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Jan Schuette To Be Next Dean of AFI Conservatory

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 17, 2014 at 12:00PM

The American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory has a new head: Jan Schuette, formerly the director of the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin since 2010.
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AFI 680

The American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory has a new head: Jan Schuette, formerly the director of the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin since 2010.

Schuette 680

After nine years in the role, AFI's current dean, Robert Mandel, is stepping down to return to directing, as several media outlets reported in December.  During his tenure, Mandel hired several prominent faculty members--including writer/director James L. Brooks, who is now the conservatory's artistic director--and is credited with expanding the institute's career building and alumni efforts.  Mandel will remain on the AFI faculty as a directing instructor.

In addition to Schuette's time at the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin, he has also taught at Harvard, Dartmouth and Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.  As a director and producer, his work has premiered at festivals Cannes, Venice, Locarno, San Sebastian and Toronto and he has served on several festival juries in Cannes and Sundance.

"The AFI Conservatory was born nearly 50 years ago--inspired by the European conservatory model," Bob Gazzale, AFI's president and CEO, said about the appointment in a statement.  "Today it remains unique in that we promise MFA candidates that they will make at least four films in two years.  And so we searched the world for an academic leader who has also made movies – who has lived it.  We are proud to say we found that person in Jan Schuette and look forward to his tenure beginning in the fall."


This article is related to: AFI, James L. Brooks


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.