The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that Ray Barry, director of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, will retire this month after nearly 50 years at AFI. Todd Hitchcock, the director of programming and associate director of the Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, has been named as Barry’s replacement. Barry has been a fixture at AFI for nearly 50 years, serving as the director of the AFI Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center, and later spearheading AFI’s initiative to restore the historic Silver Theatre and transform it into a state-of-the-art center for the moving image. He was also instrumental in the launch of many of AFI’s national programs over the years, including AFI Fest in Los Angeles and the AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival, the annual AFI European Union Film Showcase and AFI Latin American Film Festival in Washington, DC, as well as having developed a wide variety of special exhibition projects for presentation both in the United States and overseas.
As director of programming at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, Todd Hitchcock has overseen numerous international film festivals, retrospectives, first-run engagements and special events, including planning, programming and producing the AFI Latin American Film Festival, the AFI European Union Film Showcase, and the New African Film Festival, and classics in Noir City DC (co-presented with Eddie Muller’s Film Noir Foundation) and the Silent Cinema Showcase. Hitchcock began his career at AFI in 2003 working on the inaugural edition of Silverdocs before joining AFI Silver’s year-round programming team, and has also served as the Silver’s associate theatre director for the past ten years.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have Ray as a long-time leader in the AFI family. He has worn many hats over his nearly 50 years at AFI – from the earliest days of the AFI Theater in the Kennedy Center to the director of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. His impact on AFI and the national film community is immeasurable, as is his long-standing dedication to the magic of movies,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to building on Ray’s legacy with Todd Hitchcock, who brings a wealth of experience and world-class film programming to this new role.”
“It has been a great privilege to work for so many years in a career devoted to bringing the best in American and world cinema to the screen. And for the past 20 years to do this work at an historic theater that is so deeply anchored in the fabric of its community as the AFI Silver, has been the experience of a lifetime,” said Ray Barry. “Together with so many exceptional friends and colleagues, we’ve had the privilege of educating and entertaining millions of people, and I look forward to seeing the many great things to come for AFI Silver under the leadership of Todd Hitchcock.”
“Ray Barry has guided AFI Silver to great heights over these past 20 years, including navigating us through the many challenges of the pandemic,” said Todd Hitchcock. “It’s been a pleasure to learn from and work with him over these years, and I’m sincerely honored to be continuing along the path he blazed as we pursue the next chapter for our theater and our dedicated moviegoing audiences.”