American Film Institute to Launch Three-Year 50th Anniversary Celebration

Courtesy of American Film Institute
American Film Institute Conservatory

It will kick off with the AFI's Conservatory Commencement on Monday.

The American Film Institute’s Conservatory Commencement ceremony, which will be held Monday at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, will kick off a three-year celebration, marking the 50th anniversary of the AFI, which was established by a presidential mandate of Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House Rose Garden in 1967.

The celebration will continue through 2019, which will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Conservatory's 1969 inaugural class. 

"AFI is hosting its Conservatory Commencement on the date of AFI's anniversary because we look to the art form's future through the eyes of these young filmmakers," Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO, said in a statement. "AFI's founding promise was to nurture and support the young men and women wishing to pursue the art form as their life's work, and it is an ongoing mission we are proud to carry forward."

Taking part in the commencement ceremony will be George Stevens, Jr., AFI founding director; Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI president Emerita; Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO; and honorary degree recipients Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick and Carol Burnett.

Since its founding, the AFI has played a role in training future filmmakers through its AFI Conservatory, which accepts 140 fellows a year and boasts alumni that include include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Caleb Deschanel, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kaminski, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Robert Richardson and Paul Schrader. It also launched the AFI Directing Workshop for Women in 1974 to enable more women to forge directing careers.

It has created the AFI Collection at the Library of Congress, preserving prints of more than 60,000 films, and also created the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, a scholarly record of the first 100 years of American filmmaking.

The AFI also is known for its annual AFI Life Achievement Award, which recognizes master filmmakers and screen talent and which this year will honor Diane Keaton on June 8. In 2000, it created the AFI Awards, which shines a spotlight on the best films and TV programs each year. And in 1998, it created AFI’s 100 Years …100 Movies, a countdown of the 100 greatest movies of all time, which were revealed in a three-hour CBS special. Additionally, AFI holds its annual AFI Fest film festival in Los Angeles and its AFI Docs film festival in Washington, D.C.

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