American Virtual Film Showcase 2021: Cinema Masterclass Series


The U.S. Embassy in Mongolia is pleased to announce the American Film Showcase (AFS) 2021, which will be held from December 7-10, 2021. AFS is the Office’s premier U.S. film diplomacy program. Educational and Cultural Studies of the US Department of State. (ECA) and implemented by the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Southern California. In partnership with the American embassies, AFS organizes screenings, workshops and masterclasses in more than 60 countries per year.

Since 2015, the United States Embassy in Ulaanbaatar has worked with NGOs and local institutions to bring the AFS program to Mongolia, with nine experts who have facilitated workshops, masterclasses and exchange opportunities for the film community. local. This year, due to COVID-19, the program will be virtual and four brilliant film experts will share their experiences and advice during online masterclasses from December 7-10.e, 2021.

The four sessions will focus on four different areas of filmmaking. All sessions will be open to the public through the Zoom webinar platform and require advance registration to participate. All cultural and educational institutions in cinema are welcome. Please find the background and masterclass topics for each of the film experts below, and register for the courses using the link provided.

Local press and media are invited to conduct online interviews with film experts. The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy will coordinate interviews with experts upon request through [email protected] between November 22 and December 6, 2021.

Interested educational institutions, NGOs and public entities wishing to participate in masterclasses in groups of more than 10 people, please contact [email protected] before December 1, 2021.

AFS promotes person-to-person engagement, provides contemporary insight into American society, and fosters understanding between cultures. Each of the AFS programs is designed to spark dialogue and empower local communities to tell their own stories.

# AFSMongolia2021 #FilmDiplomacy #ExchangeOurWorld

December 7e, 2021 9: 00-12: 00
Masterclass with Aaron Benay
Subject: “To be determined”
Registration link: to be determined

Aaron Benay is a film and television screenwriter who, along with his brother Matthew, wrote the next installment in Disney’s popular National Treasure franchise. Among other features, Benay wrote 1906, an epic about the great San Francisco earthquake, for Oscar-winning director Brad Bird. He also scripted a story about America’s first serial killer for Leonardo DiCaprio. On television, Benay has written pilots including The Sector, a sci-fi series for legendary filmmaker Takashi Miike. In China, he adapted Journey to the West, one of the four great classic novels, for DreamWorks. Benay is an adjunct assistant professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He taught classes at UCLA, where he judged the thesis pitch competition. Benay graduated from Duke University with a concentration in East Asia and a certificate in Asian and African languages ​​and literatures. He is also a graduate of the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies at Stanford and the prestigious Inter-University Center in Yokohama. Benay is a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America. He sits on many alumni and LGBTQ + committees. In addition to Japanese, he formally studied French, Spanish and Mandarin. Benay is a frequent traveler and has visited over 40 countries and more.

December 8e, 2021 9: 00-12: 00
Masterclass with Elizabeth Polans
Subject: “To be determined”
Registration link: to be determined

Elizabeth polans is an Emmy-nominated producer who specializes in bridging the gap between traditional and digital entertainment. She works at Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production and talent management company, and is executive producer of season 5 of the television series The Rap Game. Elizabeth is an expert in creating digital audiences and producing content that matches a specific audience profile. She advises top talent on social media strategy. Elizabeth strengthened the YouTube presence of all brands in the A + E network (Lifetime, History, A&E, FYI, Bio) by expanding her digital footprint with triple-digit percentage growth year-over-year, resulting in 1.5 billion annual flows. She has a proven track record in successful projects including an Emmy-nominated piece for Outstanding Short-lived Comedy or Drama Series in 2016. She developed the Dance Moms: Slumber Party series, which racked up over 30 million views on YouTube and was posted on the shelf beating the main network average. Elizabeth is a member of the TV Academy for Interactive Media. Elizabeth graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Radio / TV / Film and English, and is now a board member of the Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance Alumni Networking Group.

December 9e, 2021 11: 00-13: 00
Masterclass with Arianna LaPenne

Subject: “To be determined”
Registration link: to be determined

Arianna LaPenne is a director and cinematographer, born and raised in New York City. Arianna’s documentary work has taken her to Mongolia, Iceland, Cuba, Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, throughout East and Southern Africa, South and Southeast Asia. and Latin America. His commercial work includes Google’s #ShowUp campaign, Dannon’s “Inside Stories”, West Elm’s “Design to Impact” campaign in India, a series for Bulleit and a short doc for Ford on the future of cities. Drawing on his years of experience in the field as a doc and DP filmmaker, his work is characterized by a truth-inspired approach and a unique visual style, while maintaining authenticity. Arianna has also created films for The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Viceland, and National Geographic on issues ranging from child marriage, wildlife conservation, gang violence to political conflict. His work has been screened at PBS, SXSW, DOCFest, Frameline, OUTfest, DOC NYC and One Show, and has been supported by Sundance Labs, ITVS, The Fledgeling Fund and IFP. Arianna received a BFA in Film and Television from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with a special program in Havana, Cuba.

December 10e, 2021 09: 00-12: 00
Masterclass with Mike Mosalem

Subject: “To be determined”
Registration link: to be determined

Mike Mosalem Producer, director, screenwriter for theater, cinema and television. Through his production company, Mike Mosallam Productions (, he and his team produced short films: Breaking Fast (Cannes Film Festival) and Brothers (winner of the Jury and Audience Award 11 times), both written and directed by Mike, as well as the short film “Ubuntu” , a co-production with the Muslim Council of Public Affairs. His feature debut, Breaking Fast (based on the short), had its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in March 2020 and its Los Angeles premiere shortly thereafter at Outfest Fusion. After performing at over 65 festivals around the world and winning major awards, it was acquired for distribution by Vertical Entertainment and released on Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon and anywhere you can buy or rent movies on demand (for find out more, visit He is the creator and co-executive producer of the critically acclaimed TLC series, All-American Muslim. Most recently, Mike is an Executive Creative Consultant on Hulu’s Ramy Season 2 (Episode 9). He is currently writing his second feature film loosely based on a true story. On the theater side, Mike has produced and directed over 100 theatrical productions from large-scale musicals, intimate cabarets, plays, concerts and multimedia theatrical events. He is a proud Muslim, Lebanese American and fluent in Arabic.


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