This year's AFI Conservatory commencement of 127 graduates took place at Hollywood's historic TCL Chinese Theatre on June 11, 2014. The diverse group of emerging talent class comprised of 55 women and 72 men, with 33 of the graduates coming from international countries.
At the ceremony, AFI conferred Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa upon screenwriter Robert Towne and actress Cicely Tyson. Esteemed director Francis Ford Coppola presented the honor to Robert Towne with whom he worked on THE GODFATHER (1972); director, screenwriter, producer and 2013 AFI Honorary Degree recipient Jon Avnet (AFI Class of 1972) presented to Cicely Tyson (AFI Directing Workshop for Women, Class of 1977 ), who he directed in FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (1991).
A surprise appearance by screenwriter and THE X-FILES creator Chris Carter marked the Institute's farewell to director Robert Mandel (F/X, SCHOOL TIES, THE X-FILES), who previously announced his departure as Dean of the Conservatory after nine years. Mandel directed the groundbreaking show's pilot. AFI will establish a nine-year scholarship in Mandel's name for each of his years as Dean. This year's diverse group of emerging talent class comprises of 55 women and 72 men, with 33 of the graduates coming from international countries.
Towne and Tyson join an esteemed group of artists previously honored with the AFI Honorary Degree: Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Saul Bass, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Anne V. Coates, Caleb Deschanel, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, James Earl Jones, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Thelma Schoonmaker, Haskell Wexler, Robert Wise, John Williams and many more.
View photos from the 2014 commencement ceremony.