Conferral of Degrees to Take Place at Annual Commencement Ceremony
June 10, 2019, at Historic TCL Chinese Theatre
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Tuesday, June 4, 2019, Los Angeles, CA — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today it will confer Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa upon Academy Award®-nominated director/producer Lesli Linka Glatter (alumna, AFI Directing Workshop for Women) and Academy Award®-nominated writer/director Paul Schrader (AFI Conservatory Class of 1969). They will be recognized for their contributions to the art of the moving image during the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony on June 10, 2019, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
“AFI Commencement inspires us each year as we send a new class of talented artists out to share their stories with the world,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “As the 50th anniversary of the AFI Conservatory, this year is a landmark, and we are honored to celebrate two master storytellers who once walked AFI’s halls and whose singular visions have helped to shape the global landscape of storytelling.”
Glatter and Schrader join an esteemed group of distinguished past recipients, including Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Saul Bass, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, Jodie Foster, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Kasdan, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler and John Williams. See the full list here.
The AFI Commencement will also recognize Producing Faculty member Robert Kaplan, who retires this year after 42 years of service, and Cinematography Senior Lecturer Bill Dill, ASC, who in 2019 marks his 25th year at AFI. During his tenure, Dill trained such accomplished AFI Conservatory Cinematography graduates as Rachel Morrison (BLACK PANTHER), Masanobu Takayanagi (SPOTLIGHT) and hundreds more.
The AFI Conservatory is a world-class film training program that offers Fellows with a passion for storytelling an MFA in six disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. This year, the Conservatory celebrates its 50th anniversary, having opened its doors in 1969 to an elite class of filmmakers including 2019 honorary degree recipient Paul Schrader.
About Lesli Linka Glatter Lesli Linka Glatter is an award-winning director and producer — and AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) alumna — whose vision has shaped the current golden age of television. After her DWW thesis film, TALES OF MEETING AND PARTING, earned an Academy Award® nomination in 1985, Glatter received her first assignment as a director on Steven Spielberg’s anthology series AMAZING STORIES.
Over the past three decades, Glatter has brought her deft directorial hand to influential comedies and dramas, including TWIN PEAKS, ER, FREAKS AND GEEKS, THE WEST WING, MAD MEN, WEEDS, HOMELAND, THE NEWSROOM, THE WALKING DEAD, JUSTIFIED, RAY DONOVAN and THE LEFTOVERS. Glatter has also been instrumental as an executive producer on TV series, including HOMELAND and THE LEFTOVERS. She made her feature directorial debut with NOW AND THEN in 1995, followed by THE PROPOSITION in 1998.
Glatter helped develop the NBC Female Forward program, aimed at forging a path for women directors. She also serves as the fifth Vice President of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and is a member of the DGA Western Directors Council, a former member of the Executive Committee of the Directors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a mentor to promising new filmmakers at the prestigious Sundance Directors Lab.
Glatter’s honors include seven Emmy® nominations, a Producers Guild of America Award nomination and seven DGA Award nominations, with two DGA Award wins for her work on HOMELAND and MAD MEN. In 2016, she received the BMW Dorothy Arzner Directors Award presented by Women in Film, and the Franklin J. Schaffner Award from AFI.
About Paul Schrader Paul Schrader (AFI Class of 1969) is an award-winning screenwriter and film director with an indelible influence on modern cinema. Schrader wrote or co-wrote the iconic screenplays for four Martin Scorsese films: TAXI DRIVER (1976), RAGING BULL (1980), THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988) and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD (1999). Schrader has also directed 20 feature films, including his 1982 remake of the horror classic CAT PEOPLE, the crime drama AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980), the Cannes prize-winning biographical drama MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS (1985), true-story thriller PATTY HEARST (1988), the cult film LIGHT SLEEPER (1992), the drama AFFLICTION (1997), the biographical film AUTO FOCUS (2002) and the erotic thriller THE CANYONS (2013). Most recently, Schrader wrote and directed the otherworldly tale of spiritual crisis, FIRST REFORMED (2018), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay.
Schrader began his career at UCLA film school before attending the AFI Conservatory as a member of the very first class. He was a film critic who in 1972 published “Transcendental Style in Film,” a study of Bresson, Ozu and Dreyer. He continues to teach at Columbia University and contribute to Film Comment in New York.
In 1999, Schrader received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America. In 2009, Schrader was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Screenwriting award at the ScreenLit Festival in Nottingham, England. He has received lifetime achievement awards from various festivals, including Gent, Manila, Valladolid, Stockholm, SXSW, Istanbul, Haifa, Goriza, Istanbul, Cabo San Lucas, Mill Valley, San Francisco and Guanajuato.
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 MFA 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 KamiÅ„ski, 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.