2019 Admissions Requirements
The AFI Conservatory is searching for next generation filmmakers with individual artistic voices to apply as Fellows to one of the six disciplines in our MFA program. Through impressive contributions to film and television, Fellows at the Conservatory bring to life our mission and vision by serving as artists and leaders in the art of storytelling and influencing culture.
This information will give you the opportunity to learn how to successfully apply to the MFA program, as well as provide instructions on material submissions for the Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design, and Screenwriting disciplines.
BEFORE YOU APPLY...
- Read the FAQ it will provide an answer to many frequently asked questions.
- Learn about tuition, fees, and estimated living expenses by reviewing and understanding the cost of attendance to the Conservatory.
- Prepare these items and documents before you fill out your online application: transcripts, supporting materials, TOEFL or IELTS minimum score (if applicable).
- Review the discipline-specific requirements to prepare for submitting the online application.
- Read the application tips.
- If you anticipate needing tuition assistance, please visit our Scholarships page to learn more about our donor-based scholarship opportunities and qualifying criteria.
- NOTE: All documents should be saved as a PDF, typed, double spaced, listing your name, discipline, and “Fall 2019” at the top of each page--unless otherwise noted.
A qualified AFI Conservatory applicant will have:
- a demonstrated passion for narrative filmmaking;
- a demonstrated desire to collaborate with other artists in a rigorous training environment;
- demonstrated experience and/or an educational background relating to the discipline to which the applicant is applying;
- an appropriate and sound financial plan and resources that will allow the individual to study full-time for the entirety of the program (this plan can include financial aid, loan programs, and/or personal funding);
- the ability to supply requested materials demonstrating skill and experience in the applicant's desired discipline;
- the ability to commit full-time (often seven days a week) to the program;
- a desired age of at least 21 years of age.
2019–2020 Admission Requirements
All applicants for admission to the MFA or Certificate of Completion at the AFI Conservatory must submit the following:
No paper applications will be accepted. Please click here to access the application. A separate application is required if applying to more than one discipline.
Application Fee: $90
Please note that if you choose to apply to more than one discipline, you must pay an additional application fee for each discipline application you choose to submit. Applications cannot be reviewed until you submit all of the required materials, including this fee. You may choose to pay by credit card via PayPal from the online application. Credit cards accepted via PayPal: VISA, MASTERCARD and DISCOVER. We do not accept AMERICAN EXPRESS.
The narrative statement is a very important part of your application for admission. It allows you the opportunity to express your desires to pursue your area of interest as well as explain how the AFI Conservatory will contribute to your goal as a filmmaker.
This document should 1-3 pages in length, double spaced, listing your name, discipline, “Fall 2019” at the top of each page, and saved as a PDF. Please include the following elements:
- Your background.
- Your motivation for applying to the discipline.
- Why AFI Conservatory?
If applying to more than one discipline, each narrative statement should reflect particular thoughts regarding that individual discipline. You must supply a different Narrative Statement for each discipline specific application so that you properly address the required prompt(s). Please note that Directing, Editing, and Screenwriting do not have departmental prompts, so you may craft your Narrative Statement as you wish.
Disciplines with Required Prompt:
Cinematographers, please also briefly discuss what cinematography and/or cinematographers have inspired you, what brings you to study at the AFI Conservatory, and events in your life that may have been transformative.
Producers, please also explain why you are interested in Producing as opposed to another filmmaking discipline.
Production Designers, please also speak to your design process and your thoughts on what collaboration is and its place in that process.
Your résumé should detail your professional work, set experience, education level and degree(s) earned.
TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Please provide the names of two individuals who will provide a recommendation (along with valid e-mail addresses for both) within the online application. The recommenders will be e-mailed a link to an online recommendation form from Applications@AFI.com AFTER you submit your application. Please follow up with your recommenders to ensure they have completed the online recommendations as your application cannot be reviewed without them. We will only accept submissions directly from the recommender. Submissions provided by the applicant will not be considered. No hard copy letters are accepted.
We should receive letters of recommendation within two weeks of your application submission or your application may not be reviewed. Please review hard deadline dates in the deadline section.
*SCREEN AUSTRALIA ONBASS FELLOWSHIP APPLICANTS: The recommenders will be emailed a link to an online recommendation form from Applications@AFI.com AFTER you submit your application. As your application is due October 15, please be mindful of your application submission date. Extensions will be given on a case-by-case basis. Please email Admissions@AFI.com. Refer back to the application instructionsfor details.
Transcripts are required from any school you list on your application regardless if a degree was earned or not. Please keep this in mind when listing schools you attended.
The AFIC Admissions Office prefers to accept official e-transcripts directly from your previous institutions. You may request that your school send the e-transcripts to Applications@AFI.com. Please note, official e-transcripts often include a time sensitive encryption. We recommend you request your school send them digitally to us no more than two weeks before you submit your application.
The AFIC Admissions Office also accepts hard copy original transcripts that can be sent directly to the AFI Conservatory:
2021 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
No digital or hard copy submissions will be returned to the applicant.
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.
We should receive all transcripts within two weeks of your application submission or your application may not be reviewed. Please review hard deadline dates in the deadline section.
*SCREEN AUSTRALIA ONBASS FELLOWSHIP APPLICANTS: Your transcripts are due WITH your application for Admission. Refer back to the application instructions for details.
AFI SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
If you wish to apply for AFI Scholarship funds, you must submit the AFI Conservatory scholarship application with your application for admission. Download and fill out the form, attach the application with all required documents, merge information into one PDF document and upload it to your application.
If you are applying to more than one discipline and wish to be considered for scholarships, you must submit a separate scholarship application and required essays for each application.
AFI Scholarship consideration is open to domestic and international applicants.
*SCREEN AUSTRALIA ONBASS FELLOWSHIP APPLICANTS: Your fellowship essay is due WITH your application for Admission. Refer back to the application instructions for details.
INTERNATIONAL APPLICANT 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 the minimum 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. We should receive qualifying official TOEFL or IELTS scores within two weeks of your application submission.
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 and the distribution of results. For testing information, go to ETS.org or IELTS.org. TOEFL or IELTS tests must be taken within 24 months of the date you apply to the Conservatory.
Please have TOEFL and IELTS submit test results electronically. The AFI Conservatory testing code is 9760.
Scores submitted by the applicant are not official.
International Applicants — click here to learn more.
DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC SUPPORTING MATERIALS/PORTFOLIO REQUIREMENTS
Cinematography applicants are required to submit the following:
- One example of original work that best demonstrates talent, ability and experience as a Cinematographer. The Moving Image submission can be no longer than 20 minutes in length, and you must be the sole Cinematographer on the project. The submission should demonstrate your NARRATIVE ability.
- Complete a "Ten-Sixty" video assignment with the subject of the video being JEALOUSY: 10 shots of video with total duration of 60 seconds. No audio but music is allowed. No signification text, fancy transitions or color effects allowed. This should be a narrative video of 10 images, up to 60 seconds maximum TRT. We are interested in seeing your story-telling skills. Creativity is key and does not have to have large production value, so you may use your cell phone for the project.
Supplemental Submissions (optional):
- A second example of an original work that best demonstrates your talent, ability, and experience as a Cinematographer. The moving image submission can be no longer than 20 minutes in length, and you must be the sole Cinematographer.
- A summary "reel" of up to three minutes
- still photographs provided on a merged PDF* (highly recommended). One image per page. No montages. Your presentation of your images is noticed. Please limit file size to 25mb or smaller.
- A short sample of documentary work you may have done
Submissions will be accepted via YouTube or Vimeo links within the online application; all submissions should include whether or not the project was completed at an educational institution and the format(s)/camera used for each. DO NOT PASSWORD PROTECT THE VIDEO LINKS YOU PROVIDE IN YOUR APPLICATION.
Directing applicants are required to submit the following:
- Submit an example of a moving image project that the applicant has personally directed and that best demonstrates individual talent and ability. The moving image submission should be no longer than 10 minutes in length and should not be a ‘show’ reel. Only work that the applicant has directed (not co-directed) will be considered. The project should be in English or be subtitled in English.
- Direct an original short moving image project for the AFI Conservatory on the topic of “A Change of Heart”. The project should be no longer than 5 minutes in length and can be shot on your cell phone. We are interested in seeing your story-telling skills. Creativity is key here – not production value. The project should be in English or be subtitled in English.
- Describe why and how you made the moving image project in #1 (one page maximum).
- Describe why and how you made the moving image project in #2 (one page maximum).
All essays must be saved as a PDF, typed, double spaced, listing your name, discipline, and fall 2019 at the top of the page.
Submissions will be accepted via a link to YouTube or Vimeo in the online application; DO NOT PASSWORD PROTECT THE VIDEO LINKS YOU PROVIDE IN YOUR APPLICATION. All written statements must be submitted in PDF format within the application. Please include your name, discipline and date on each page of the written statements.
Submit two different examples of original work of which you are the sole editor on that best demonstrates talent and ability. Sample pieces should be no more than 20 minutes per sample and should demonstrate NARRATIVE ability. Only one piece of work per link allowed. No editor reels are accepted.
Submissions will be accepted via YouTube or Vimeo links within the online application. DO NOT PASSWORD PROTECT THE VIDEO LINKS YOU PROVIDE IN YOUR APPLICATION.
Applicants are required to submit:
- Vision Statement—Please submit a 1-2 page statement on a story you would like to create as a feature or TV show. Whether an original idea or an adaptation based on a novel, play, magazine article, current news event, or historical event, please include:
- Articulate the theme(s) that drew you to the story, character details, and style.
- A short list of who you would attach as the director and screenwriter.
- Explain why you want to tell this story and why you think it will appeal to audiences
Supplemental submissions are not required but can include:
- Examples of your creative involvement in projects and your role (one page maximum).
All essays must be saved as a PDF, typed, double spaced, listing your name, discipline, and fall 2019 at the top of the page.
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 Set Decorating ability.
Portfolio materials must be formatted as PDF files at 72ppi. Please limit content to a maximum of 24 pages. There is a file size limitation of 25mb when uploading your portfolio. A link to your personal design website and/or a link to a moving image production featuring the applicant's design work is optional but available via the application.
Screenwriting applicants are required to submit the following:
- 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-page 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, 2019-2020 SCR, and e-mail address.
- Write a scene on the topic of "Then Everything Changed" (five pages maximum); please include not only the scene but a synopsis of the scene for reference purposes.
APPLICATION DEADLINES 2019
Online applications and portfolio requirements must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on the designated dates below.
December 2, 2018:
Directing, Screenwriting, Producing
Please be advised that letters of recommendation, transcripts, and/or TOEFL/IETLS scores (if applicable) MUST be received by Thursday, December 13 in order for your application to be reviewed.
January 15, 2019:
Cinematography, Editing, Production Design
Please be advised that letters of recommendation, transcripts, and/or TOEFL/IETLS scores (if applicable) MUST be received by Thursday, January 31 in order for your application to be considered.
*These disciplines have priority deadlines for scholarship consideration. Only those applications received by the deadline above will be considered for AFI Scholarship funding. Applications for admission, however, may be accepted after the priority deadline date but will not be considered for scholarship. We do encourage all applicants to apply early to each program. Any additional hard deadlines will be posted after priority deadline has passed.
REVIEW and INTERVIEW PROCESS
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 if a candidate will be invited to participate in an interview.
Interviews for all disciplines take place on campus or via Skype.
Due to the high volume of applications that are processed, the Admissions Office does not provide application status updates. All decisions will be communicated via email on the pre-determined notification dates.
The review and interview process will determine acceptance.
Please note, communication from the Admissions Office during this phase will come from Applications@AFI.com or a staff email address from the domain AFI.com. Please ensure your email settings allow for AFI.com emails and check your spam folder as well to ensure you receive all important communications.
Applicants will be notified of their status via e-mail on the discipline designated notification date. If an applicant applies for an AFI scholarship, the applicant will be notified within their acceptance letter if they receive an AFI scholarship.
March 15, 2019:
Directing, Screenwriting, Producing
April 15, 2019:
Cinematography, Editing*, Production Design*
*Editing and Production Design applicants may be notified earlier of their final admissions status if the applicant applies earlier than the priority deadline. Applicants may also be notified later if they apply after the priority deadline.
*SCREEN AUSTRALIA ONBASS FELLOWSHIP APPLICANTS: Your notification deadline is listed on the fellowship page.
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.