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.

2018–2019 Admission Requirements

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


No paper applications will be accepted. Click here to apply.


(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
  2. Your motivation for applying to the discipline
  3. A personal statement

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. You may blend your narrative into one cohesive statement OR address each part separately.

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 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.

The Admissions office also accepts official e-transcripts via the colleges/universities. You may request that your school send the e-transcripts to Please note, official e-transcripts often have time sensitive encryption on them. We recommend you request your school send them digitally to us AFTER you have submitted your completed application. Please refrain from sending official e-transcripts to our Admissions office before you submit your application.

We should receive all transcripts within two weeks of your application submission.


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. AFI Scholarship consideration is open to domestic and international applicants, and your essay reasoning must be strategic and clear. If you are a domestic applicant and eligible for federal financial aid, do not soley use the reasoning to keep your debt low as your statement.


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. 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. 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.



Cinematography applicants are required to submit the following:

  1. Submit 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 submission. The submission should demonstrate NARRATIVE ability.
  2. Complete a "Ten-Sixty" video assignment with the subject of the video being "Curiosity."" This should be a narrative video of 10 images, up to 60 seconds maximum TRT. Think cell-phone video for this project; we are interested in seeing your story-telling skills. We do not want you to spend much money or time on this assignment.

Supplemental submissions are not required but can include:

  1. 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.
  2. a summary "reel" of up to three minutes
  3. still photographs provided on a merged PDF* (highly recommended)
  4. A short sample of documentary work you may have done

Submissions will be accepted via a link to YouTube or Vimeo in the online application; all submissions should include whether the submission 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:

  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. The project should be in English or be subtitled in English.
  2. Write and direct, for the application, a short moving image project on the topic of "A Discovery". The project should be a work of fiction, and no longer than 5 minutes in length. You must write and direct the project, and you may use an outside production team, if desired. The project should be in English or be subtitled in English.
  3. Describe why and how you made the moving image project in #1 (one page maximum).
  4. Describe why and how you made the moving image project in #2 (one page maximum).

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. No editor reels are 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.


Applicants are required to submit an essay on a producer who inspires them and why (one page maximum). Please include your name, discipline and date on the essay.

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.

Supplemental submissions are not required but can include:

  1. 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. 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:

  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, 2018-2019 SCR, and e-mail address.
  2. Write a scene on the topic of "One False Move" (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 November 30, 2017.

November 30, 2017: Directing

Screenwriting has extended its deadline to Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. PST. Please be advised that letters of recommendation, transcripts, and/or TOEFL/IETLS scores (if applicable) MUST be received by Tuesday, January 16 in order for your application to be reviewed.

January 2, 2018: Screenwriting

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. We do encourage all applicants to apply early to each program. Any hard deadlines will be posted after priority deadline has passed.

February 1, 2018: Cinematography, Editing, Producing, Production Design

The Cinematography and Producing applications will close for consideration on Sunday, April 15 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Please be advised that letters of recommendation, transcripts, and/or qualifying TOEFL/IELTS scores (if applicable) MUST be received by Sunday, April 29 in order for your application to be reviewed. There will be no extensions.


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 all disciplines are highly encouraged to be on the AFI campus but may be available via Skype.

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.

The review and interview process will determine acceptance.


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.

April 2, 2018: Directing, Screenwriting
May 1, 2018: Cinematography, Editing*, Producing*, Production Design*

*Producing 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.

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.

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