Cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel will receive the 2015 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, the organization announced today. The award recognizes the creative talents of an AFI Conservatory alumnus who “embodies the qualities of filmmaker Franklin Schaffner: talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality filmmaking.” The medal will be presented during the AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Steve Martin, taking place on June 4, 2015 in Hollywood.
A member of AFI’s inaugural class of 1969, Deschanel served as cinematographer on some of the most iconic films of the last 40 years; he has received five Oscar nominations, for his work on The Right Stuff, The Natural, Fly Away Home, The Patriot, and The Passion of the Christ. Among his other credits are The Black Stallion, The Last Temptation of Christ, Being There, Jack Reacher, Winter’s Tale, and many others. He has also been nominated for several other prestigious awards, including a British Academy Film Awards nomination for The Black Stallion. For his work on The Patriot, Deschanel received the American Society of Cinematographers award. He was granted an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from AFI in 2008.
The medal is named for Oscar-winning Patton director Franklin J. Schaffner. First elected to the AFI Board of Trustees in 1975, Schaffner remained affiliated with the organization until his death in 1989. The first award was given in 1991. Previous honorees include David Lynch (1991), Martin Brest (1994), John McTiernan (1997), Terrence Malick (2000), Darren Aronofsky (2001), and Anne Garefino (2014).
Deschanel is the father of actresses Zooey and Emily Deschanel.