The AFI Conservatory is always looking for the most talented applicants with unique voices from all backgrounds and walks of life who want to make the moving image their life's work.


The following profile describes desired qualities of AFI Conservatory graduate applicants:

  • a demonstrated passion for narrative filmmaking;
  • a demonstrated desire to collaborate with other artists in a rigorous training environment;
  • a demonstrated experience and/or educational background relating to the discipline to which the applicant is applying;
  • an adequate and sound financial plan and resources, either through loan programs or personal funding, to study full-time for the entirety of the program;
  • the ability to supply portfolio (submission) materials conveying skill and experience in the applicant's desired discipline;
  • the ability to commit full-time (often seven days a week) to the program;
  • all applicants are expected to be at least 21 years of age.

2015–2016 Admission Requirements

All applicants for admission to the MFA or Certificate of Completion track at the AFI Conservatory must submit the following:

ONLINE APPLICATION — no paper applications will be accepted.

APPLICATION FEE (non-refundable): $85 — this must be paid in order for the application to be reviewed. No application waivers. You will be asked to pay by credit card via PayPal from the online application. VISA, MASTERCARD and AMERICAN EXPRESS only.

NARRATIVE STATEMENT: (saved as a PDF, typed, double-spaced, five pages maximum, listing your name and discipline at the top of the page) to include the following elements:

  1. a two-to-three-paragraph autobiographical sketch giving a sense of the applicant's background and the world from which he or she draws inspiration and motivation;
  2. detail of the applicant's personal philosophy regarding their chosen discipline;
  3. description of the applicant's personal goals in applying to the AFI Conservatory

This statement should be focused and a thoughtful, mature demonstration of the applicant's personal thinking.

If applying to more than one discipline, each narrative statement should reflect particular thoughts regarding that individual discipline. Please do NOT use the same statement for applications in different disciplines; instead, create narrative statements that address each discipline specifically.

Production Designers, the narrative statement should speak to your design process and your thoughts on what collaboration is and it's place in that process.

RÉSUMÉ: Your résumé should detail your professional work and education to date.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (two minimum/four maximum): Applicant will provide recommender's name and e-mail address in the online application. The recommender will be e-mailed a link to an online recommendation form from AFTER the applicant submits the application. Please follow up with your recommenders to ensure they have completed the online recommendation, as your application cannot be reviewed without the minimum two completed recommendations. No hard copy letters are accepted.

TRANSCRIPTS: Please request original transcripts from all colleges/universities attended be sent directly to the AFI Conservatory:

Attn: Admissions
AFI Conservatory
2021 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

If you choose to collect your transcripts to mail to the AFI Conservatory, please be sure all transcripts remain unopened and under their original seal.

For international applicants: all credentials and transcripts must include an original (no copies) plus an official English translation (if applicable). The Registrar determines final evaluation of applicants' records.

SUBMISSION AGREEMENT: Please download, print, sign, scan and save as PDF. Label PDF: Discipline Applying To_Last Name_First Name_SA (for example: SCR_SMITH_FRED_SA).

You will be asked to upload the signed Submission Agreement to the application.

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS REQUIREMENTS: International applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score if English is not the applicant's native language. Applications will not be reviewed without a qualifying TOEFL or IELTS score. No exceptions.

We recommend International applicants take the TOEFL or IELTS (not IETLS) prior to submitting their application and report the qualifying minimum scores.

The minimum TOEFL score requirement is 100 Internet-based score (IBT), 250 computer-based (CBT) or 600 paper-based (PBT). The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0. Please allow appropriate time for test scheduling. For testing information, go to or TOEFL or IELTS tests must be taken within 24 months of date of applying for the Conservatory.

Please have TOEFL and IELTS submit test results electronically. The AFI Conservatory testing code is 9760.

Scores submitted by the applicant will not be deemed official.

International Applicants — click here to learn more.



CINEMATOGRAPHY: Submit UP TO two different examples of original work that best demonstrate talent, ability and experience as a Cinematographer. Each moving image submission can be no longer than 20 minutes in length (i.e., 40 minutes maximum for both samples). Submit only moving image submissions on which you were the sole Cinematographer. Submissions should demonstrate NARRATIVE ability. All submissions should include whether the submission was completed at an educational institution and the format(s)/camera used for each submission. NO DVD submissions are accepted, only links through Vimeo Plus. Please refer to Vimeo Plus membership.

Supplemental submissions are not required but can include:

  1. a summary "reel" of up to three minutes — through Vimeo Plus;
  2. still photographs and/or slides.

For all supplemental submissions, e-mail summary reel links and photographs and/or slides to with the subject line "SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS" and label each submitted item with your FIRST NAME, LAST NAME and DISCIPLINE and YEAR APPLYING.

DIRECTING: Submit up to two different examples of moving image projects that the applicant has personally directed that best demonstrate individual talent and ability. Each moving image submission can be no longer than 20 minutes in length (i.e., 40 minutes maximum for both samples). Only work that the applicant has directed (not co-directed) will be considered. At least one of the examples should be in the form of a narrative.

Submissions are accepted via a link to YouTube or Vimeo in the online application. We recommend that you do not password-protect your samples to ensure the Admissions Committee access. Examples should either be in English or be subtitled in English.

EDITING: Submit two different examples of original work that best demonstrate talent and ability. Sample pieces of no more than 20 minutes are required (i.e., 40 minutes maximum for both samples); no editor reels will be accepted.

Submissions will be accepted via a link to YouTube or Vimeo in the online application. We recommend that you do not password protect your samples to ensure the Admissions Committee access.

PRODUCING: The most important pieces of the producing application are the résumé, letters of recommendation and narrative statement. Within the statement, producing applicants must explain why they are interested in producing, as opposed to another filmmaking discipline.

Applicants may submit a PDF of treatments or screenplays (20 pages maximum) that they feel display their narrative talent.

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Submit samples of work that demonstrate evidence of the applicant's design process which should include all or a majority of the following skills: Architectural, Theater or Industrial design hand drafting, computer drafting (Vector Works, CAD, SketchUp), hand and computer model-making skills, perspective, sketching and life-drawing ability, set and prop construction experience and graphic design (Photoshop and Illustrator) and Interior Design ability.

A traditional portfolio is strongly preferred (quality photocopies only, no original work.) Submissions can also be presented on a flash drive or CD/DVD or BluRay. Supplemental submission materials can include any moving image production featuring the applicant's design work (please identify the exact role in each production — i.e. production designer or art director) as part of submission.

If a moving image is submitted, it must be Region 1 on DVD, regardless of the original format or on BluRay. All material must be NTSC formatted; no PAL format will be accepted. Provide two copies of DVD, BluRay, CD and/or data disc submissions. Label all discs with your full name, discipline and year for which you are applying — for example: Jane Smith DES 2015-16 Portfolio.

Send submissions to: Attn: Admissions, AFI Conservatory, 2021 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

SCREENWRITING: Submit a PDF of a typed screenplay or script (20 pages maximum) of which you are the sole screenwriter. If the sample is from a longer script, submit a descriptive one-paragraph synopsis of the entire script for reference purposes. Co-authored and adaptations will not be considered. Be sure to include a title page with your name, 2015-16 SCR and e-mail. The PDF will be uploaded to the online application. Please label your PDF: Discipline applying to_Last Name_First Name (for example: SCR_SMITH_FRED).


As of December 8, CINEMATOGRAPHY is now on rolling admissions! Applicants who applied by December 1 will be reviewed and notified first.

December 1, 2014 – Directing and Screenwriting.

For Directing and Screenwriting, the online application must be completed by December 1, 2014. All materials not submitted online (transcripts, TOEFL/IELTS scores and letters of recommendation) can be received prior to the December 1, 2014 deadline or after. It is best to have all outside materials follow shortly after completing the online application.

Rolling Admissions schedule – Cinematography (beginning December 8), Editing, Producing and Production Design.

All completed applications and all supporting materials will be accepted until the class is full. Applications completed earlier have a better chance to be considered for a position in the class and the possibility of scholarships.

June 1, 2015 – Final deadline for Cinematography, Editing, Producing and Production Design.

No applications will be accepted after June 1, 2015 in order to allow sufficient time for review, interview and notification.

The Fall term begins in August.

Please check for updates.


Cinematography (for applicants who applied by December 1)
April 1, 2015
March 13, 2015
March 13, 2015

Rolling admissions notifications will be approximately three months after receipt of application or by June 1, 2015 for the following disciplines:

Cinematography (for applicants who applied after December 1)
Production Design


The applicant's completed application, narrative statement, resume, letters of recommendation, transcripts (if applicable) along with the other required Admissions materials will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee to determine an interview.

Interviews will be conducted either in-person, or Skype (no phone interviews).

The review and interview process will determine acceptance.

Applicants will be notified of their status via e-mail on the discipline designated notification date.

The Admissions Committee does not provide individual critiques of any applicant's work. The decisions of the Admissions Committee are final and not subject to appeal. Individuals who are denied admission to a program of study are not entitled access to materials relating to the denied application. As the review process is quite extensive, please do not call the Admissions Office regarding status. If an application is reviewed positively, the applicant will be contacted for a requisite personal interview. If reviewers have any questions regarding application or materials submitted, the applicant will be contacted.

If you have any questions about the application or the requirements, please contact the admissions office at 323.856.7628 or