American Film

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March 2013


    Does the name Quasimodo ring a bell? To mark the 90th anniversary of the 1923 silent-screen version of Victor Hugo’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME starring Lon Chaney, AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center will present the film with a live musical accompaniment by Gabriel Thibaudeau and ensemble at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 10. Tickets are $15/$12 for AFI members, and no passes are accepted for the event, which is made possible through the generosity of the Italian Cultural Institute.

    Chaney, “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” gives a bravura performance in one of his signature roles, drawing on his transformative makeup techniques and his great emotive skills to allow Quasimodo's sensitivity, pure heart and dignified humanity to shine through his grotesque physical deformities. A mega-budget prestige production from Universal Pictures, the enormous medieval Paris sets and extensive nighttime photography were unprecedented.

    Other silent films to be presented this month include THE FIRST BORN (1928) on March 9, and director Howard Hawks’ FIG LEAVES (1926) and A GIRL IN EVERY PORT (1928) on March 16 and 23, respectively. The complete list is available here.


    March is when graduating Fellows of the AFI Conservatory debut their films at an invitation-only screening for entertainment community insiders, and AFI Premiere Circle members can be part of this exclusive sneak-peak at tomorrow’s leading storytellers, many of whom have gone on to be award-winning filmmakers. A juried selection of five short films will be screened. Most recently AFI Conservatory won both the Silver Medal (NARCOCORRIDO directed and written by Ryan Prows, AFI Class of 2011) and the Bronze Medal (NANI directed and written by Justin Tipping, AFI Class of 2011) in the Narrative category at the 2012 Student Academy Awards®, while alumnus Julian Higgins (AFI Class of 2010) won the Gold Medal in 2011 with his thesis film, THIEF.

    You can be among the first to witness the launch of new filmmaking careers on March 14 at the Directors Guild of America by joining AFI as a Premiere Circle member or upgrading your membership here.


    Those mathematically inclined know that March 14 is Pi (3.14) Day, so what better way to celebrate the release of the inspirational epic journey LIFE OF PI from Academy Award®-winning director Ang Lee on Blu-ray combo pack and DVD than with a contest giveaway for AFI members? Don’t worry. You don’t need to be a math whiz to win this one. Simply name the full title of one of the 15 films released since 2000 whose titles begin with the letters PI – for example, PIGLET’S BIG MOVIE (2003) – along with your name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address, and send it to with “PI Contest” written in the subject line. The names of those who answer correctly will be entered into a random drawing and the first five (5) entries picked will receive a copy of LIFE OF PI. Complete giveaway rules and conditions are available here. Good luck! To become an AFI member, click here and follow the instructions.


    This might be a good time to click the “Past Issues” link at the bottom of any American Film™ page. Our October 2012 cover story on ARGO, winner of the Academy Award® for Best Picture, features an exclusive interview with screenwriter Chris Terrio, who took home the Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    Four AFI Conservatory alumni, spanning 28 years of film education, were nominated for Academy honors this year – Robert Richardson (AFI Class of 1979, Cinematographer, DJANGO UNCHAINED), Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983, Director/Screenwriter, THE INVISIBLE WAR), Janusz Kamiński (AFI Class of 1987, Cinematographer, LINCOLN) and Daniel Dreifuss (AFI Class of 2007, Producer, NO). We salute them and everyone else who walked the red carpet this year!


    The advancement offices at AFI line a corridor on the second floor of the Warner Bros. Building on the AFI Campus. Greg Copeland’s is situated at the end of the hall with a view of downtown Los Angeles and framed theatrical posters on the walls. We asked our 10 questions on the Monday following the AFI Awards.

    1. Where are you from? I was born in Houston, Texas, but really grew up here in Southern California. I spent my formative years in Ojai, where I attended fourth grade through high school. I consider that my hometown.

    2. Where did you go to college? I went to Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, a small, private liberal arts college tucked away in the middle of cornfields, and then I got my Masters at Yale School of Drama.

    3. What did you do before you came to AFI? Immediately before AFI, I ran a production company focused on developing mainstream comedy projects for film and television. I had a producing partner and a writing partner, but we were trying to do that at the worst possible time – the financial collapse of the Great Recession and the writers’ strike and the downsizing of all the studio pipelines. Selling into that environment was extraordinarily difficult.

    4. How long have you been at AFI? I’ve been at AFI for two years – two years this month.

    5. What do you do at AFI? I’m the Director of Individual Giving, so I oversee all of our advancement efforts focused on fundraising from individuals – our national membership programs, our Premiere Circle memberships and our major donor societies. I am also involved with our scholarship programs and alumni relations for the AFI Conservatory. I’m basically a relationship manager, trying to match individuals’ philanthropic passions to our institutional needs, both aiming to advance the art of film.

    6. How does that affect our members? Pretty directly – I work for them! The Membership Manager and I work to find all the ways that we can bring AFI to our members, and then direct their support to our various programs. It’s about connecting them to our mission. Our members across the nation and around the world provide the broad base of support that underlies all of our preservation, recognition and education efforts, so they are crucial to our continued success.

    7. What was your best day at AFI? Friday was actually a really great day. I think the AFI Awards is one of my favorite days because every year it brings together the very top artists in film and television in a low-key, noncompetitive, supportive and celebratory environment. They’re already winners, they don’t have to make speeches, so their guard is down and it’s fun to see them interact with each other and discover whose work excites whom. And it’s so great that AFI is able to put their work in perspective for them in a way that makes them realize that what they do is valuable and important, and that in the long timeline of the evolution of the motion picture, that this year we’re celebrating you and your work and you are part of that cannon. It’s remarkable.

    8. What are you working on today? I am working on an event that we’re having at Sundance this Friday celebrating the 40 AFI Conservatory alumni who have films showing at the festival. So we’re working on the invites and the event preparation for that.

    9. What don’t your colleagues know about you? A lot. I’m a mystery! Maybe they don’t know that most of my history is in theater, and that I am still currently involved in the theater world as Managing Director for the Ojai Playwrights Conference, which develops new plays for the American theater at a two-week residency in my home town of Ojai. It’s all part of my love of storytelling, so it shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise to anyone.

    10. What’s your favorite film? I love so many movies; that’s why I love my job. But I guess right now the thing that comes to mind is a movie that had a huge impact on me as a kid – STAR WARS. I remember seeing it in the movie theater with my dad and then I was just obsessed. I had to collect all the action figures and played out the story over and over again. That was a very, very meaningful experience. I still use the Force, all the time. Jedi mind tricks are rather useful in fundraising!