison (AFI Class of 1986), moderated the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers Masterclass, entitled "The Musician as Contestant: Legal Issues in Contests and Reality TV," at the 51st Annual Midem Convention in Cannes, France. She also spoke on a Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts panel entitled "Beats, Lyrics and Licensing: Legal Education for Musicians and Producers" at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Millennium Films has acquired a package for CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper's THE OUTPOST: AN UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN VALOR. Paul Merryman (AFI Class of 2010) has been developing the screenplay with Oscar®-nominated writing duo Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (THE FIGHTER).

Tim Nuttall (AFI Class of 2010) produced and shot the award-winning film RESTORING TOMORROW, which has been picked up by Seventh Art Releasing for worldwide distribution.

Daniel Raim's (AFI Class of 1999) HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY was featured in The Jewish News of Northern California. The film was released in theaters in the Bay Area on July 21.

Following filming season one of USA's SHOOTER, Jaime Reynoso (AFI Class of 1994) will direct two episodes for the second season.

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (AFI DWW, Class of 2012), the creator/producer of Lifetime's UNREAL, is planning to make her feature film directing debut based on a story garnered from some of the most heroic women in the world: the 100-plus female army fighting against ISIS whose members suffered through the Yazidi genocide in Iraq and then turned the tables on the terrorists. The project has been set up at Amazon Studios.

Haim Silberstein (AFI Class of 2005) is the producer/director of ISRAEL21c's new 21see video series to share stories of modern Israeli culture.

Indie writer/director Danish Renzu and producer Tara Tucker (AFI Class of 2012) are completing THE ILLEGAL, a timely film about immigrants in the U.S. Richard King (AFI Class of 2012) is the line producer, Antonio Cisneros (AFI Class of 2012) is the cinematographer, Varun Viswanath (AFI Class of 2012) is the editor, Young Ok Lee (AFI Class of 2012) is the production designer and Martin Kobylarz (AFI Class of 2012) is the gaffer.

MANIC is now available on HBOGO, HBONOW and HBO On Demand. Sandra Valde (AFI Class of 2006) is the cinematographer, Varun Viswanath (AFI Class of 2012) is the editor, Chris Freilich (AFI Class of 2008) is the camera operator and Amanda Treyz (AFI Class of 2008) is the additional photographer.

Wei-Ning Yu (AFI Class of 2010) has been selected for the Toronto International Talent Lab, an artistic development program intended for aspiring Canadian and international filmmakers.