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Susan Ruskin Appointed AFI Conservatory Dean

The American Film Institute has named producer and educator Susan Ruskin as dean of the AFI Conservatory, where she will lead AFI’s graduate film-training program.

Ruskin, who will also carry the title of executive VP, will report directly to Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO, the organization announced Tuesday. She replaces producer Richard Gladstein, who left the post late last year after 18 months. He took over from Jan Schuette, the film director who had exited the post in late 2016 after three years.

Ruskin has producing credits on “Anaconda” and “Haunted Honeymoon.” She served as president of production at Middle Fork Pictures/Cinema Line and Gene Wilder’s Pal-Mel Produtions, and as a creative executive at Lucasfilm Ltd.

Ruskin has been Dean of the School of Filmmaking at University of North Carolina School of the Arts since 2013. During her tenure at the North Carolina school, she founded a Media and Emerging Technology Lab; led the completion of a 30,000-square-foot New Media Building; and organized UNCSA’s first Future of Reality Summit.

“Susan is a bold and innovative educator with a clear passion for the future of the cinematic arts,” said Gazzale. “As educators, we must be at the forefront of what is a revolutionary moment for our industry. Susan is a proven trailblazer in both the creative and academic communities, and we look forward to her leadership in charting a path for the future of the AFI Conservatory.”

The AFI Conservatory is in its 50th year and is regarded as one of the world’s top film schools. Graduates include Terrence Malick, Rachel Morrison, Patty Jenkins and Darren Aronofsky.

“It is an honor to join the leadership of AFI to chart a course for the future,” said Ruskin. “In a world where moving images are the fabric of society, AFI’s role as a champion of exceptional storytellers is more vital than ever, and I look forward to leading the Conservatory in this transformative time, when increasingly new avenues and access allow its Fellows to express their  unique and diverse vision in boundless ways.”

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