Morgan Freeman, Bradley Cooper, Lesli Linka Glatter, Christopher Nolan, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, AFI Founding Director George Stevens, Jr., and AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale to Attend Gala Dinner. AT&T Is Presenting Underwriter.

Los Angeles, California, UNITED STATES

Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Gala dinner in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on November 1, 2017 — commemorating the Institute's roots in the nation's capital and shining a light on five decades of partnership with the Library of Congress to preserve America's precious motion picture heritage.

At its founding in 1967, AFI set out to address the crisis of America's disappearing motion picture heritage — less than 10% of films made in the United States were known to be preserved at studios or in archives.  Countless others were lost or decaying due to volatile nitrate-based film stock.  The Library of Congress and AFI formed a partnership that resulted in more than 37,000 motion pictures now safely preserved in the AFI Collection at the Library of Congress.

The 50th Anniversary celebration will convene artists, Congressional leaders, philanthropists and scholars to mark the importance of that historic partnership — with remarks by 2011 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Morgan Freeman; Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden; AFI Founding Director George Stevens, Jr; and AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale.

Among special guests are award-winning filmmakers in front of and behind the camera: Bradley Cooper (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK); Christopher Nolan (DUNKIRK); Lesli Linka Glatter (HOMELAND), an alumna of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW); and Lori McCreary (MADAM SECRETARY), AFI Trustee and co-founder of Revelations Entertainment with Morgan Freeman.  Also in attendance will be Sir Howard Stringer, the Chairman of the AFI Board of Trustees; and Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI President Emerita.  The evening's program will include a presentation highlighting treasures from the AFI Collection.   

With AT&T as Presenting Underwriter, the anniversary event will take place in the historic Great Hall of the Library of Congress and will feature a special presentation on the enduring power of the motion picture that will include great works now stored in the AFI Collection at the Library of Congress — a vast archive of films including WINGS (1927), SWING TIME (1936), HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940), CITIZEN KANE (1941) and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), as well as thousands of silent features and shorts, and work from pioneering women and African-American filmmakers.

"AFI's 50th Anniversary is a moment for our nation to stand together in appreciation of America's art form," said Gazzale.  "As time goes by, these screen stories are a proven bond to unite us — an imperative for today and an inspiration for the next 50 years."

"AFI has seen the world change over 50 years," said Stevens, "but the Institute's aspiration for excellence in preservation, education and providing recognition has remained constant.  We are proud to celebrate our half-century collaboration with the Library of Congress in saving America's film heritage."

About the AFI Collection at the Library of Congress

From the beginning of motion picture production in 1893 until 1951, films were produced on highly flammable nitrate stock and many were lost to fires and disintegration.  One of AFI's first acts in 1968 was to create a "rescue list" with the Museum of Modern Art, George Eastman House and the Library of Congress, and to coordinate efforts among the archives to locate and preserve missing films.  Today, more than 37,000 motion pictures are preserved in the AFI Collection in the Library's state-of-the-art facility in Culpepper, VA.  And the search continues for remaining lost films.

The AFI Collection includes film classics by America's most accomplished filmmakers:




Walt Disney (PUSS IN BOOTS)



Alfred Hitchcock (SUSPICION)


Buster Keaton (GO WEST)

Ernst Lubitsch (ONE ARABIAN NIGHT)


Mark Sandrich (TOP HAT)

George Stevens (GUNGA DIN, SWING TIME)

Orson Welles (CITIZEN KANE)

William A. Wellman (THE PUBLIC ENEMY, WINGS)

William Wyler (JEZEBEL)

…and many more treasures.

About the American Film Institute   

Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission 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.  Initiated by remarks from Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House Rose Garden upon signing the legislation to create the National Endowment for the Arts, AFI is America's promise to educate today's audiences and tomorrow's artists.  The Institute was anchored by a Board of Trustees that included Gregory Peck as Chairman, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chairman, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.

George Stevens, Jr., was AFI's Founding Director, and he spearheaded programs that continue to this day.  The AFI Catalog of Feature Films documents every film produced in the United States between 1893-1993, and is available online to the public.  The AFI Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, opened in 1969 with an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader.  David Lynch joined in the second year, and accomplished alumni since then include Patty Jenkins, director of WONDER WOMAN (2017), Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Janusz Kamiński and Robert Richardson.  The AFI Directing Workshop for Women was launched in 1974 and continues to provide opportunities for outstanding women directors.  The AFI Life Achievement Award was established in 1973, with the inaugural award going to John Ford, and has honored America's finest film artists for 45 years.

AFI has continued to create new programs under the leadership of Jean Picker Firstenberg (1980-2007) and Bob Gazzale (2007-present).   Those include AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies television events and movie reference lists which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; and year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.  For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI at,, and

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