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.
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."