Announcing the winners of the 2022 AFI Conservatory Grant Awards | Trending

The American Film Institute announced at the 2022 AFI Alumni Reunion the recipients of the AFI Conservatory Alumni Awards. The awards recognize outstanding achievements in directing and writing at AFI, and include the Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award, the William J. Fadiman Award, and the Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award. The AFI alumni community recently returned to the AFI campus to honor winners from two AFI graduating classes.

“The tradition of these awards represents what the AFI Conservatory stands for: community, collaboration and support for the next generation of talented storytellers,” said Susan Ruskin, dean of the AFI Conservatory and vice president of American Film Institute. “Grants like these to emerging filmmakers are more important than ever, and we can’t wait to see their next projects as they continue to excel in their craft and art.”

WINNERS OF THE CLASS OF 2020

Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award

Olivia Hang Zhou – APART TOGETHER

William J. Fadiman Screenplay Award

Suhana Chander – “From the Golden Land”

Victor Gabriel – “The Incredible Heist of Hallelujah Jones”

Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award

Omar S. Kamara – MASS AVE

CLASS OF 2021 WINNERS

Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award

Daniel J. Egbert – CHORUS

William J. Fadiman Screenplay Award

E Southern – “Between the Lines”

Scout Cripps – “Stolen”

Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award

Nicole Mejia – MY LIFE STOPPED AT 15

About the awards:

Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award
The Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award is given annually to a director whose performance at AFI embodies the spirit of famed documentarian Richard P. Rogers, who died in 2001. The award includes a $15,000 grant.

William J. Fadiman Screenplay Award

The William J. Fadiman Screenwriting Award recognizes outstanding achievement in screenwriting in honor of distinguished short story editor and AFI Conservatory Faculty member William J. Fadiman. The award includes a $10,000 grant.

Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award

The Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award is given to an outstanding conductor in memory of Franklin J. Schaffner, a former AFI Champion and former chair of the AFI Conservatory Advisory Committee. The Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award, made possible by 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. The award includes a $20,000 grant.

About the winning thesis projects of the AFI Conservatory (in alphabetical order):

APART TOGETHER, directed by Olivia Hang Zhou (AFI Class of 2020)

Yiru is a Chinese teenager who travels to the United States as a translator for her mother, who is looking for her first daughter whom she gave up for adoption under the one-child policy.

“Between the Lines” written by E Southern (AFI Class of 2021)

Two transgender teenagers, a century and a continent apart, discover they can communicate across time and space. Bonded by their mirrored lives, they work together to escape their circumstances—for one, a conservative hometown, for the other, a dangerous marriage—and in the process find a safe haven in each other. .

CHORUS directed by Daniel J. Egbert (AFI Class of 2021)

After missing his wife’s goodbye phone call on the morning of 9/11, a now-off-and-heartbroken music teacher must harmonize with his 14-year-old son, increasingly reckless

“From the golden land” written by Suhana Chander (AFI Class of 2020)

Amidst the global turmoil of World War II, a boy is tasked with bringing his pregnant widowed mother and younger brother from war-torn Burma to the safety of India.

“The Incredible Heist of Hallelujah Jones” written by Victor Gabriel (AFI Class of 2020)

During a season of gun violence in Compton, California, a precocious book thief who hears the voices of his dead parents discovers that a long-lost novel belonging to his family is being auctioned, and with the help of the neighborhood matriarch, a one-year-old Black 100, devises a plan to get him back.

TOO MANY directed by Omar S. Kamara (AFI Class of 2020)

During a day’s landscaping work, a first-generation African American and his immigrant father have their relationship and outlook on life irreversibly transformed when they are racially profiled by the police.

MY LIFE STOPPED AT 15 directed by Nicole Mejia (AFI Class of 2021)

A visit to a skating rink brings Sofia to a world where she must face her pain in order to free herself from her past.

“stolen” written by Scout Cripps (AFI Class of 2021)

1922 Australia. A gritty, violent epic about a drunk WWI veteran and his 14-year-old indigenous daughter who go on the run after killing two corrupt policemen.

Learn more about the AFI Conservatory at AFI.edu.

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