Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg
Delivers Opening Day Remarks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Monday, August 19, 2019, Los Angeles, CA — AFI CEO & President Bob Gazzale and AFI Conservatory Dean Susan Ruskin welcomed the incoming class to campus today, admitting 137 First Year Fellows to their two-year filmmaker training. The Conservatory is commemorating the 50th anniversary since it first opened its doors on September 23, 1969, with an inaugural class that included master filmmakers Caleb Deschanel, Terrence Malick and Paul Schrader. Recent alumni include Patty Jenkins (Class of 2000), Darren Aronofsky (Class of 1992), Rachel Morrison (Class of 2006) and Melina Matsoukas (Class of 2005). 52% of all first and second year AFI Fellows are female filmmakers.
On Opening Day, Ruskin, whose leadership ushers in a new era at the Conservatory, greeted the first year Fellows with words of inspiration and encouragement. “On the Conservatory’s 50th anniversary, it is an honor to be a part of the impassioned AFI community,” said Ruskin, “and to join a longstanding tradition of supporting and galvanizing future filmmakers. There is no more important time than right now to attend to diverse voices and dynamic visions as they will shape the future of storytelling in an ever-evolving industry.”
In honor of the occasion, Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg addressed the incoming AFI Conservatory Fellows and shared his insights and expertise during a Q & A that gave Fellows the opportunity to learn from and engage with the innovator. After sharing with the audience how his goal throughout his career has always been to exceed expectations, Katzenberg said, “Think about this amazing opportunity that you’ve been offered…To be here is to be given the resources, the tools, the access and the best possible coaches. Your job is to exceed expectations, and, when you do it, there’s going to be an enormous reward for you.” As the first year Fellows embark on a rigorous start to their education, the Conservatory — with its renowned faculty and acclaimed alumni — continues to cultivate the next generation of film leaders, just as it set out to do 50 years ago.
About the AFI Conservatory Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the AFI Conservatory opened its doors in 1969 to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Today, the Conservatory offers a two-year MFA degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. In a collaborative production environment, AFI Fellows learn to master the art of storytelling, collectively creating up to 175 films a year. Fellows actively participate in the entire life cycle of a film, from development through production and exhibition.
Alumni of this elite program, ranging from modern masters to bold new voices defining the state of the art form, include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Sam Esmail, Brad Falchuk, Liz Hannah, Patty Jenkins, Janusz KamiÅ„ski, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas, Polly Morgan, Rachel Morrison and Wally Pfister, among others.
About the American Film Institute (AFI) Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com, and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/AmericanFilm and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.