Melina Matsoukas Honored With AFI’s Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal

This year’s recipient of the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal is Melina Matsoukas, an alumna of the AFI class of 2005 who has directed such seminal works as Beyonce’s “Formation” video on the “Lemonade” visual album and the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None.” Later this year, her feature film debut “Queen & Slim” will be released by Universal Pictures.

“It’s a complete honor,” Matsoukas says. “The award means that we want new voices, new stories, and that people are valuing those stories. I hope it will inspire and show black boys and girls that they can achieve greatness.”

As for being the first woman of color to receive the honor, she says: “It feels great. And I do hope that we’re starting to see change. With ‘Queen & Slim,’ for example, here are two black women with creative control telling this story. We’re giving voice to people who have been unseen and unheard, and to those who have been silenced.”

Matsoukas is looking forward to the world seeing “Queen & Slim,” written by “Master of None” writer and star Lena Waithe, who won an Emmy (with Aziz Ansari) for writing the “Thanksgiving” episode. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a black couple who go on the run after killing a police officer in self-defense.

“It’s a story that I’m excited to tell because it challenges the idea of black love as well as the status quo. Lena and I hope that it sparks a dialogue and challenges people’s views. I couldn’t have made it through this process without Lena. On ‘Master of None,’ she trusted me with her personal story. Now I get to do this film with her — my soul sister.”

More Film

  • BAFTA headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London

    BAFTA Undertakes Major Renovation of Its London Headquarters

    BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent. Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its [...]

  • Andhadhun

    Booming Digital Lifts Eros Indian Film Distribution Giant

    Eros International, India’s largest and most controversial film distributor, says that its digital revenues now outstrip conventional theatrical and syndication revenues. Its Eros Now streaming platform claims 18.8 million paying subscribers. The New York-listed company reported annual results that were distorted by multiple adjustments to presentation. Reported revenues in the year to end of March [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Second Huayi Brothers Film Is Canceled as Company's Losses Mount

    Still reeling from the cancellation of the theatrical release of its blockbuster “The Eight Hundred,” production studio Huayi Brothers has been hit with another setback: Its comedy “The Last Wish” has also been quietly pulled from China’s summer lineup. Both films have fallen afoul of China’s increasingly heavy-handed censors. The unwelcome development comes as Huayi [...]

  • Sean AstinCritics' Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    Film News Roundup: Sean Astin Cast in 'Mayfields Game,' 'Charming the Hearts of Men'

    In today’s film news roundup, Sean Astin gets two roles, two “Peanuts” movies are set for release, “One Last Night” gets distribution and Brian De Palma gets honored. CASTINGS Sean Astin has been cast in a pair of upcoming feature films: “Mayfield’s Game” opposite Mira Sorvino and “Charming The Hearts of Men” opposite Kelsey Grammer. Astin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content