AFI Promotion 1992: Aronofsky, Libatique, Field, Silver and many more… What did it look like?
1992 Class photo – Photo Credit: Antonio Calvache
There was a time when AFI was a cheaper and a much more competitive place; back in the early 90s, only one student out of four was selected to go on to the Second Year.
1992 was a Golden Year that produced many Alumni who ended up having a succesful career. To cite only few: Darren Aronofsky and Matthew Libatique, Little Children director/co-writer Todd Field or Entourage creator and head-writer Doug Ellin were on the picture above. But as talented and succesful as they are today, did they make it to the Second Year’s program back then?
Anath White, who was filling in as an administrative assistant precisely during that time wrote extensively about this curious year during a curious time, in an article published by the Chicago Sun-Times. She interviewed many ‘Fellows’ as they were called back then, who shared their experience and what they took out of this very special year(s) at AFI.
Turns out, one of the key figure that impacted most students was one-year-only instructor Stuart Rosenberg who had a deep impact on many of the names we recognize now. Here is an excerpt from White’s article, that you can read in its entirety here:
Quoting “Directing Fellow” Scott Silver: “Stuart taught us so much about how to make a movie, how to write a scene, how to survive the business, everything. I still remember when he told me he thought I had some talent for this. It really meant something to me, really gave me hope that I could succeed. Some of us stayed close to him even after he left AFI. We’d go to his house and he was still our teacher, still reading our scripts, still giving notes on cuts of our movies. I really loved the guy. I never would have made it without him.”
20 years after, it seems that the same excitement runs again through the blood of many independent directors, cinematographers and producers driven by the “Just do it” moto that White mentions in her article.
The difference is that we are no longer meeting each other within Schools Promotions but instead while shooting or via the sometimes friendly World Wide Web. Sure USC, UCLA, AFI, Columbia and the other big guns still offer their prestigious programs with the powerful network behind it, and a great professor is priceless, but never studying cinema has been so expensive, making it the ultimate luxury for many who are not wealthy enough to simply write a big fat check but can afford a DSLR, to read books and websites, and watch tutorials.
There might never be an article about a Golden Promotion again but let’s hope there will be many written about a Golden DIY Revolution.