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AFI and the Russo Brothers' AGBO Announce Grant Recipient

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Marina Kato is this year’s recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant.

The American Film Institute (AFI), in partnership with AGBO, has announced Marina Kato (Screenwriting, AFI Class of 2019) as this year's recipient of the AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant. The program, in its second year, awards $25,000 to a recent AFI Conservatory graduate to develop at least one project with a year-long mentorship from AGBO. Kato will receive the grant for her script "Dia de las Carpas," a fairytale about a little girl who escapes deportation by becoming a mermaid.

"Marina spotlights injustice and inequality through a remarkable lens that brings both beauty and joy to her examinations of the struggles immigrants face," said Angela Russo-Otstot, President of Creative at AGBO. "We are honored to guide her through our story process to help develop her short Dia de las Carpas into a feature-length screenplay that champions underdog heroes in the Latinx community through a commercial approach that speaks to broad audiences."

Founded by Anthony and Joe Russo, AGBO is an artist-led entertainment company focused on creating content borne of innovative story universes across film, television, and digital platforms.

"Through its grants and mentorship, AGBO leads the way in supporting and championing diverse voices, an integral step in increasing inclusivity in the industry," said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute. "We are proud of our partnership with AGBO and can't wait to see the results of their collaboration with Marina."

Marina Kato was also the recipient of the Sloan Science and Film scholarship during her time in the Screenwriting program at the AFI Conservatory. The Screenwriting discipline has graduated many of today's finest storytellers, including Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, Unbelievable), Karen Janszen (Dolphin Tale), LaToya Morgan (The Walking Dead) and Jim Reynolds (The Big Bang Theory).

The AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant was created in 2019; the first recipient was Angela Chen (Directing, AFI Class of 2018) for her project TRIAD about a broken Chinese immigrant family and their first-generation children in America.


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