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ANGELA LANSBURY AND LAWRENCE KASDAN TO RECEIVE
HONORARY DEGREES FROM THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE CONSERVATORY

2015 COMMENCEMENT HELD ON JUNE 10, 2015 AT 10:00 A.M.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MAY 14, 2015, Los Angeles, CA – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced it will confer Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa upon actress Angela Lansbury and writer, director and producer Lawrence Kasdan. Both Lansbury and Kasdan will be recognized for their distinct artistic contributions to the art of the moving image. The honors will be given during the AFI Conservatory's commencement ceremony on June 10, 2015 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

Lansbury and Kasdan join an esteemed group of filmmakers who are previous recipients of an AFI Honorary Degree: Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, James Earl Jones, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler and John Williams.

Angela Lansbury, one of the most celebrated names in entertainment, began her career at the age of 17, earning the first of three Academy Award® nominations for her film debut in GASLIGHT (1944) — with another, only a year later, for THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945) and a third for THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962). Lansbury has appeared in more than 60 features, including such classics as NATIONAL VELVET (1944), THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946), STATE OF THE UNION (1948), THE COURT JESTER (1955), BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS (1971), DEATH ON THE NILE (1978), NANNY MCPHEE (2005) and MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS (2011). Lansbury is perhaps best known to contemporary film audiences as Mrs. Potts in Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) and for TV's widely popular MURDER, SHE WROTE (1984–1996) — a series which garnered her an Emmy® nomination for each of its 12 seasons. She is also the winner of five Tony Awards®, and received the Academy's Honorary Award in 2013.

Lawrence Kasdan is a celebrated writer, director and producer whose deft hand with complex characters has helped to define the vocabulary of contemporary cinema — inspiring generations of audiences through blockbusters and intimate ensemble dramas alike. His first produced work was STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980), which he followed with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) and CONTINENTAL DIVIDE (1981), as well as the conclusion to the original STAR WARS trilogy, RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983). Kasdan debuted as a celebrated writer/director with BODY HEAT (1981). His second directorial feature, THE BIG CHILL (1983), was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® and earned another nod for Kasdan's screenplay. Often bringing his own scripts to the screen as producer, his credits include SILVERADO (1985), THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST (1988), GRAND CANYON (1991), THE BODYGUARD (1992), WYATT EARP (1994), DREAMCATCHER (2003) and DARLING COMPANION (2012) — garnering Academy Award® nominations for Best Writing for THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST and GRAND CANYON, and Best Picture for THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST. He has recently teamed with director J.J. Abrams to bring STAR WARS back to the big screen with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Full bios of Lansbury and Kasdan are available here. Photos are available on request.

About the AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory is a two-year graduate level program that offers training in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. With an emphasis on storytelling, artists make 4-10 movies under the guidance of masters. Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks serves as Artistic Director of the AFI Conservatory where he provides creative leadership for the elite film program. Proud supporters of the AFI Conservatory are Sony and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

AFI Conservatory's alumni have been consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards — Academy Awards®, Emmy Awards®, guild awards — as well as the Tony Awards®. Graduates have received 133 Academy Award® nominations and 27 wins. In the 2014-2015 academic year to date, AFI alumni have been nominated for 151 awards by 28 major guilds, academies and other professional associations — with 34 award wins.

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America's promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

 

Media Contacts: Liza deVilla Ameen, 323.856.7885,
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