American Express announced Wednesday the creation of a series of scholarships, totaling $500,000, for the American Film Institute on behalf of 20 Academy Award nominees. The scholarships will go to talented aspiring filmmakers to study at the AFI’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies, which has trained many of the world’s directors, producers, screenwriters and cinematographers.
The scholarships will be created in the name of each of these Oscar-nominated American Express Cardmembers Kim Basinger, James Cameron, Peter Cattaneo, Helena Bonham Carter, Joan Cusack, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Robert Duvall, Atom Egoyan, Peter Fonda, Robert Forster, Curtis Hanson, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Gloria Stuart, Gus Van Sant and Kate Winslet.
“We wanted to congratulate Cardmembers who are Oscar nominees in a way that would honor their profession. By working with the American Film Institute, American Express is creating a series of scholarships to empower the next generation of filmmakers,” said Nancy Smith, Vice President of Global Sponsorships for American Express, noting that the company is a long-time sponsor of the Academy Awards(R). “American Express seeks to play a supporting role for film professionals everywhere.”
Jean Picker Firstenberg, Director and CEO of the American Film Institute (AFI), said “Through this program, these Oscar nominees and American Express are providing for the future of American filmmaking. American movies set the standard for the world, and Oscar nominees represent this great American art form at its highest level of achievement. So it is fitting to recognize their work through scholarships. AFI is grateful to the nominees and to American Express for supporting American filmmaking.”
American Express will announce the establishment of the film scholarships to AFI and congratulate the nominees with full-page ads (see attached) in newspapers and magazines across the country, beginning March 13.
Graduates of AFI’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies include Ed Zwick, Amy Heckerling, Mimi Leder, David Lynch, Marshall Herkovitz, John McTiernan, Terence Malick, Jon Avnet, Carl Franklin, Martin Brest, Paul Schrader, and Janusz Kaminski. Also known as the AFI Conservatory, the Center was established in 1969 and trains many of the world’s most talented aspiring filmmakers in the European conservatory tradition as part of a two-year graduate program composed of seven disciplines directing, producing, cinematography, editing, production design, screenwriting and digital media arts. AFI Fellows often have already earned graduate degrees in film studies from other institutions and/or have produced a significant body of work before coming to AFI.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AFI is the national arts organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image. AFI’s programs promote innovation and excellence through teaching, presenting, preserving and redefining the moving image.
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information on American Express, visit our web site at [americanexpress.com].