Award Presented as Part of the Life Achievement Award Gala
Celebrating Denzel Washington on June 6, 2019

Past Recipients Include Darren Aronofsky, Lesli Linka Glatter, Patty Jenkins,
Mimi Leder, David Lynch, Terrence Malick and Rachel Morrison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that multitalented film, television and music video artist Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) will receive the 2019 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal. This honor recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of AFI Conservatory alumni who embody the qualities of filmmaker Franklin J. Schaffner: talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality storytelling in film and television. The presentation of the Schaffner Medal will take place at the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Denzel Washington in Hollywood on June 6, 2019.

Matsoukas' innovative aesthetic has shaped some of contemporary pop culture's most iconic moments — from the groundbreaking "Lemonade" visual album for Beyoncé to the revelatory "Thanksgiving" episode of MASTER OF NONE. With credits spanning a variety of genres and mediums and collaborations with renowned artists such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and Jennifer Lopez, Matsoukas is a master of crafting modern-day, visual paeans to social justice and female empowerment.

In 2013, Matsoukas won Grammy Awards for Rihanna's "We Found Love" and Beyoncé's 2016 "Formation," a feminist anthem and powerfully evocative statement on the black experience in America today. She champions diverse voices and challenges the status quo in television, directing and executive-producing HBO's sharp portrait of black millennial life, INSECURE, and Netflix's MASTER OF NONE. This year, Matsoukas makes her feature directorial debut with the sociopolitical thriller QUEEN & SLIM, written by Lena Waithe. She also directed the pilot for FX's upcoming post-apocalyptic sci-fi series Y: THE LAST MAN.

She earned her MFA in Cinematography from the AFI Conservatory.

About the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal
Over the course of a remarkable 40-year career, Franklin J. Schaffner earned a total of 28 Academy Award® nominations and the Best Director Oscar® for PATTON in 1970. Schaffner's association with AFI began in 1975, with his election to the AFI Board of Trustees, and lasted until his passing in 1989.

Recipients of the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal are David Lynch (1991), Edward Zwick (1992), Randa Haines (1993), Martin Brest (1994), Jon Avnet (1995), Carl Franklin (1996), John McTiernan (1997), Amy Heckerling (1998), Mimi Leder (1999), Terrence Malick (2000), Darren Aronofsky (2001), Todd Field (2002), John Dahl (2003), Patty Jenkins (2004), Paul Schrader (2005), Marshall Herskovitz (2006), Gary Winick (2007), Mark Waters (2008), Steve Golin (2009), Janusz Kamiński (2010), Steven Rosenblum (2011), Wally Pfister (2012), Stuart Cornfeld (2013), Anne Garefino (2014), Caleb Deschanel (2015), Lesli Linka Glatter (2016), Frederick Elmes (2017) and Rachel Morrison (2018).

About the AFI Conservatory
In 1969, the AFI Conservatory opened its doors to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Today, the AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. Alumni of this elite program include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Steve Golin, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas and Robert Richardson, among others.

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI's founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.


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Media Contact:
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