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Philippe Thompson Written by Philippe Thompson
Jun. 6, 2017 | 12:17 PM

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AFI’s 50th Anniversary

AFI Logo

On June 5th, 2017, the American Film Institute (AFI) celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.  Created by Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential mandate, AFI seeks to “preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work, and to educate the next generation of storytellers.”  According to AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale, “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. 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.”

AFI Founding Director George Stevens, Jr., joined AFI President Emerita Jean Picker Firstenberg and current AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale to bring together all three presidents from AFI’s history.  Also present were Sir Howard Stringer, AFI Board of Trustees Chair, and Robert A. Daly, AFI Board of Directors Chair.

AFI Commencement 2017
Pictured (L to R): AFI Board of Directors Chair Robert A. Daly; AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale; AFI President Emerita Jean Picker Firstenberg; AFI Founding Director George Stevens, Jr.; AFI Board of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer

The Anniversary and Commencement Ceremony featured three Honorary Degree recipients: American icon Carol Burnett and renowned filmmakers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. Each speaker shared their thoughts on the entertainment industry, delivered laughs, and imparted wisdom.

Zwick Burnett Herskovitz
Pictured (L to R): Marshall Herskovitz, Carol Burnett, and Edward Zwick

More information regarding AFI’s 50th Anniversary is available on their blog.

For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI at,,, and

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