We at Film Threat are apalled sometimes at the boldness that film schools display when trying to control the student films of their alumni. In the case of Jessica Landaw, her film UGLY NAKED PEOPLE is now the victim of the actions of another overzealous institution, in this case, the well respected American Film Institute. We received this impassioned letter from Ms. Landaw regarding this issue. Film Threat is calling upon all those reading this along with industry insiders to take up the cause to help this filmmaker. Listen to Jessica’s story, in her own words:

Due to an obscure, unwritten rule the American Film Institute recently invented regarding internet screening of its student films, the website iFILM ( was required today to remove the short film UGLY NAKED PEOPLE from its site. AFI believes screening on the web violates copyright issues, and is reserving its shorts for a yet-to-be launched website that will feature only selected AFI shorts. This may help the AFI, but it harms the students. This is both disappointing and unnecessary, as neither myself nor iFILM were making any revenue from the short. All that was being gained was exposure for myself and my fellow filmmakers — which is supposed to be a primary goal of any graduate film institution.

^ In its six week run on iFILM and fellow-site iFILMPro, UGLY NAKED PEOPLE garnered an incredible 26,469 downloads (a site record for that time period), and broke a record for being the quickest film to recieve 10,000 downloads (less than a week). It has never fallen off the list of “20 most viewed” films, and was frequently on the list of “highest rated” films. We received generally great reviews, and have received tons of e-mails from viewers and film professionals around the U.S. who are fans of the short. IFilm is equally disappointed that the short has been pulled.

^ UGLY NAKED PEOPLE won the grand prize for comedy at the Producers Guild of America Student Film Competition, the Silver Medal at Worldfest Houston, and 7 other awards from film festivals to date.

^ If you haven’t yet seen UGLY NAKED PEOPLE and would like to, or know someone who would, or would like to voice an opinion on AFI’s actions, please pass this e-mail on, or feel free to contact me at [address removed – Ed.] or at [phone number removed – Ed.]. ^ Thanks again to everyone for their interest in the film, and their support. – Jessica Landaw

^ Directed by: Jessica Landaw
^ Written by: Jessica Landaw & Jesse Wigutow
^ Produced by: Lauri Mannermaa
^ Starring: Robin Swid, Max Perlich, Idalis De Leon, Janet Carroll, and Henry Winkler

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