Five Questions with AFI Member Shelley Cranley – American Film Institute


Five Questions with AFI Member Shelley Cranley

Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live and what do you do?

Shelley: I grew up in Nevada, primarily Tonopah, Silver Peak, and Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world! I had a wonderful childhood spent exploring and walking the hills and staking out mining claims with my father, and taking in the star-studded shows of the late 1950s and 1960s at the Las Vegas Strip hotels with my mother. My mother, interested in life experiences, also made sure that we visited what was then Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I was enamored by all of it. Because of time spent in and around hospitals during my childhood, my entire career was focused on healthcare, from which I retired in 2019.

What are three movies you would like featured as part of the AFI Movie Club – films that inspire and entertain you?

Shelley: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – I first saw this movie, well after it premiered, on the big screen at the MGM Theater here in Las Vegas. I had the opportunity to see it again on the big screen not too long ago as part of Fathom Events programming.  LA VIE EN ROSE – I loved this movie and only saw it the one time on the big screen…time to watch it again. THE PARENT TRAP – I love this movie, both the original and the remake. It doesn’t matter that I now know how it ends. Whenever it comes on TV or I’m flipping through channels and it is on, I stop and watch it. It’s a feel-good movie full of mischief. I was a member of the Hayley Mills Fan Club!

How did you first hear about AFI, and why did you become an AFI member?

Shelley: I was on a business trip to Washington, DC and Silver Docs was starting in Silver Spring, MD. I bought a ticket to see a film from China that documented an orphaned child whose parents were lost to AIDS. News anchor Ann Curry took the train in from NY to facilitate a panel discussion. I was hooked on AFI and after doing some research, I decided to become a supporting member. Also, I have a friend, Jennifer Reeves who is an independent filmmaker and a candidate for the Film Independent Spirit Award and has shown at Sundance and AFI FEST. Your reach is far and wide!

What part of AFI’s mission, programs or events interests you the most?

Shelley: It’s inspiring to see an organization that, through its mission, focuses not only on the end product, but on every aspect of filmmaking…the full life cycle.  For anyone aspiring to get into the business and for those who want to share for future generations, there is a program available. For me personally, if I lived closer, I would take greater advantage of the wonderful opportunities associated with my membership.

If you could have lunch with one filmmaker or artist alive or dead, who would it be?

Shelley: Filmmaker Ron Howard – an interesting choice for me, but I think because I grew up with him (so to speak) and have watched his career pivot from in front of the screen to behind it, we would have an interesting conversation, and I’m sure a delicious lunch! He always seems upbeat, cheerful and optimistic.

Bonus question: What is your favorite film genre?

Shelley: Westerns are one of my favorite genres and, of course, living in the west and getting to see various locations where westerns and films of other genres have been shot is a treat: VANISHING POINT in central Nevada; THELMA AND LOUISE in Utah; THE GOONIES in Astoria, Oregon.  My husband enjoys sci-fi and I’m learning to!

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