The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry

Deschanel, Firstenberg and Jewison Honored at AFI Conservatory Commencement

June 25, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CA, June 11, 2008—American Film Institute (AFI) gave honorary degrees to three members of the film community today to:

Caleb Deschanel, ASC, Cinematographer/Director
Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa
For contribution of distinction to the art of the moving image

Caleb Deschanel graduated from AFI’s first class in 1971 and has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most celebrated cinematographers. His numerous award-winning credits include: The Black Stallion, The Right Stuff, Being There, The Natural and The Passion of the Christ.

Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI President Emerita
Doctorate of Communication Arts, honoris causa
For contribution to the mission of the institute

Jean Picker Firstenberg led AFI, America’s national cultural arts organization, from 1980-2007—only the second person to head AFI since its creation 40 years ago—making her one of the longest serving chief executives of any nonprofit organization in the US. During Firstenberg’s tenure, AFI dramatically expanded beyond its founding missions—to train America’s next generation of moviemakers and preserve the nation’s film heritage—to also become the largest nonprofit film exhibitor in the US, to mount major national celebrations of excellence in American film and television, and to evaluate and integrate new media in the world of film and television.

Norman Jewison, Director/Producer
Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa
For contribution of distinction to the art of the moving image

Norman Jewison’s illustrious producing and directing career includes landmark films such as In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof, A Soldier’s Story and Moonstruck. His films have received a total of 46 Oscar nominations, and in 1999 he received the Academy’s prestigious Irving Thalberg Award. In 1986, Jewison established the Canadian Film Centre, citing AFI as an inspiration.

Previous recipients of AFI Honorary Degrees include Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Bochco, Ken Burns, Roger Corman, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, Chuck Jones, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, John Lasseter, Gena Rowlands, Thelma Schoonmaker and John Williams.

The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year accredited MFA program, granting degrees in six filmmaking disciplines—Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. World-renowned for its advanced professional training, AFI’s program is designed to nurture the talents and enhance the skills of tomorrow’s leading storytellers in the global motion picture and television professions. The curriculum focuses on narrative, visual storytelling through hands-on collaboration, taught by working professionals from the film, television and digital media communities. The AFI Conservatory has trained more than 3,000 artists since its founding in 1969.