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AFI Conservatory Dean Richard Gladstein Steps Down

Richard Gladstein is stepping down as dean of the American Film Institute Conservatory after a little over year at the top of the film school.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Michael Chung, vice dean of administration, and Tom Engfer, vice dean of academic affairs. AFI said it has begun a search for a permanent dean.

Gladstein, a former Miramax executive and the founder of the production company FilmColony, said he is moving on “to new opportunities” in a statement. He took the reins at AFI after a particularly stormy period in its history. His predecessor, Jan Schuette, stepped down after facing a near-revolt among staffers. Schuette, who took the helm of the conservatory in 2014, ran afoul of the faculty over changes he made to the school’s thesis program and for failing to consult with them on personnel moves. The faculty union held a “no confidence” vote and called for Schuette to be fired, making his position untenable.

Chung and Engfer will report directly to Bob Gazzale, AFI’s president & CEO.

“We appreciate Richard’s contributions to the Conservatory, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Gazzale said in a statement.

AFI is one of the leading graduate programs for film studies in the country. It stresses hands-on experience for filmmakers. Its alums include Terrence Malick, Darren Aronofsky, Patty Jenkins, and Todd Field.

In addition to his executive work, Gladstein is an Oscar-nominated producer, whose credits include “Finding Neverland,” “The Hateful Eight,” and “The Cider House Rules.”

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