American Film Institute Names Sandra Chen Lau New Chief Advancement Officer

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The American Film Institute (AFI) has appointed Sandra Chen Lau as its new Chief Advancement Officer. Chen Lau brings over 20 years of experience in arts, culture and education and a track record of leading successful fundraising programs.

Chen Lau most recently served as the Chief Development Officer at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. She will serve on AFI's senior management team, leading the development strategies for the Institute's national arts and education programs.


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"AFI's future shines even brighter with Sandra joining our leadership team," said Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO. "Her unparalleled experience in development strategy has proven transformational, and this, coupled with her lifelong commitment to arts, culture and education, will ensure AFI's national mandate grows even stronger in the years to come."

"I am delighted to join AFI at a time when how stories are told and who tells these stories are so important in moving culture forward," said Chen Lau. "AFI has dedicated itself to excellence in educating generations of storytellers and inspiring audiences all over the globe, and I am excited for this opportunity to advance the mission of the Institute, and to work in partnership with its leadership."

Prior to her tenure at the Japanese American National Museum, Chen Lau served as a senior member of University of Southern California's advancement team and worked on USC's $6B fundraising campaign. In this capacity, she spearheaded the advancement programs at USC School of Architecture and USC Pacific Asia Museum. She has also led fundraising at University of California Los Angeles' Luskin School of Public Affairs as part of UCLA's $3 billion campaign and at Pacific Oaks College and Children's School.


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Chen Lau holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from UCLA with a specialization in leadership, civil society and nonprofit management, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of California, Riverside. An advocate for education, she was elected to serve on the Governing Board of Pasadena Area Community College District and is a board member on the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

The American Film Institute (AFI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to champion the moving image as an art form. Established in 1967, AFI launched the first comprehensive history of American film and sparked the movement for film preservation in the United States.


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In 1969, AFI opened the doors of the AFI Conservatory, a graduate-level program to train narrative filmmakers. AFI's enduring traditions include the AFI Life Achievement Award, which honors the masters for work that has stood the test of time; AFI AWARDS, which celebrates the creative ensembles of the most outstanding screen stories of the year; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive that preserve film history for future generations.


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AFI exhibition programs include AFI FEST, AFI DOCS and year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland. Other pioneering programs include workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community, including the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. AFI's newest program is AFI Movie Club, a daily global engagement for those who love the movies. 

Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteYouTube.com/AFITwitter.com/AmericanFilm and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

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