|Type||Private not-for-profit school'|
|Religious affiliation||American Film Institute|
|Location||Los Angeles, California|
|Campus||Urban, 340 acres (140 ha)|
AFI Conservatory is a five-term Master of Fine Arts program in six disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design, and Screenwriting. Traditionally, the Conservatory accepts 28 students - called Fellows - per year for most disciplines and 14 for Design and Editing.
First Year - Fellows from all disciplines work on at least three digital video or high definition short films (up to 20 minutes), appropriately referred to as 'cycle projects'. Each of these first-year projects are accomplished by the fellows with a minimum of oversight from the senior faculty. The purported goal being to stimulate a flexible and creative approach to filmmaking within imposed budgetary constraints and without the crutch of seasoned oversight. These 'cycle projects' make up the core curriculum of the first year experience and amount to a 'boot camp" of filmmaking that simultaneously challenges and invigorates the fellows involved.
Second Year - Most fellows work on at least one thesis short film, shot on digital video, high definition, 35mm film, or 16mm film, and develop portfolio materials (such as a reel and a feature film screenplay). Screenwriting fellows have the option of writing two feature length screenplays instead of participating in a thesis film. They are responsible for raising the bulk of their own financing for these projects (average budget is $30,000), and must adhere to standard industry regulations, such as SAG charter rules, during filming. The senior faculty of the conservatory oversee the development of the 'second year' projects and monitor their development in a manner similar to what might be expected of an Executive Producer.
The program has graduated 3,000 fellows. Alumni include: John Cassavetes, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Todd Field, Carl Franklin, Paul Schrader, Victor Nuñez, Andrea Arnold, Patty Jenkins, Robert Elswit, Janusz Kamiński, Wally Pfister, Caleb Deschanel, Robert Richardson, Carl Colpaert, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Brest, John Dahl, Bill Duke, Amy Heckerling, Mimi Leder, Matthew Libatique, Patrick Creadon, John McTiernan, Edward Zwick, Arthur Dong, Scott Frank, Susannah Grant, Jeff Nathanson, Elizabeth Sung, Alon Bar, Chris Donahue, Eric Red, and Rob Schmidt.
- "Top Film School Ranking". Good University Ranking Guide.
- "American Film Institute Conservatory". AFI.
- "American Film Institute Conservatory Alumni". AFI.