Celebrating the AFI Class of 2021 and Honorary Degree Recipient Angela Bassett – American Film Institute


Celebrating the AFI Class of 2021 and Honorary Degree Recipient Angela Bassett

On Saturday, October 9, 2021, the AFI community celebrated the commencement of the AFI Conservatory Class of 2021 with the graduates and their families and friends at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, and even more joining from all over the world via live stream.

The festivities included speeches from Dean Susan Ruskin, Class of 2021 Representatives Andi Obarski & Harry Lipnick – and AFI Conservatory alum Brad Falchuk (AFI Class of 1994), who introduced AFI Honorary Degree recipient, Oscar-nominated actress and filmmaker Angela Bassett.

In a speech that reminded all in attendance of the historic moments celebrated in the venerable theater, AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said, “There is nothing you cannot achieve. And you are better equipped to move forward in your life and in your career than any generation. You are our hope for the future and voices of the present.”

AFI alum Brad Falchuk donned his robe to address the film school graduates and praised Bassett, his long-time AMERICAN HORROR STORY and 9-11 collaborator. “Any line – no matter how simple or outlandish – will become iconic once Angela gets ahold of it,” he said. “And she’s the best of humans.”

In her speech, Bassett inspired the new graduates with her words, “This moment is about you. I want you to proudly walk in your own shoes…A career with infinite potential awaits you.”

Unique to this year, Class Representatives Andi Obarski & Harry Lipnick addressed their fellow classmates. In their remarks, the two graduates from AFI’s Cinematography program reminded their fellow filmmakers of the awesome responsibility – and potential – that they have, ”At AFI we’re told that as filmmakers, we have a responsibility – we have a responsibility to held accountable for the stories we are telling.”

To learn more about the AFI Conservatory, one of the top film schools in America, visit AFI.edu.

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