Denzel Washington received the Life Achievement Award of AFI Fest 2019


The AFI Fest 2019 was held between November 14-21 in Los Angeles. We were there at the location.

The AFI (American Film Institute) itself “dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image” The non-profit organization established in 1967. AFI’s pioneering programs include the most popular and very much respected AFI FEST just as the AFI Life Achievement Award.

The program of the AFI FEST this year included 143 titles – 81 features, 1 episodic, 40 shorts, 21 AFI Conservatory Showcase Shorts. The festival was proudly announced that 51% of the films were directed by women. This year’s program represented 52 countries, and included 8 official International Feature Film Oscar® submissions as well as three World Premieres. Now in its 33rd year, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles.

A Gala Screening of Season 3 of The Crown opened the festival. Creator Peter Morgan and the main cast appeared on the red carpet before the screening, including Acadamy Award winner lead actress Olivia Coleman.

Biggest success of the festival earned by Armenian director Garin Hovannisian with his documentary ‘I Am Not Alone’. The film is a breathtaking eye-witness documentary about the 2018 Armenian revolution. The film also won the Audience Award.

Martin Scorsese, Alan J. Pakula and Peter Morgan on this year’s festival tribute list. Denzel Washington Receives AFI Life Achievement Award at emotional, inspiring tribute in Hollywood.

Eva Longoria enjoyed a panel conversation with dr. Stacy Smith about the under represented Latino culture and talents in Hollywood. The title of the conversation was ’Erasure of Latinx in Film’.

The many highlights of the festival include Conversations with Peter Morgan and Martin Scorsese. and a conversation with Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, and Suan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the AFI Institute, exclusively for the AFI Fellows.

Many VIP guests and artists attended on the festival included Mahershala Ali, Gillian Anderson, Kathy Bates, Noah Baumbach, Beyoncé, Olivia Colman Snoop Dogg, Erin Doherty, Clint Eastwood, Flea, Harrison Ford, François Girard, Tom Harper, Joshua Jackson, Daniel Kaluuya, Jack Kilmer, John Lithgow, Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005), Fernando Meirelles, Tobias Menzies, Josh O’Connor, Edward James Olmos, Clive Owen, Dev Patel, Natalie Portman, Rob Reiner, Rihanna, Sam Rockwell, Evan Ross, Tracey Ellis Ross, Kelly Rowland, Howard Shore, Molly Sims, Jada Pinkett Smith, Zendaya. (not full list).

The AFI announced that the festival will hold its 2020 edition next October 15-22.

The list of winners AFI Fest 2019:

Audience Award – Feature

I Am Not Alone
(DIR Garin Hovannisian)

Audience Award – Short

Lost & Found
(DIR Orlando Von Einsiedel)

Grand Jury Award – Live-Action Short

(DIR Sonia K. Hadad)

Special Jury Prize—Live Action

(DIR Tebogo Malebogo)

Special Jury Prize—Live Action

(DIR Faren Humes)

Grand Jury Prize—Animated Short

Something To Remember
(DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr)

Grand Jury Prize—Documentary (tie)

A Love Song For Latasha
(DIR Sophia Nahli Allison)

The Clinic
(DIR Elivia Shaw)


Michael Berk, left, Dr. Edna Sims, Edward James Olmos and James Pickens Jr.Steve Cohn Photography

The Caucus of Producers, Writers & Directors’ 37th annual Caucus Awards honored industry leaders and awarded finishing funds to several students to complete their thesis films.

The dinner November 15 at the Skirball Cultural Center emceed by Grey’s Anatomy‘s James Pickens Jr. featured the bestowing of 2019 honors on the likes of Carolyn Strauss (Producer), Showtime’s Gary Levine (Executive), director-producer Paul Miller (Lifetime Achievement Award) Edward James Olmos (Industry Icon).

Over the past 18 years, the Caucus Foundation has awarded almost $2 million in finishing funds and in-kind services to students at accredited colleges and universities.

Here are this year’s winners

Producer Honor

Carolyn Strauss
HBO’s Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, Deadwood: The Movie

Writers Honor

Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin
Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora

Director Honor

Amy York Rubin
Netflix’s Dead to Me

Executive of the Year Award

Gary Levine
President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks, Inc.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Paul Miller
Saturday Night Live, Country Music Awards

Industry Icon Award

Edward James Olmos
Zoot Suit, The West Wing, Stand and Deliver, Mi Familia, Mayans, M.C.

Distinguished Service Award

Michael Berk
Writer, Producer, Actor & Creator, Baywatch

Chair’s Award

Dr. Edna Sims
Caucus Public Relations Director

1st Place Gold Circle Student Award Winner

Aaron Fink
Rust, Chapman College

2nd Place Gold Circle Student Award Winner

Kelly Pike
Undercut, UCLA

Television/New Media Award

University of Southern California
Side Effects

2019 College Students Grantees

Aaron Fink for Rust, Chapman University
Madison Gwinn for Marketa In The Desert, Emerson College
Alexandra Geller for Undercovered, Emerson College
Noah Graham for Outsider, Emerson College
Jasmine Galdamez for El Mozote, CSUN
Takai Ginwright for Canary In A Mine, UCLA
Kelly Pike for Undercut, UCLA


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