AFI App for Fall 2009


Hey everyone,
I've been reading through many of these threads, but I wanted one that was AFI specific. I'm applying to the directing discipline for next year. This is to anyone who is applying to AFI for next year, or already a student there.

The narrative statement application says they want a maximum of 5 pages... does that mean they want 5 or less? Also, they want to see film work, but no more than 20 minutes. I have two films that I really want to include, one that is still being finished. Is it okay to show selects for one of the films?

I'm finishing up my senior year at Columbia College in Chicago (where my experience has not been so good, and a lot of money has been wasted). I am certain I want to pursue my career as a director, but I'm only 22. I don't want to take any time off, will this hurt me in applying? How old is everyone that's applying/already a student?

Thanks for any help!


Well-Known Member
Based on my application experience in 2006-2007 (got in as a screenwriter), my roommate's experience as an first year editing fellow right now, and what I've learned on these boards, I will answer your questions, but don't take it as gospel:

Maximum of five pages means five pages or less. The maximum is five pages.

Selects are okay on just about any reel, but make sure they don't have any "complete film" rule, which they would likely state explicitly...just make sure it's a complete scene or sequence.

AFI puts a lot of weight on life experience. You should convey it in your application documents. If they decide you don't have enough experiences to draw stories from, they might reject you. I'd say that means you either need to go get some, or you wrote about the wrong experiences, lol. There was someone on this site last year who was told at her interview, I believe, that she needed more, an she was rejected. However, they do take students in their earlier twenties, and my roommate says her youngest classmate is a 22 year old directing fellow.

Their minimum is 21, I know that.

Anyway, I wouldn't let that stop you from applying!

Best of luck!
I am a first year producing fellow and can tell you that a lot of this year's directing class is very young. There are a couple of 21-22 year olds, many around 23-24, and definitely some older folks. It's pretty well rounded but I was surprised to see so many younger directors. Still, my best experience so far has been with a director who is 23. Age seems to be arbitrary as it relates to talent. Really go for it in your application and include films that you feel most strongly represent your skill and potential as a filmmaker.


Thanks guys!

I sent my application off a few days ago, and now all I can do is hope.
Anyone else on here apply to the directing discipline at AFI?


Hey JM,

I also applied to AFI this fall, but for Screenwriting. I feel your pain on that narrative statement. I had to keep cutting and adding for other schools that wanted 6 or 3 page statements.

Hopefully I'll see ya there next fall, 'representin the Chi' so to speak.

Bandar Albuliwi

Active Member
Hey guys,

I'm a first year Directing fellow @ AFI. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

There is nothing to be nervous about. Be yourselves, and it will shine through on your application. Try to send in whole pieces of work (Narrative), rather than individual scenes.

Also, my personal statement was 3 pages. Just be honest, and rather than tell them how much you want to go to AFI, talk about your experiences growing up and how that led you to want to become a filmmaker.

All the best,



Well good luck to everyone! It's such a nerve wrecking process.

Bandar- do you know when they usually let people know if they are getting a phone interview? Can you tell me a little about how yours went?


Bandar Albuliwi

Active Member

I believe I received my phone call notifying me of an interview sometime in February/March. And I received the acceptance in April/May?

They hold interviews both on the East Coast / West Coast, depending on where you live. Last year one was held in New York City at a hotel and the other at the AFI Campus in Los Angeles.
Since you're from Chicago I believe you would opt for the New York City interview location?

Interview is pretty basic. You just talk about movies you like and all that good stuff. Favorite directors, etc... I think the whole point of the interview is to see how you are under pressure. So my advice to you is to be calm, normal and yourself.

Don't over think it. Just treat it as a normal conversation between two/three people. Try not to think about it as an interview for graduate school. Hope that makes sense?




That's a lot of good advice. Thanks for giving me all this good info.

I was under the impression that you could have a phone interview. Do you know if it makes much of a difference either way? I could probably make it to NY, but it would be much cheaper for me over the phone. Looking back at some old posts, it seems like most people do the in person interview.

Maybe I'm getting too ahead of myself.


Well-Known Member
I wasn't offered a phone interview, it was just "we'll see you at the Silver Spring facility." I applied as a screenwriter, and met a directing and a producing applicant in the waiting room. We all interviewed with the same two people.

My roommate also wasn't offered a phone interview, it was just "we'll see you at our campus in Los Feliz." She applied as an editor, and she interviewed with the two from editing faculty.

Another classmate of ours interviewed in LA, applied as a producer...I have no idea with whom.

None of us asked about a phone interview...I think we were all probably too scared!! I know I was...and they only gave me five days notice! ;-)

I think maybe they look at their selection of candidates chosen to interview, and their current locations and disciplines determine where they hold east coast interviews, if at all.

PS...we all were in Cleveland.
Yeah guys, I am also in the boat and applied for Directing 2009 :) Let´s hope the best for all of us!!
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Well, I'm glad I'm on here the. I had no idea about traveling, but now I'll be prepared.

For everyone applying this semester: we should keep each other updated on here! I just received my confirmation postcard that they received my application today. I'm starting to get more nervous!

Directors- what was in your supporting materials and what did you write about in your essay? Maybe if we talk about it I'll be less anxious? Or maybe more? haha.

Also, where else did you guys apply and where did you go for undergrad?


Oh funny, I'm from Germany also! When did you movie here? I wrote a lot about coming to the U.S. and adapting to it, etc, etc. I also told the whole thing more like a story.

I only applied to AFI. If I don't get in, I don't plan on going to grad school. Originally I applied just to see what would happen, but the more I researched the school, the more I wanted to go. We'll see.

I submitted a film (S16, 10 minutes) that I finished over the summer and then a scene from my new film that I just shot last month. How about you?

Go Germans!
Haha that is really, really funny by the way :)
Do you live in Los Angeles??? I am right now in Germany in Wiesbaden (close to Frankfurt) visiting my parents, friends etc.. In the USA I live close to Melrose Ave. and Fairfax.. AFI is also my first choice! The only reason I applied to NYU was the city (I really love New York) and my girlfriend studies there too.. but AFI would be my first choice!!

I handed in a film that I shot for both applications.. It is 16minutes long and it turned out really good and I will submit it now to couple of festivals.. It was shot on HD by the way ;) Super 16 was a little too expensive for me :)

But hey, that is awesome that you are also from Germany!!! Where did you study previously?? As I said, do you live in the US?? That really would be so cool by the way if we make it in together :)
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I live in Chicago right now, but moving to LA in June 2009 (regardless of grad school). I'm finishing off my undergrad degree at Columbia College, or else I'd be out there already.

I've heard of Wiesbaden... I'm from Marktredwitz, which is in Bavaria close to the Czech border. I'm going to be in Germany for two weeks in January, which I can't wait for. A lot of my family is still there, but my mom moved to the U.S. when I was 8ish.

That's so exciting. I never get to socialize with any Germans around here, so that would be great. Did you make your film at USC? The only reason I was able to shoot S16 was because Columbia paid for it. They have a program where six directors get selected every year and they give you a budget. My new film is HD also. I'm worried about it, because the Columbia owns the first film, and I wasn't able to get a high quality version of it before the application deadline, so it looks a little eh.

Is your girlfriend studying film at NYU?
Yeah, I know that problem with the rights of the films you shoot during your time at school.. USC film school had the same policy :D
It´s kind of a pain in the ass - you pay all the money but the school gets the "physical" rights to the film haha!! But that´s awesome that you got chosen to direct one of the projects at your school! And I wouldn´t worry so much if your other project doesn´t look that great.. I think that is not what they are looking for anyways.. remember what AFI´s slogan on their website is "Great directors have to be great storytellers". And having a high production value doesn´t say anything about you as a dirctor. What counts is the story and the work with your actors and if you did a great job there it will show and I wouldn´t worry that much about the other stuff :)

Why did your Mom leave Germany by the way?? My girl friend is studying film & tv production at NYU but she´s also trying to transfer to USC.

Yeah, that would be awesome to hang out in LA :) Hit me up when you come down in June!!! And I think it is about time that you scialize with a couple of Germans ;)

No, my recent film I didn´t shoot at USC.. I started it late October and got finished shooting and editing it couple of days before the application deadline.

Are you on facebook?? If yes, then add me there.. my name is Andre Hoven.
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Hey you AFI people!!! Haven't heard anything from anybody for a while haha :) Does anybody have any news from AFI?? When do they start contacting people for possible interviews?? In my understanding it was at some point in February, right?

So, I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday season, a Happy New Year 2009 and I hope that we all will meet at AFI this year!!
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Active Member
hey all, i've applied to AFI (screenwriting.) so far, i've received an e-mail that they received my app and that's it. i went to journalism school, graduated in 2005 & have been working as a copy editor ever since.

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