The American Film Institute
) is an independent non-profit
organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts
, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson
signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act.
The first CEO and director was George Stevens, Jr. Jean Picker Firstenberg became Director and CEO in 1980. Bob Gazzale, a fifteen-year veteran of the AFI, was named president and CEO November 2007.
The AFI established a Life Achievement Award in 1973. Their own film festival, AFI Fest, was launched in 1987 and has been held every year. AFI Fest is the first film festival in the United States to carry FIAPF accreditation. Beginning in 2007, AFI opened up a satellite festival under the name AFI DALLAS.
In 1998, the 100th anniversary of American film, AFI began its 100 Years... series, celebrating and promoting interest in film history; they also preserve old films, which are subject to degradation of film stock.
The AFI re-opened the AFI Silver theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., in April 2003. The AFI Conservatory focuses on training through hands-on experience with established figures. AFI also produces film education and appreciation materials for middle and high school students. In spite of its name, AFI does not focus exclusively on film, but also on television and video.
- 2005 was the only year when all the nominees of the Academy Award for Best Picture were also listed as one of the best 10 films of the year: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck. and Munich.
- 2004 and 2006 only listed 3 Best Picture Oscar nominees - 2004: The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby and Sideways and 2006: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima and Little Miss Sunshine.
- Up to 2007, 5 animated features made the list of 10 best films of the year. Shrek (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Happy Feet (2006) and Ratatouille (2007); all of them went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.