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Oscar-nominated producer Richard Gladstein has been named dean of the American Film Institute Conservatory, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
He will succeed Jan Schuette, who is exiting the position June 30 after having served three years as dean of the film school, which offers a two-year program in which students are guided by instructors who are themselves professional filmmakers.
In selecting Gladstein, 55, as dean, the AFI is naming a filmmaker with deep roots in the Hollywood community, which was also true of such previous deans at the school, founded in 1969, as Robert Mandel, Frank Pierson and Robert Wise. The outgoing Schuette, whose tenure proved controversial and was marked by a revolt on the part of some of the faculty, had been an exception to that rule. While the German-born Schuette had helmed more than a dozen films, he had been serving as the director of the German Film and Television Academy when he was recruited to run the AFI’s film school in 2014.
Gladstein’s credits include The Hateful Eight, The Nanny Diaries and The Bourne Identity. He also was nominated for best picture Oscars for producing The Cider House Rules and Finding Neverland.
Gladstein, who was first approached by the AFI about three months ago, tells THR, “I wasn’t so sure right off the bat that this was something right for me and would I be right for the AFI. But the more I spoke about it with friends and spoke with those at the conservatory, it became something I was super-interested and pursued with great vigor. I feel very honored to get the gig.”
While taking on the full-time post will mean setting aside his producing career, Gladstein says, “Recently, being a producer, it’s a big solitary. It’s obviously not solitary when you’re making a movie, far from it. But the amount of time one spends looking for projects, looking for projects, developing projects, is a bit of a solitary existence. The idea of being part of something everyday that is greater than myself was super-appealing to me. The constant and daily colloboration with others is what I’m looking forward to.”
While a number of Gladstein’s films have played at AFI Fest, the American Film Institute’s annual film fest, he reports he’s had little previous contact with the conservatory itself. While he’s been serving as filmmaker-in-residence at Chapman University since January, he says of his new post at the HFI’s Hollywood headquarters, “I”m literally going back to school. I have to listen and learn a great deal about how the AFI does what it does, to really begin to understand what their process is and how they do it and where they need both help and support to continue what they do and make it better.”
Gladstein served as executive vp of Miramax Films from 1993 to 1995 before founding his own production company, FilmColony.
A graduate of Boston University, where he earned a degree in communications, Gladstein also is credited as an executive producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction.
May 3, 2017, 8:10 p.m.: Updated to include comments from Richard Gladstein
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