The American Film Institute was born in 1965 with the aim to preserve the legacy of American film heritage, train future generations of filmmakers and honour the auteurs of American cinema and their work. They continue to provide several educational and cultural programs that help enrich the film industry, despite several changes of staff in the top job over the past few years. The hands-on lessons in filmmaking and the down-to-earth approach of the faculty (many of whom have impressive film industry resumes of their own) cumulate in a superb program for more practically minded students.
Notable alumni of the AFI Conservatory include acclaimed auteur David Lynch, Academy Award-winning producer Edward Zwick, director and producer Mimi Leder, and director and writer Patty Jenkins whose up-coming Wonder Woman 1984 is set for release next year. With previous criticisms of AFI in terms of diversity and equal representation, the American Film Institute has made a concerted effort in recent years to improve its standings by appointing more females in top jobs, such as Kathleen Kennedy as chair of the board. In addition to this, next year will see a graduating class that will be 55% female.