Lost in Translation (2003)

R | 102 mins | Comedy-drama | 3 October 2003

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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Director:

Sofia Coppola

Writer:

Sofia Coppola

Producers:

Ross Katz, Sofia Coppola

Editor:

Sarah Flack

Production Designers:

Anne Ross, K. K. Barrett

Production Companies:

Focus Features, American Zoetrope , Elemental Films
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HISTORY

Sofia Coppola's onscreen credit reads "Written and Directed by," and she is also listed as one of the producers on a separate title card. The opening and closing cast credits differ in order, with the opening credits listing Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris and Fumihiro Hayashi, while the closing credits are listed in order of appearance. The film’s closing credits list “Alone in Kyoto,” performed by Air, twice, and include “thank you” acknowledgments for the staff of the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Mathew’s Best Hit TV, among others. Included in the acknowledgments for “Location Support,” “Product Support,” “Wardrobe Support” and “Additional Support” are the Tokyo Medical University Hospital, various temples and shrines, several Japanese publishers, Kurosawa Film Studios and a robotics company.
       Some of the television clips appearing in the picture were taken from MTV, Saturday Night Live and the Federico Fellini-directed Italian film La Dolce Vita (1960). The clip from Saturday Night Live features Murray, in one of the many skits he performed during his years as a regular on the show in the late 1970s, and is supposed to be a scene from one of "Bob Harris'" movies.
       As discussed in several interviews with director-writer Coppola, she wrote the part of Bob specifically for Murray and had no other actors in mind if he declined the part. Lost in Translation , while marking Coppola’s second film as a director, represents her first feature-length, original screenplay. Coppola is the daughter of noted filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who served as an executive producer on Lost in Translation and founded American Zoetrope. ... More Less

Sofia Coppola's onscreen credit reads "Written and Directed by," and she is also listed as one of the producers on a separate title card. The opening and closing cast credits differ in order, with the opening credits listing Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris and Fumihiro Hayashi, while the closing credits are listed in order of appearance. The film’s closing credits list “Alone in Kyoto,” performed by Air, twice, and include “thank you” acknowledgments for the staff of the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Mathew’s Best Hit TV, among others. Included in the acknowledgments for “Location Support,” “Product Support,” “Wardrobe Support” and “Additional Support” are the Tokyo Medical University Hospital, various temples and shrines, several Japanese publishers, Kurosawa Film Studios and a robotics company.
       Some of the television clips appearing in the picture were taken from MTV, Saturday Night Live and the Federico Fellini-directed Italian film La Dolce Vita (1960). The clip from Saturday Night Live features Murray, in one of the many skits he performed during his years as a regular on the show in the late 1970s, and is supposed to be a scene from one of "Bob Harris'" movies.
       As discussed in several interviews with director-writer Coppola, she wrote the part of Bob specifically for Murray and had no other actors in mind if he declined the part. Lost in Translation , while marking Coppola’s second film as a director, represents her first feature-length, original screenplay. Coppola is the daughter of noted filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who served as an executive producer on Lost in Translation and founded American Zoetrope. Coppola's brother Roman served as the director of some of the second unit footage. As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was shot entirely on location in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. According to a 15 Sep 2003 Time article, Coppola became intrigued by Japanese culture while spending time there to develop and promote a clothing line.
       The setting of the film, the exclusive Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, was Coppola’s first and only choice for the location. An Aug 2003 Screen International article on the film noted that due to the Park Hyatt's restrictions on when the filmmakers could work, they had to shoot at "crazy hours," especially at night, so that they would not disturb the guests. Coppola noted in the article that when they could not obtain necessary shooting permits for exterior or subway sequences, they "just snuck on with the camera and shot like a documentary. If someone stopped us, we went on to some other place." According to a 19 Sep 2003 Wall Street Journal item, the Park Hyatt Tokyo was going to offer “film-theme packages” to take advantage of the publicity resulting from Lost in Translation .
       In a 21 Sep 2003 NYT article, Coppola stated that the scene in which Bob is befuddled by long directions given to him in Japanese by the television director, which are then translated into English as only very short statements, was based on her own experiences promoting her 1999 debut film, The Virgin Suicides , in Japan. Coppola wrote the scene in English, which was then translated into Japanese for the actor, Japanese rock singer Yutaka Tadokoro; Murray was not given the dialogue in order to enhance the feeling that he could not understand what was being said to him.
       According to a 15 Sep 2003 Time article, the film had a modest $4 million budget, and in a 1 Dec 2003 HR piece, Coppola asserted that she shot the film "low budget enough that if it turned out to be a mess, we just wouldn't release it" in the United States. The film was shot in 27 days over five weeks, with the dailies being shipped to New York every day for editor Sarah Flack to begin the initial assembly of the film.
       According to an Oct 2003 Var article, in order to maintain complete control over the production, Coppola sought financing from various companies in exchange for distribution rights in specific countries. Other trade paper news items reported that the remaining foreign distribution rights were sold to Focus Features for $4 million shortly after the picture had begun production. After the film had been completed and was being edited in Feb 2003, the North American distribution rights were sold to Focus. On 15 Sep 2003, DV reported that due to the film’s spectacular performance in limited release, “expansions [to more screens] are expected to be more aggressive than previously planned.” By the end of 2003, the film had grossed more than $30,000,000 in the United States.
       Lost in Translation garnered excellent reviews, with many critics singling out Murray's performance. In addition to being named one of AFI’s top ten films of 2003, Lost in Translation was named in the top ten lists of Newsweek and the National Board of Review. Coppola won the Lina Mangiacapre award at the Venice Film Festival, was named best director of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle and received a Special Achievement nod from the National Board of Review for her direction, writing and producing. Coppola also received a nomination from the Directors Guild for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2003. Scarlett Johansson was named Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, and Murray garnered the Best Actor award from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, as well as being nominated for Best Actor in a Film by the Screen Actors Guild.
       Lost in Translation won the following Independent Spirit Awards: Best Director, Best Feature, Best Male Lead and Best Screenplay. Coppola received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Director. The film received a nomination for Best Picture, as did Murray for Best Actor. The film also received the following Golden Globe nominations: Best Director, Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical, Best Screenplay—Motion Picture, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical. The Art Directors Guild nominated the picture for Best Production Design in a Contemporary Film. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Angeleno
Sep 2003
pp. 114-15.
Daily Variety
26 Feb 2003
p. 6, 66.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 2003.
---
Daily Variety
2 Sep 2003
p. 4, 14.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 2003
p. 1, 15.
Daily Variety
22 Sep 2003.
---
Daily Variety
11 Nov 2003.
---
Entertainment Weekly
19 Sep 2003
p. 65.
Entertainment Weekly
10 Oct 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 2003.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Sep 2003.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 2003
Calendar, p. 1, 10.
New York
8 Sep 2003
p. 53.
New York Times
12 Sep 2003.
---
New York Times
21 Sep 2003
p. 1, 12.
New Yorker
15 Sep 2003.
---
Newsweek
15 Sep 2003.
---
Parade Magazine
7 Dec 2003
p. 26.
Premiere
Sep 2003
p. 50.
Premiere
Oct 2003
p. 18, 83-86.
Rolling Stone
2 Oct 2003.
---
Screen International
29 Aug 2003
p. 8.
Screen International
7 Nov 2003.
---
Sight and Sound
Jan 2004
pp. 12-16, 52.
Time
15 Sep 2003.
---
Variety
1 Sep 2003
p. 47, 55.
Variety
13-19 Oct 2003
p. 1, 45.
Wall Street Journal
12 Sep 2003
p. W1, W4.
Wall Street Journal
19 Sep 2003.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
in association with Tohokushinsha
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Addl Japanese unit
Chief asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Co-prod
Line prod
Line prod, Japan
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog/Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Loader
Karaoke cam op
Addl 1st asst
Addl 2d asst
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec no. 1
Best boy elec no. 2
Key grip
Best boy grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
Leadman
FILM EDITORS
Addl asst ed
Red Car Post, ed facilities
TV clip ed
Karaoke video ed
Negative matched by
Negative matched by
Film developing and dailies
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Asst set dec
Asst set dec
Addl asst set dec
Addl asst set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
Ward supv, Kyoto
Set costumer
Bilingual asst
Mr. Murray's ward provided by
MUSIC
Orig mus
Addl mus/Mus supv
Addl mus
Mus prod
Mus ed
Mus clearances
SOUND
Sd des
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Dailies synching
Supv sd ed
ADR/Dial ed
FX ed
Addl ADR ed
Addl ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Sd intern
Foley supv
Foley rec
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec supv
Re-rec engineering
American Zoetrope mix facility mgr
American Zoetrope post prod
Mix facility coord
Mix facility support
Mix facility support
Dolby eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
FUEL, title des
Opticals
MAKEUP
Key hair and makeup artist
Hair/Makeup
Asst hair/Makeup
Asst hair/Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod office coord
Prod coord
Asst prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Prod consultant
Product placement coord
Japanese casting
Addl Japanese casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting PA
Prod accountant, Japan
Asst to Natsuko Nezu
Prod accountant, USA
Scr supv
Scr translation
Unit/Key loc mgr
Loc coord
Asst loc mgr
Loc mgr, Kyoto
Key set PA
Set PA
Set PA
Bilingual coord
Bilingual asst
Bilingual asst
Bilingual asst
Bilingual asst
Driver
Driver
Driver
Addl driver
Addl driver
Asst to Ross Katz
Asst to Sofia Coppola
Asst to Bill Murray
Asst to Bill Murray
Asst to Scarlett Johansson
Asst to Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris
[Attorney]
[Attorney]
[Attorney]
[Attorney]
[Attorney]
Prod attorney, Japan
Insurance by Dennis Reiff & Associates
Insurance by Dennis Reiff & Associates
Addl insurance, Japan
Researcher
Payroll services
Post prod accounting
Prod financing
Bond company
Bond company
Bond company
Bond company
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stand-in for Mr. Murray
Stand-in for Ms. Johansson
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Alone in Kyoto," written by Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckle, performed by Air, courtesy of Revolvair
"Minuetto," written by Dominic Sands, courtesy of Promusic, Inc.
"Blue Atmosphere," written by Francesco Santucci, Antonello Vannucchi, Giorgio Rosciglione and Giovanni Cristiani, courtesy of Promusic, Inc.
+
MUSIC
"Alone in Kyoto," written by Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckle, performed by Air, courtesy of Revolvair
"Minuetto," written by Dominic Sands, courtesy of Promusic, Inc.
"Blue Atmosphere," written by Francesco Santucci, Antonello Vannucchi, Giorgio Rosciglione and Giovanni Cristiani, courtesy of Promusic, Inc.
"Tommib," written by Tom Jenkinson, performed by Squarepusher, courtesy of Warp Records Limited
"Tomei Tengu BGM," written and performed by Takeo Watanabe, courtesy of Sankyo Shinsha Inc.
"Too Young," written and performed by Phoenix, courtesy of Source/Virgin France, under license from EMI Film & TV Music
"Kaze Wo Atsumete," written by Takashi Matsumoto and Haruomi Hosono, performed by Shigekazu Aida, performed by Happy End, courtesy of Art Music Publishing Co., Ltd.
+
SONGS
"Girls," written by Tim Holmes and Richard McGuire, performed by Death In Vegas, courtesy of BMG UK & Ireland Ltd., under license from BMG Special Products, Inc.
"The Thrill Is Gone," written by Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell, performed by Catherine Lambert
"Fantino," written and performed by Sebastian Tellier, courtesy of Virgin Records, under license from EMI Film & TV Music
+
SONGS
"Girls," written by Tim Holmes and Richard McGuire, performed by Death In Vegas, courtesy of BMG UK & Ireland Ltd., under license from BMG Special Products, Inc.
"The Thrill Is Gone," written by Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell, performed by Catherine Lambert
"Fantino," written and performed by Sebastian Tellier, courtesy of Virgin Records, under license from EMI Film & TV Music
"Torn Into," written by Matt Sims, performed by Mount Sims, courtesy of Emperor Norton Records
"Scarborough Fair/Canticle," written by Paul Simon and Arthur Garfunkel, performed by Catherine Lambert
"Love Gun," written by Rick James, performed by Rick James, courtesy of Motown Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Muyu," written and performed by Des-Row Union, under license from Konami Music Entertainment
"You Stepped Out of a Dream," written by Gus Kahn and Nacio Herb Brown, performed by Catherine Lambert
"The State We're In," written by Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, performed by The Chemical Brothers, courtesy of Virgin/Astralwerks Records, under license from EMI Film & TV Music
"She Gets Around," written by Jason Falkner, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. and Brian Reitzell, performed by TV Eyes
"Feeling I Get," written by Mike Brewer, performed by Mary Butterworth Group
"God Save the Queen," written by Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon and Glen Matlock, performed by Fumihiro Hayashi
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," written by Nick Lowe, performed by Bill Murray
"Brass in Pocket," written by Chrissie Hynde and James Honeyman-Scott, performed by Scarlett T. Johansson
"More Than This," written by Bryan Ferry, performed by Bill Murray
"Sometimes," written by Kevin Shields, performed by My Bloody Valentine, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing and courtesy of Creation/SINE, a division of Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Limited
"Fuck the Pain Away," written and performed by Peaches, courtesy of XL Recordings Limited
"Nobody Does It Better," written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager, performed by Anna Faris
"Midnight at the Oasis," written by David Nichtern, performed by Catherine Lambert
"So into You," written by Buddy Buie, Robert Nix and Dean Daughtry, performed by Mark Willms
"Just Like Honey," written by James Mcleish Reid and William Reid, performed by The Jesus and Mary Chain, courtesy of Warner U.K. Ltd., by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
"La Dolce Vita," written and performed by Nino Rota, copyright C.A.M. S.r.l.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 October 2003
Premiere Information:
Telluride Film Festival: 29 August 2003
Venice Film Festival: 31 August 2003
Toronto Film Festival: 5 September 2003
LA and NY openings: 12 September 2003
Production Date:
began 29 September 2002
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios Productions, LLLP
Copyright Date:
22 March 2004
Copyright Number:
PA0001207853
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital in selected theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Film Stock by Kodak Japan Ltd.
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Japan, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Bob Harris, a middle-aged, American actor struggling with a midlife crisis, is forced by his declining movie career to accept a lucrative contract endorsing Suntory, a Japanese whiskey. Upon his arrival in Tokyo to film a television commercial for the whiskey, Bob is overwhelmed by culture shock. En route to the luxurious Plaza Hotel, Bob gazes at the staggering array of neon signs and is bemused to see one of his own billboards touting Suntory. At the hotel, Bob meets the executives who will be guiding him through his daily duties, and after they leave him, futilely attempts to sleep. Jetlagged and remorseful over having forgotten his son’s birthday, Bob makes his way to the hotel’s lounge, where a female American singer is performing. Bob wearily abandons his refuge when two enthusiastic fans question him about one of his famous action movies, then spends a restless night tossing and turning. After being wakened by automatically opening curtains and battling an awkwardly placed shower head, Bob goes to the set of the television commercial. There, he is confused by the long conversations in Japanese between the intense director and the nervous translator, who relates only the briefest of instructions to Bob. Uncertain that he is receiving an adequate translation of the director’s wishes, Bob does the best he can with the mundane dialogue. Meanwhile, also staying at the Plaza is a young American couple, Charlotte and John, who is a photographer. John is in Japan to photograph a rock and roll band, while Charlotte has accompanied him more out of a sense of boredom than of purpose. Unnerved by ... +


Bob Harris, a middle-aged, American actor struggling with a midlife crisis, is forced by his declining movie career to accept a lucrative contract endorsing Suntory, a Japanese whiskey. Upon his arrival in Tokyo to film a television commercial for the whiskey, Bob is overwhelmed by culture shock. En route to the luxurious Plaza Hotel, Bob gazes at the staggering array of neon signs and is bemused to see one of his own billboards touting Suntory. At the hotel, Bob meets the executives who will be guiding him through his daily duties, and after they leave him, futilely attempts to sleep. Jetlagged and remorseful over having forgotten his son’s birthday, Bob makes his way to the hotel’s lounge, where a female American singer is performing. Bob wearily abandons his refuge when two enthusiastic fans question him about one of his famous action movies, then spends a restless night tossing and turning. After being wakened by automatically opening curtains and battling an awkwardly placed shower head, Bob goes to the set of the television commercial. There, he is confused by the long conversations in Japanese between the intense director and the nervous translator, who relates only the briefest of instructions to Bob. Uncertain that he is receiving an adequate translation of the director’s wishes, Bob does the best he can with the mundane dialogue. Meanwhile, also staying at the Plaza is a young American couple, Charlotte and John, who is a photographer. John is in Japan to photograph a rock and roll band, while Charlotte has accompanied him more out of a sense of boredom than of purpose. Unnerved by her lack of direction and a growing feeling that her marriage is failing, Charlotte also suffers from insomnia and spends her time roaming the crowded streets or visiting Buddhist shrines. After filming the commercial, Bob returns to his room, where a prostitute sent by the advertising agency visits him. Appalled by the woman’s mangled English and bizarre attempts to seduce him, Bob escapes from her. The next morning, the executives ask Bob to stay a few extra days in order to appear on a highly rated television show, but Bob, feeling increasingly disoriented, is reluctant to agree. Bob then focuses on a photo shoot for the whiskey, at which the photographer, who barely speaks English, asks the tuxedo-clad actor to assume poses reminiscent of the “Rat Pack” and “James Bond.” Disgusted by his posturing and still unable to sleep, Bob goes to the hotel lounge, where Charlotte, amused by his ill-fitting tuxedo, smiles at him. The next morning, Charlotte is less amused when John bumps into Kelly, a vacuous American actress who gushes over his photography. While Charlotte is irritated by Kelly’s lack of intelligence and imagination, John urges her not to be so condescending. That night, the two insomniacs again meet in the lounge and upon striking up a conversation, Bob admits to Charlotte that his marriage is in trouble, and that he feels he should be doing real acting instead of the high-paying but unsatisfying endorsement. Charlotte, who recently graduated from Yale with a philosophy degree, reveals that she has been married for only two years but also feels lost in the world. The next evening, Charlotte and John are in the lounge with Kelly, who is doing publicity for her latest movie, and Charlotte abandons their pointless conversation to join Bob. Bob teasingly offers to make Charlotte his accomplice in a “prison break” to escape the country, and Charlotte, once again charmed by his ready wit, agrees to accompany him. The next day, John leaves for another city while Charlotte remains behind so as not to interfere with his work. Upon running into Bob at the hotel pool, Charlotte invites him to accompany her and some friends on a night out on the town. During an unusual evening of visiting nightclubs, drinking, attempting to converse in a hodge-podge of Japanese, English and sign language and singing karaoke, Bob and Charlotte become fast friends. After carrying the sleepy Charlotte from the taxi to her hotel room, Bob tucks her in and resignedly goes to his own room, from which he calls his wife Lydia. As usual, Bob and Lydia’s conversation is strained on both sides. The next day, Charlotte shows Bob her recently injured toe, and he insists on taking her to a hospital. After another strange encounter with people whom they cannot understand, they are drawn even closer to each other. That night, Bob meets Charlotte and her friends at a strip club, but Bob and Charlotte, uncomfortable with the lurid atmosphere, quickly leave together. After a walk through the city, they return to the hotel, and upon discovering that neither of them can sleep, watch television in Bob’s room. Lying companionably together on the bed, they share their frustrations about their lives, and when Charlotte asks Bob if marriage gets easier as time passes, Bob answers her honestly that it sometimes does not. Charlotte confesses that she has tried both writing and photography but is proficient at neither and feels that she is aimless. Content at being together, the pair finally falls asleep with Charlotte curled up next to Bob. The next day, Charlotte goes alone to Kyoto, where she admires the more traditional Japanese appearance of the countryside and its residents. Meanwhile, Bob agrees to stay in Tokyo in order to be near Charlotte for a few more days, but is deeply depressed after appearing on the ridiculous talk show with its hyperactive host. Bob then receives a call from Lydia, who does not know how to respond when he sadly declares that he feels lost. After watching himself on the show that evening, Bob goes to the lounge and ends up sleeping with the singer. The next morning, Charlotte knocks on Bob’s door and invites him to lunch, but when she hears the singer, becomes upset and leaves. Bob meets Charlotte for lunch anyway, but Charlotte’s feeling of betrayal and Bob’s defensiveness over having hurt her prevent them from enjoying the oddly prepared meal. Late that night, a fire alarm draws them outside, where, hoping to make up, they discuss their lunch. In the lounge, they try not to succumb to their romantic attraction, even though they are both distressed that Bob is returning to the United States in the morning. Finally going upstairs, they give each other a kiss on the cheek before saying good-night. In the morning, Bob is frustrated in his attempt to bid Charlotte a proper farewell by the fawning Suntory executives, who repeatedly ask him to pose for photographs. Unable to break free of the crowd, Bob says an awkward goodbye to Charlotte, then leaves in a car bound for the airport. As he is being driven away, however, Bob glimpses Charlotte walking along the street and asks the chauffeur to stop. Running to Charlotte, Bob finally embraces her. Charlotte also gives in to her feelings and cries as Bob comforts her. After sharing a brief but tender kiss, the couple then says goodbye and smiles fondly at each other before parting. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.