The American Film Institute (AFI) was founded in 1967 as a national arts organization to preserve the legacy of American film heritage and honor the artists and their work. AFI educates the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned Conservatory offering a Master of Fine Arts Program (MFA).

The two-year MFA program provides training in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Mirroring a professional production environment, Fellows collaborate to make more films than any other graduate level program. Admission to AFI Conservatory is highly selective, with a maximum of only 140 graduates per year. Professional faculty member work closely with the AFI fellows through the time honored relationship of master and apprentice.

In the 2nd year of the MFA, students team to create a thesis, a short narrative film. Past thesis films have garnered numerous prestigious awards including the Student Oscar. Traditionally AFI Thesis Films are instrumental in launching Fellow’s careers in film.

AFI Alumni have won at the Academy Awards (Wally Pfister, INCEPTION, cinematography class 1988), Emmy Awards (Dante Di Loreto, TEMPLE GRANDIN, producing class 1991), Tony Awards (Anne Garefino, "The Book of Mormon," producing class 1988) and the Grand Prizes at the Cannes Film Festival (Terrence Malick, TREE OF LIFE, directing class 1969) and Sundance Film Festival (Drake Doremus, LIKE CRAZY, directing class 2005).

Visit the American Film Institute Website.


  • David Lynch (Dir.)Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Dune
  • Terrence Malick (Dir.)Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life
  • Darren Aronofsky (Dir.)Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan
  • Steve Golin (Pro.)Babel, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine
  • Dana Lustig (Pro.)Brick, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, Kill Me Later
  • Wally Pfister (Cin.)Inception, The Prestige, Memento, Batman Begins
  • Robert Richardson (Cin.)Kill Bill, The Aviator, Inglorious Basterds
  • Janusz Kaminski (Cin.)Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Munich
  • Steven Rosenblum (Edit.)Braveheart, X-Men, Blood Diamond, Defiance
  • Victor Du Bois (Edit.)The Last Samurai, Profiler, Roswell
  • Susannah Grant (Scr.)Erin Brockovich, Unfaithful, Everafter, 28 Days
  • Paul Shrader (Scr.)Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Bringing Out The Dead
  • Todd Cherniawsky (Des.)Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Armageddon
  • Joe Garrity (Des.)Sunshine Cleaning, Waiting for Guffman, My Girl