The American Film Institute (AFI) has proudly announced the winners of the AFI FEST 2023 Grand Jury Awards, along with some spectacular festival highlights. This year’s AFI FEST showcased more than 140 titles across five days, offering audiences an extraordinary cinematic experience.
Here are the key takeaways:
The Grand Jury Award winners in three categories—Live Action Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short—are now eligible for consideration at the 2023 Academy Awards.
The esteemed jury included director and writer Sindha Agha, film critic Ryan Swen, and writer, producer, and film programmer Imani Davis.
Live Action Short Winner: “CLOSING DYNASTY”
The jury praised this entrancing narrative that provides a unique perspective of New York City through the eyes of a resourceful young girl.
They commended the skillful blend of humor and emotion, paired with stunning cinematography.
Documentary Short Winner: “NǍI NAI & WÀI PÓ” (GRANDMA & GRANDMA)
This tender and comedic portrait of an unconventional family dynamic garnered appreciation for its sensitivity to everyday rhythms and the perspectives of elders.
Animated Short Winner: “CHUTES”
Described as a delightful rollercoaster of clever visual metaphors, “CHUTES” adeptly captures the interplay between social relationships and materialism.
The festival also recognized outstanding achievements in various categories, including editing, experimentation, social commentary, and more.
Diverse and Inclusive Program:
AFI FEST 2023 featured a diverse range of films, with 43% directed by women, 36% by BIPOC filmmakers, and 17% by LGBTQIA+ filmmakers.
The festival included a variety of premieres, including World, North American, and U.S. premieres, showcasing 49 countries and representing 20 Best International Feature Oscar® submissions.
Greta Gerwig’s Influence:
Guest Artistic Director Greta Gerwig curated select films for the festival, adding her unique touch to the lineup.
Notable films introduced by Gerwig included “ALL OF US STRANGERS,” “AMERICAN FICTION,” “THE BIKERIDERS,” “FINGERNAILS,” “MEMORY,” and “PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE.”
The festival hosted insightful panel discussions, including one by The Hollywood Reporter that celebrated the greatest film books of all time, featuring renowned authors and industry experts.
A Showcase of Alumni Talent:
Several AFI Conservatory alumni presented their films at the festival, highlighting the talent nurtured by the institution.
The festival attracted a star-studded guest list, including industry luminaries, filmmakers, and artists, contributing to its vibrant atmosphere.
AFI FEST 2023 demonstrated the power of cinema to bring people together and celebrate storytelling diversity. With its impressive lineup of award-winning films and insightful discussions, it continues to be a vital platform for cinema enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.