Congratulations Gina Prince-Bythewood On Receiving Honorary Doctorate at AFI 2023 Commencement!

The American Film Institute celebrated the commencement of the AFI Conservatory Class of 2023 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. At the ceremony, AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale welcomed the honored guests, graduates, friends and family to the historic theatre, and spoke about the imperative role of storytellers in uncertain times  The celebration also included speeches from AFI Honorary Degree recipients Ernest R. Dickerson and Gina Prince-Bythewood, who were both honored with a Doctorate of Fine Arts degree honoris causa for contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image.

“AFI Honorary Degrees celebrate an ideal – a standard to which graduates may aspire,” said Gazzale. “It is AFI’s honor to shine a spotlight on the artistry of Ernest Dickerson and Gina Prince-Bythewood before the storytellers of tomorrow.”

Addressing the audience and graduates, Prince-Bythewood said, “What we do is so powerful. Film can change perspective, it can shift culture, it can change minds.” Speaking about artists’ responsibility to portray reality as it should be, she reminded the filmmakers, “You have the power to [see the world better] with your pen, with your camera, with your choices.”

Gina Prince-Bythewood, an award-winning director/writer/producer known for her authentic character-driven work in film and television, has written and directed such influential feature films as LOVE & BASKETBALL, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and BEYOND THE LIGHTS.

Prince-Bythewood most recently directed the critically acclaimed epic feature film, THE WOMAN KING, which earned Prince-Bythewood a BAFTA nomination for Best Director, the Filmmaker Tribute at the Gotham Awards, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture, among other accolades. Prior, Prince-Bythewood directed the critically acclaimed action drama blockbuster film, THE OLD GUARD, starring Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne. For television, Prince-Bythewood most recently directed the pilot and served as an Executive Producer of the limited series WOMEN OF THE MOVEMENT. Other recent credits for Prince-Bythewood include SHOTS FIRED, which she and her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood served as Series Co-Creators and Executive Producers.

As a longtime advocate for equal representation in film and television on-screen and behind-the-scenes, Prince-Bythewood has championed many emerging writers and directors as well as funding a scholarship for African American students in the film program at UCLA, her alma mater.

Link to Press Release: THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE CELEBRATES THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE AFI CONSERVATORY CLASS OF 2023 | American Film Institute

AFI Celebrates the Class of 2023 Commencement | American Film Institute