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The American Film Institute: Celebrating 50 Years


Location: Redstone Theater

An Afternoon with Jean Picker Firstenberg and special guests

Followed by a book signing and reception (for invited guests and book purchasers)

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the American Film Institute, born in 1967 at the dawn of the New Hollywood, has since established itself as one of the nation’s most respected cultural and educational entities, including a world-class graduate film school; publications; unique, state-of-the art programming; film festivals; and the Life Achievement Award. From its inception, the AFI has been a champion of the moving image as a vibrant art form and a critical component of America’s cultural history. Its graduates, faculty, supporters, and trustees include Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Les Moonves, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Ken Burns, Jane Fonda, Ed­ward James Olmos, Shonda Rhimes, and many more. Jean Picker Firstenberg, who was the president and CEO of the AFI for more than half of its 50 years, has written (with James Hindman) the definitive story—an engaging and insightful memoir—BECOMING AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute.

To celebrate the publication of the book by Santa Monica Press, this special program will feature a panel discussion with notable AFI alumni followed by a book signing and reception. Confirmed guests include: Barbara Kopple, Academy Award–winning documentarian (AFI trustee emeritus); cinematographer Fred Elmes (Class of 1982), whose career was launched with David Lynch’s magnum opus Eraserhead; Terry Lawler, executive director of New York Women in Film and Television and former director of the Directing Workshop for Women; Barbara Schock (Class of 1994), chair of the NYU Graduate Film program; director Paul Warner (Class of 1989); and James Hindman, co-writer, former AFI co-director, COO, and provost. Additional guests to be announced. The discussion, moderated by Chief Curator David Schwartz, will include clips highlighting AFI’s remarkable history.

The program will run approximately 90 minutes, immediately followed by the book signing and reception.

Tickets: $15 (Free for AFI Alumni and for Museum members at the Film Lover level and MoMI Kids Premium levels and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)

Ticket purchase includes same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.