The American Film Institute Conservatory has named Karen Schwartzman as senior director, innovative programs.

In the position, Schwartzman will develop short-term, cross-disciplinary programming initiatives that are separate from the film school’s degree curriculums. The initiatives will build upon existing community outreach and inclusivity programs for underrepresented storytellers.

“I’m thrilled to build upon AFI Conservatory’s stellar track-record of educating and preparing creatives for successful, award-winning careers in the entertainment industry, as well as supporting AFI’s world-class community of artists, with leading-edge, accelerator programs for diverse creators to excel and lead the digital and cultural transformation of our industry,” said Schwartzman.

The 20 year film and media veteran previously served as director of development a Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television. Through Schwartzman’s company Creative Axis International, she has advised for organizations such as the Telluride Film Festival, Producers Guild of America and Museum of Moving Image. Schwartzman holds an MA in Cinema Studies from San Francisco State University.

“As we look ahead and embrace emerging technology as tools for storytelling and democratization, AFI is dedicated to bringing technologists and storytellers together to create and impact social change,” said Susan Ruskin, dean of the AFI Conservatory and executive vp of the American Film Institute.

“In Karen Schwartzman, with her extensive experience in program development and centering diverse voices, we have found a great collaborator and look forward to pushing the boundaries of storytelling.”

The AFI Conservatory was established in 1969. Alums include Terrence Malick, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Andrea Arnold, Ari Aster, Polly Morgan, Rachel Morrison, Liz Hannah and Brad Falchuck.

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