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 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;
  • a desired age of at least 21 years of age.

2017–2018 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.


(non-refundable): $90 — this must be paid in order for the application to be reviewed. No fee waivers. You will be asked to pay by credit card via PayPal from the online application. VISA, MASTERCARD and DISCOVER as well as PayPal. We do not accept AMERICAN EXPRESS.


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

  1. Your background (1 page)
  2. Your motivation for applying to the discipline (1 page)
  3. A personal statement (1 page)

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 its place in that process.

Cinematographers, in your narrative statement, please briefly discuss the history of cinema or cinematography and what brings you to study at AFI.


Your résumé should detail your professional work, set experience and education to date.


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 [email protected] 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 two completed recommendations. No hard copy letters are accepted.


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

No 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.


If you wish to apply for AFI Scholarship funds, you must submit the AFI Conservatory scholarship application. Download the pdf application, complete it and the required essay(s), and you will be asked to upload it within the online application. Please merge the scholarship application and required essays into one PDF when uploading it with your application. A separate scholarship application is required per application.


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 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.



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. DO NOT PASSWORD PROTECT THE VIDEO LINKS YOU PROVIDE IN YOUR APPLICATION.

Supplemental submissions are not required but can include:

  1. a summary "reel" of up to three minutes;
  2. still photographs provided on a merged pdf.


Directing applicants must submit:

  1. Submit an example of a moving image project that the applicant has personally directed that best demonstrates individual talent and ability. The moving image submission can be no longer than 15 minutes in length and should not be a show reel. Only work that the applicant has directed (not co-directed) will be considered. Examples should be in English or be subtitled in English.
  2. Write and direct a scene on the topic of "A Visitor". You must write and direct this scene; you may use an outside cinematographer if desired. The only requirement is that it be on the topic of "A Visitor", is a work of fiction and be a maximum of 5 minutes.
  3. Submit a summary of the moving image project in #1 that describes the circumstances, resources and collaboration involved in the filmmaking (one page maximum).
  4. Submit a summary of the scene in #2 and a synopsis of the choices that you made in producing it as well as who contributed to it (two page maximum).
  5. Submit a one-page essay on the topic of discovery.

All work samples must be online and the URL must be provided within the 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


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. DO NOT PASSWORD PROTECT THE VIDEO LINKS YOU PROVIDE IN YOUR APPLICATION.


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

Applicants are required to submit an essay on a producer who inspires them and why (one page maximum).

Applicants may submit a PDF of a treatment or a screenplay (maximum of 20 pages) of which you are the sole writer that you feel displays your narrative talent.


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 and please limit content to a maximum of 24 pages. 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. And hard copy submissions may be sent to: Attn: Admissions, AFI Conservatory, 2021 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027.


Screenwriting applicants must submit:

  1. 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, 2017-2018 SCR, and e-mail address.
  2. Write a scene on the topic of "What Went Wrong" (five pages maximum); please include not only the scene but a synopsis of the scene for reference purposes.



Directing has a hard deadline of 11:59 p.m. PST on December 1, 2016. Screenwriting has been extended to January 5, 2017.

December 1, 2016:


January 5, 2017 (extended): Screenwriting*

*The Screenwriting application has been extended to January 5, 2017. Online applications and discipline specific supporting materials must be received by 5 pm PST on January 5 in order to be considered for admission. **Please note due to the extended deadline and early notification date, we must receive transcripts, letters of recommendation, and/or TOEFL/IELTS scores by January 19, 2017 for your application to be complete.

The following disciplines have priority deadlines for scholarship consideration. Only those applications received by the priority deadlines below will be considered for AFI Scholarship funding. Applications for admission, however, may be accepted after the priority deadline date but not considered for scholarship.

February 1, 2017: Cinematography*

*The Cinematography application will close on March 1, 2017. Online applications and discipline specific supporting materials must be received by 5 pm PST on March 1 in order to be considered for admission. **Please note due to the early notification date, we must receive transcripts, letters of recommendation, and/or TOEFL/IELTS scores by March 9, 2017 for your application to be complete and considered for admissions.

April 1, 2017: Producing
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 for Directing will be conducted in-person on the AFI campus. Interviews for all other disciplines are highly encouraged to be on the AFI campus but may be available via Skype.

The review and interview process will determine acceptance.

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

Directing and Screenwriting applicants will be notified of their final admissions status in early April. For Cinematography, Editing, Producing, and Production Design applicants who apply by the priority scholarship deadline, applicants will be notified of their final admissions status in early May. All others will be notified on a rolling admissions basis.

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 [email protected].