The Los Angeles-based American Film Institute Tuesday announced plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Nov. 1 with a gala dinner at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The celebration commemorating AFI’s five-decade partnership with the library to preserve America’s motion picture heritage will bring together artists, congressional leaders, philanthropists and scholars.

Actor Morgan Freeman, the 2011 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, is scheduled to make remarks, along with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden; AFI Founding Director George Stevens Jr., son of two-time Oscar-winning director George Stevens; and AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

“AFI’s 50th Anniversary is a moment for our nation to stand together in appreciation of America’s art form,” Gazzale said. “As time goes by, these screen stories are a proven bond to unite us — an imperative for Tuesday and an inspiration for the next 50 years.”

Special guests will include actor Bradley Cooper; director Christopher Nolan; Lesli Linka Glatter, an alumna of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women; and Lori McCreary, AFI Trustee and co-founder with Freeman of Revelations Entertainment.

At its founding in 1967, AFI set out to address the crisis of America’s disappearing motion picture heritage — less than 10 percent of films made in the United States were known to be preserved at studios or in archives. Countless others were lost or decaying due to volatile nitrate-based film stock. The Library of Congress and AFI’s partnership has resulted in more than 37,000 motion pictures now preserved in the AFI Collection at the Library of Congress.

“AFI has seen the world change over 50 years,” Stevens said, “but the Institute’s aspiration for excellence in preservation, education and providing recognition has remained constant. We are proud to celebrate our half-century collaboration with the Library of Congress in saving America’s film heritage.”

–City News Service

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