116 students graduated from the AFI Conservatory today, but they weren’t the only ones awarded degrees at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino and Rita Moreno both accepted honorary Doctorate of Fine Art degrees from the American Film Institute, which first began educating filmmakers in 1969.
“We are proud of our history and we embrace change,” said AFI Conservatory Dean Jan Schuette. “And it shows today, in the level of work our Fellows create, how they interact, their talent, their communication, their commitment.” Tarantino is well known for having educated himself by working at a video store and obsessing over movies that way, making this honor from AFI hist most official academic laurel. Moreno — a rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner most familiar to moviegoers for her role in “West Side Story” — also bypassed film school.
AFI awards honorary degrees during its graduation ceremony every year. Recent recipients include Angela Lansbury and Lawrence Kasdan, while past honorees range from Robert Altman and Kathryn Bigelow to Spike Lee and Anne V. Coates.