Filipino American cinematographer makes history at AFI Awards

Filipino American cinematographer makes history at AFI AwardsFilipino American cinematographer makes history at AFI Awards
via American Film Institute
Ryan General
12 days ago
Matthew Libatique is the first Filipino American to receive an American Film Institute (AFI) award.
Key points:
  • Libatique received the award on April 27, during the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute Gala honoring Nicole Kidman at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
  • His emotional speech honored his family, mentors and collaborators.
About Libatique:
  • Libatique was born in Queens, New York to Filipino immigrant parents in 1968.
  • He is an alumnus of the AFI Conservatory and has collaborated frequently with his classmate Darren Aronofsky.
  • Libatique received three Academy nominations for his cinematography work on “Black Swan,” “A Star Is Born” and “Maestro.”
The details:
  • The Schaffner Alumni Medal recognizes AFI Conservatory Alumni who embody the creative qualities and commitment to quality storytelling of filmmaker Franklin J. Schaffner. He is one of only 31 recipients to ever receive the award.
  • AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale presented the award to Libatique, saying: “Most recently, his collaborations have been with Bradley Cooper on ‘A Star Is Born’ and the much-celebrated ‘Maestro.’ Well, tonight, he is AFI’s Maestro.”
  • In his acceptance speech, Libatique likened the award to “a warm embrace and a testament to the collective efforts” of those who supported him. He credited the AFI Conservatory for his success and acknowledged mentors like John Alonzo and Owen Roizman.
  • Libatique gave a special shout-out to longtime collaborator Aronofsky, saying “Wherever you are, man, I just want to give you a big hug. I love you.” He also thanked his wife and children for their support in his demanding career.
  • Other past AFI Schaffner Alumni Medal recipients include Patty Jenkins, David Lynch and Terrence Malick.
  • Kidman, who was honored with the prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award at the event, is the first Australian recipient of the recognition. The tribute special will premiere on June 17 on TNT.
What’s next
  • Libatique is currently working with Spike Lee and Denzel Washington on the new film “High and Low.”
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