American Film Institute

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The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act. The organization describes itself as "a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media."

The AFI Conservatory focuses on training through hands-on experience with established artists.

The American Film Institute re-opened the AFI Silver theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., in April 2003.



The American Film Institute was founded in 1967 as a national arts organization to preserve the legacy of America’s film heritage, educate the next generation of filmmakers and honor the artists and their work. The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities recommended creating AFI “to enrich and nurture the art of film in America” with initial funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Ford Foundation. The original 22-member Board of Trustees included Chair Gregory Peck and Vice Chair Sidney Poitier as well as Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and other representatives from the arts and academia.

George Stevens, Jr., was the founding director. Jean Picker Firstenberg was President and CEO from 1980 to 2007. Bob Gazzale was named President and CEO in 2007. As a national nonprofit organization, the institute funds its efforts through contributions and sponsorships from large corporations and small companies, donations from individuals and its AFI membership program.

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