Tag Archives: directing


Posted by Larry Gleeson


Alumni of the AFI Conservatory belong to an elite and special family – they are the storytellers that entertain, educate and inspire audiences around the world.


Their talents and accomplishments are the reason the AFI Conservatory is consistently named one of the top film schools in the world.

AFI invites alumni to stay connected with their artistic family and to preserve the legacy they have helped to create.

AFI continues to be a resource for alumni after graduation through the following benefits and privileges:

  • Alumni receive the AFI Alumni Connection, the official monthly AFI alumni e-newsletter, special offers, invitations to exclusive alumni events and are given opportunities to join and participate in seminars and groups.
  • Alumni receive access to the AFI Backlot, an online resource for personal and professional networking and an easy way to stay connected.
  • Alumni receive advance notice for tickets to screenings and galas for AFI FEST presented by Audi, as well as discounts on festival passes and packages.
  • Alumni receive application fee waivers when submitting a film for consideration to AFI FEST and AFI DOCS.
  • Alumni receive discounted rates for the Ted Ashley and Mark Goodson Screening Rooms on the AFI Campus.
  • Alumni are extended borrowing privileges from the Louis B. Mayer Library.

Be sure we have your current contact information on file to receive these benefits, updates and invitations. For more information, email alumni@AFI.com.

*Alumni benefits are subject to change without advance notice.

In addition to official AFI events, there are other ways to connect with fellow alumni to network, find and post jobs, reconnect and meet friends:

  • The AFI Backlot is an online platform exclusive to the AFI community. Sign up at AFI.com/Backlot and put your AFI network to work for you!
  • Be a part of the AFI Alumni Facebook community at facebook.com/AFIalumni
  • Update your contact information and set your sharing preferences through the AFI Alumni Directory at support.AFI.com/AlumniDirectory.
  • Join or form a Writers Group at bit.ly/AFIWritersGroups.
  • AFI Alumni Google Group is an email listserve moderated by alumni. To join, contact nameebaijal@gmail.com.
  • Reel Grit is a weekly genre movie screening on the AFI Campus. Hosted on Sunday nights, the event is open to alumni and special guests. To be added to the mailing list, contact alumni@AFI.com.


Do you want a deeper connection to AFI and have some time and resources to commit? Consider involvement in the following programs:

Created by alumni, the program matches Fellows with alumni to gain the benefit of advice — professional and personal — as they look toward graduation and beyond. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or receiving information regarding the Alumni Mentor Program, please contact alumni@AFI.com.



AFI Conservatory Fellows look for internships during fall, spring and summer terms. As alumni, you know first-hand the drive and work ethic of AFI Fellows. If you or someone in your company or production office can use the creative support of talented Fellows, please contact alumni@AFI.com with your internship opportunities.

Alumni volunteers serve as leaders in effecting the continued growth and development of AFI programs and initiatives. Volunteer opportunities include participation in applicant outreach and recruitment, script reading and evaluation, workshops, regional networks, committees and special campaigns.

A nonprofit organization, AFI relies on financial contributions from its alumni to support the ongoing work of the Conservatory. Gifts to the Alumni Fund provide financial aid, support faculty positions, renovate facilities and upgrade equipment. All gifts count toward participation, an important expression of alumni commitment to today’s Fellows.


(Source: AFI.com)

Japanese cast of Scorsese’s Silence speak of masterwork for the ages

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Kenta Kato

Japanese stars heap praise on American auteur’s direction in his searching adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about religious persecution.

“God is silence. You have to go into your soul and search for the answer by yourself.”

Thus Yosuke Kubozuka meditated on Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) on January 12.

Scorsese’s long-awaited project – based on the acclaimed Japanese novel by Shusaku Endo, a story of religious prosecution in 17th-century Japan, where Christianity was prohibited – has finally been realized. Karen Severns, the FCCJ’s film programmer, praised Scorsese’s film as “a slow-burn masterwork, with a message that has contemporary resonance, reverberating across the centuries.”

The FCCJ screened the movie back in its home country in partnership with Kadokawa Corporation, then hosted a discussion with three of its Japanese stars – Kubozuka, Tadanobu Asano and Issey Ogata.


Ogata, who plays the grand inquisitor, Inoue Masashige, said of Scorsese’s direction:

Japanese Actor Issey Ogata plays the Grand Inquisitor, Inoue Masashige, in Martin Scorcese’s Silence. (Photo via zimbio.com)

“He never really instructs you to act in a certain way, but lets you bring what you have to the table. He never ever said anything negative about what I have to provide for him. In that way, it is really inspiring for actors and leads to many other ideas.”


Yosuke Kubozuka (AsianWiki)

According to Kubozuka, “Scorsese is the king on set. Just being there makes acting so much easier. He is like a mirror that makes me look like twice or three times bigger, and you can kind of think of yourself as a wonderful actor.”


Ogata, who tried to read Endo’s novel when he was younger but couldn’t finish, said Scorsese had developed his character beyond what was is laid out in the book. “Scorsese made so much effort to build the character of Inoue… by using imagination as much as possible. That gave me a lot of room to act in free style.”


The director himself has said: “The conflicts that occur – the persecution of religious minorities, the testing of faith – are timeless.” The film takes place in the insular Japan of the 17th Century, but its themes and characters reverberate across the ages.


Asano, who plays a translator involved in prosecuting Portuguese Jesuits, noted:

Tadanobu Asano (AsianWiki)

“I empathized with the character that I played, and I don’t see him as a vicious figure. He was probably a Christian himself but no longer able to carry on his faith. That led him to the line of work he is in.”


One of the most unforgettable characters in Silence is Kichijiro, an indecorous character who succumbs easily to the pressure applied by his prosecutors, who force Christians to trample on a ‘fumie’, a crudely carved image of Christ. According to Kubozuka, Kichijiro “is depicted as a weak, ugly, cunning, and dirty character. But he does commit fumie over and over again, which makes me wonder if he is really weak or actually strong. He is kind of two sides of the same coin.”

The film hints at the fragile morality that exists in the heart of all mankind. “When I went to the United States on 5 January, I asked this question about whether Americans would step on the picture of Jesus Christ in this day,” claims Kubozuka, “And a lot of people said, ‘I guess everybody would.’ So, by having this character Kichijiro, this story becomes something that is relevant to this modern age.”

Silence has been well-received by critics all over the world. Already, Ogata has been named runner-up in the Best Supporting Actor category by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Asked about the growing Oscar buzz, Asano jokes: “If it were not nominated, I suspect God would say something that he should not have said.”

(Source: atimes.com)


Variety to Honor Creative Impact Awards at Palm Springs Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

LOS ANGELES, CA – (December, 2016) Variety is thrilled to announce its lineup for their annual Creative Impact brunch at the Palm Springs Film Festival. This year Variety will be honoring Viggo Mortensen (star of Captain Fantastic), Jeff Nichols (director of Loving), and Pharrell Williams (producer of Hidden Figures) with their Creative Impact Awards. The brunch is presented by Mercedes-Benz and located at the Parker Palm Springs.

Vice President and Executive Editor of Variety, Steven Gaydos (Photo courtesy of Variety)

“Viggo Mortensen’s tremendous work in Bleecker Street’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ has garnered him both a Golden Globe and SAG nomination and we are happy to be honoring him at our brunch for his performance in the film as well as his 30 year career as one of the most daring actors working in cinema today,” said Vice President and Executive Editor of Variety, Steven Gaydos. “In less than a decade, Jeff Nichols has journeyed from the early career promise of ‘Shotgun Tales,’ to the internationally acclaimed achievements of ‘Take Shelter,’ ‘Mud,’ and ‘Midnight Special’ to this year’s powerful and moving historical drama ‘Loving’. Nichols has already created such an accomplished, visionary body of work that one can’t imagine any assessment of current American cinema that doesn’t include him near the top of the list of key filmmakers. We are also thrilled to be giving out our first ever Creative Impact in Producing Award to Pharrell Williams for his work on Fox’s ‘Hidden Figures’. We reward him for championing a film that showcases the incredible true story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – three African American mathematicians working at NASA who helped win the space race in the 1960s.”

Previous recipients have included Will Smith, Charlie Kaufmann, Steve Carell, Robert Marshall, Jonah Hill, David O. Russell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg.


About Variety
Variety remains the seminal voice of the entertainment industry for 111 years and counting. Featuring award-winning breaking news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights and intelligent analysis of the industry’s most prominent players, Variety is the trusted source for the business of global entertainment. Read by a highly engaged audience of industry insiders, Variety’s multi-platform content coverage expands across digital, mobile, social, print and branded events and summits.

In 2015 Variety’s “Actors on Actors” on PBS SoCal was awarded the Emmy for best entertainment programming at the Television Academy’s 67th Los Angeles area Emmy Awards. “Actors on Actors,” which is an interview special that features pairings of prominent actors discussing their craft, was produced by PBS SoCal in partnership with Variety Media, LLC. Follow Variety on Facebook facebook.com/variety; Twitter, @variety; Instagram, @Variety; Pinterest and Snapchat. The Variety Group – Variety, Variety.com, Variety Insight, IndieWire, LA 411, NY 411 – is owned by Variety Media, LLC, a division of Penske Media Corporation.


About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, annually welcoming more than 135,000 attendees for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500 guests, presented this year by Chopard and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.  PSIFF is organized by The Palm Springs International Film Society, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization with a mission to cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness.

For more information, call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.


About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Atlanta, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States.  MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse lineup in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT S.

MBUSA is also responsible for Mercedes-Benz Vans and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.comwww.mbsprinterusa.com andwww.smartusa.com.

Accredited journalists can visit our media site at www.media.mbusa.com.


About Parker Palm Springs
Situated on 13 lush acres, the Parker Palm Springs is an estate where luxury is fun. Designed by Jonathan Adler, the property boasts 131 rooms, 12 villas and the 2 bedroom Gene Autry Residence.  There are 4 restaurants – Norma’s (of NY fame), mister parker’s a dark and seductive French bistro, Counter Reformation a hidden wine bar and the Lemonade Stand, perfect for an afternoon bite or cocktail.  The Palm Springs Yacht Club spa at over 18,000 sq. feet is well-known and a place to indulge in a treatment, take a yoga class or even lounge at the Deck. Additionally the hotel has 4 red clay tennis courts, grounds consisting of games such as croquet and petanque as well as outdoor firepits and fountains.  The perfect desert escape!  4200 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264. (760) 770-5000, www.theparkerpalmsprings.com.

Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
B|W|R Public Relations
steven.wilson@bwr-pr.com / lauren.peteroy@bwr-pr.com

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Society

(Source: http://www.psfilmfest.org)

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’: 16 Surprising Facts on the Film’s 70th Anniversary

Posted by Larry Gleeson

This is one of my all-time favorite holiday films!


TheWrap takes a look at some fun trivia about “It’s a Wonderful Life” directed by Frank Capra, courtesy of Alonso Duralde, IMDb and Old Hollywood biographer Robert Matzen in his new book, “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe.

From Beatrice Verhoeven and Alonso Duralde, provided by The Wrap

According to Alonso Duralde’s book, “Have Yourself a Very Movie Christmas,” Uncle Billy actor Thomas Mitchell was actually considered to play Mr. Potter, but Lionel Barrymore got the role because of his popularity after radio versions of “A Christmas Carol.”

Jimmy the Raven appeared in Capra’s “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938) and other post-“Wonderful Life” Capra movies.

The film was such a financial disappointment that it busted Capra’s production company, Liberty Films.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was the first and last time Capra produced, financed, directed and co-wrote a film.

The original screenplay began with a scene in Benjamin Franklin’s workshop in heaven.

Yes, Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street” have the same names as the cop and the cab driver in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But it’s just a coincidence, “Muppet” insiders have claimed.

It’s a Wonderful Life” was Jimmy Stewart’s first picture after 20 months on the front lines of WWII. He was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while filming.

According to IMDb, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was ranked as the #1 Most Inspiration Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute in 2006.

It is also the only film in history to originate from a greeting card.

James Stewart has said that while filming the scene in which George prays in the bar, he began to sob and later, Capra re-framed the now much closer shot to capture his expression. That’s why the shot appears grainy compared to the rest of the film.

Nick the Bartender (left) in a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life. (Photo via Bostonhassle.com)

Actor and producer Sheldon Leonard said that he only agreed to play Nick the bartender so he could buy baseball tickets with his paycheck.

Robert J. Anderson said H.B. Warner really was drunk in the scene in which Mr. Gower slaps George. The real slaps caused real blood to ooze out of Anderson’s ear. After the cameras stopped rolling, he comforted Anderson.

(Source: Excerpt from http://m.chron.com)