Wally Pfister To Be Honored As Alumnus Of The American Film Institute


Joins Previous AFI Conservatory Alumni Including Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch and Terrence Malick

May 31, 2012, 14:35 ET from American Film Institute

LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that Wally Pfister, recognized as one of the most gifted cinematographers in the world today, will receive the 2012 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal.  Pfister will be presented with the medal as part of the AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Shirley MacLaine, to be held at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on June 7, 2012, and broadcast on TV Land on June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

The Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of a graduate of the AFI Conservatory or AFI Directing Workshop for Women who symbolizes the legacy of Franklin Schaffner.  The AFI Conservatory – named the #1 film school in the world by The Hollywood Reporter – is renowned for its collaborative approach to hands-on filmmaking and its advanced training of the next generation of storytellers in six filmmaking disciplines:  Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting.

A graduate of the AFI Conservatory in 1991, Pfister joins 21 AFI alumni who have been awarded this honor, including Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN, THE WRESTLER), Amy Heckerling (FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH), Janusz Kaminski (SCHINDLER'S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), David Lynch (BLUE VELVET), Terrence Malick (TREE OF LIFE, BADLANDS) and Ed Zwick (GLORY).

Pfister is best known for his collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, which spans every motion picture Nolan has directed since MEMENTO (2000), including INSOMNIA (2002); BATMAN BEGINS (2005); THE PRESTIGE (2006); THE DARK KNIGHT (2008); INCEPTION (2010), for which Pfister received the Oscar; and this summer's THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012).  Other recent films include MONEYBALL (2011) and the documentary MARLEY (2012), now playing in theaters.  He has been nominated for four Oscars and was twice nominated for the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography.

The son of a television news executive, Pfister began working as a news cameraman upon graduation from high school and covered the United States Congress, the White House and breaking news for a Washington news service in the early 1980s.  When director Robert Altman needed a real news cameraman to appear in TANNER '88, he hired Pfister as an actor.  The producers saw his footage and brought him on as second unit cameraman, his first exposure to dramatic material.

Pfister pursued his passion for Cinematography at the AFI Conservatory where he collaborated with classmates on SENZENI NA? (1990), a dark look at apartheid nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.  Janusz Kamiński (AFI Class of 1987), the 2010 recipient of the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, saw the film and recruited Pfister to work with Roger Corman and Phedon Papamichael.  His long and productive collaboration with Christopher Nolan followed.  Pfister is currently in pre-production on his directorial debut for Alcon Entertainment.

Verizon's Digital Media Services group is the proud sponsor of the presentation of the Schaffner Alumni Medal to Wally Pfister and additionally honored to support the next generation of filmmakers through scholarships to the AFI Conservatory.

HP is the Presenting Sponsor of the AFI Life Achievement Award tribute honoring Shirley MacLaine.  Official Sponsors include Audi of America, Deloitte, Verizon Digital Media Services and American Airlines – the official airline of AFI, with additional support provided by Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and Stella Artois.

SOURCE American Film Institute