AFI Conservatory Alum Christina Kelly Holmes Receives AGBO Grant & Mentorship – Deadline

The American Film Institute (AFI), in partnership with Anthony and Joe Russo’s studio AGBO, has named Christina Kelly Holmes as this year’s recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant.

Now in its third year, the program awards $25K to a recent AFI Conservatory graduate to develop at least one project with a year-long mentorship from AGBO.

Holmes received the grant for her project For Women Only, a one-hour drama set in 1980s communist Romania about a blacklisted classically trained pianist who becomes a black-market entrepreneur smuggling goods for women into one of the most oppressive regimes in modern history.

“At AGBO we are keenly aware of how important mentorship is for young artists, which is why we are excited to award Christina Kelly Holmes the AGBO/AFI conservatory Development Grant this year,” said Angela Russo Ostot, President of Creative, AGBO. “We’re eager to champion Christina’s commitment as a genre storyteller in exploring her heritage, and via a serialized narrative that illuminates the challenges for women to obtain their most basic of needs. We look forward to supporting Christina and giving her our all as she develops this noteworthy project.”

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“The continued pursuit to elevate underrepresented and diverse storytellers is a mission shared by both AFI and AGBO,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute. “This grant is instrumental in empowering storytellers like Christina who will push the art form in bold new directions, and we look forward to her stories being shared with the world.

A New Jersey native, raised in London, Holmes redirected her career from tech toward screenwriting, where her identity as a first-generation Romanian and mixed-race woman, as well as her experiences as a third culture kid, influenced her storytelling. She graduated from the AFI Conservatory last year and is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment.

“With the invaluable insight gained from workshopping my series with professors and peers at the AFI, I look forward to further developing a compelling pilot with the support of AGBO,” said Holmes.

Previous AFI Conservatory Screenwriting grads include Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story), Scott Frank (The Queen’s Gambit), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), Karen Janszen (Dolphin Tale), LaToya Morgan (The Walking Dead), Jim Reynolds (The Big Bang Theory) and Andy Siara (Palm Springs).

The AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant was created in 2019. Previous recipients include Angela Chen (Directing, AFI Class of 2018) for her project  Triad about a broken Chinese immigrant family and their first-generation children in America and Marina Kato (Screenwriting, AFI Class of 2019) for her script Dia de las Carpas, a fairytale about a little girl who escapes deportation by becoming a mermaid.

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