FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 17, 2014 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the appointment of director, producer and academic leader Jan Schuette as the new Dean of the AFI Conservatory. Concluding a global search to lead the world-renowned program into the future, Schuette comes from the German Film and Television Academy,  Berlin, the production-based conservatory where he has served as Director since 2010.

"The AFI Conservatory was born nearly 50 years ago – inspired by the European conservatory model," said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. "Today it remains unique in that we promise MFA candidates that they will make at least four films in two years. And so we searched the world for an academic leader who has also made movies – who has lived it. We are proud to say we found that person in Jan Schuette and look forward to his tenure beginning in the fall."

"To serve as the Dean of the AFI Conservatory, one of the top film schools in the world, is a huge honor and an enormous challenge at the same time" stated Schuette. "I am delighted about the opportunity to continue my work on a new level and look forward to this next chapter of my life in film."

Schuette’s background also includes tenures at Harvard University and Dartmouth College, in addition to teachings at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg where he established the internationally recognized master class program Atelier Ludwigsburg Paris.

Schuette is an international filmmaker whose work as a director and producer spans over three decades. Schuette’s films have premiered in Cannes, Venice, Locarno, San Sebastian and Toronto, and have won numerous national and international awards. Schuette has served on prestigious festival juries, including the Cinéfondation Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and the International Drama Jury at the Sundance Film Festival. Schuette is a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin Brandenburg and of the European Film Academy. He studied Literature, Philosophy and Art History in Hamburg, Tübingen, and Zürich.

As previously announced, current AFI Conservatory Dean Robert Mandel is stepping down after nine years in the role. He will continue to be involved with the AFI Conservatory as a member of the Directing discipline staff, while also returning to directing in the entertainment community.

About the AFI Conservatory
The American Film Institute is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. AFI Conservatory’s alumni have been consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards – Academy® Awards, Emmy® Awards, Guild Awards – and even the Tony® Award. Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks serves as Artistic Director of the AFI Conservatory where he provides creative leadership for the elite film program. Sony is a proud supporter of the AFI Conservatory.