The American Film Institute today announced that Jan Schuette will depart as Dean of the AFI Conservatory at the end of the academic year. Schuette, who will have led AFI’s prestigious film school for three years, informed AFI this week that he intends to continue his work in academia and also resume his professional work as a filmmaker and producer.
“It has been a distinct honor to serve as Dean of one of the world’s great film schools,” said Schuette. “When AFI invited me to take this role, its directive was to build upon its proud past and plant the seeds of growth for the future. Like filmmaking itself, these years have been both challenging and rewarding. I’m proud to say that many of these goals have been accomplished, and it’s the right time to turn the work over to a new Dean who will take the Conservatory forward. I care deeply about the Fellows and plan to continue my work in academia, which I love, while also resuming my career making films. Through commencement next June, my focus will remain on achieving another successful academic year and ensuring a smooth transition to the future.”
AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said, “Jan’s devotion to the high standards of AFI will ensure the Conservatory remains a foremost training ground for the artists of tomorrow. In Jan, as is the spirit in the halls at AFI, our Fellows have been led by an artist who has lived it — who has been on the set and told the stories. We deeply appreciate his contributions and respect that he feels this is the right moment to pass the mantle of leadership to a new Dean and pursue the next steps in his own academic career, as well as his passion for filmmaking. We thank him for his commitment to the Fellows as well as championing essential issues like diversity, recruitment and ensuring the Conservatory evolves and changes as film does.”
An award-winning director, Schuette’s films have screened at the Cannes, Venice, San Sebastian, Toronto and Sundance ﬁlm festivals. In 2002, he was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival, along with Martin Scorsese, Abbas Kiarostami and Tilda Swinton. As an academic, Schuette designed and founded three highly successful post-graduate film training programs in Europe. Prior to becoming Dean of the AFI Conservatory, Schuette was the Director of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin and taught at Harvard and Dartmouth Universities. He has also been a professor at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and is currently a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin and the European Film Academy.