Help me finish my Masters at the American Film Institute!

Please help me finish my Masters!

  • £1,045

    pledged of £20,700

    • 20


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This project received pledges on Wed 25 Feb 2015

Hello! I’m a British film directing fellow/student at the prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory (AFI), in my second and final year of a Masters. My films have won awards from the BFI and BBC and been screened in prestigious international festivals, and I am also a Fulbright and BAFTA LA scholar. I was the only person from the UK in my year to be accepted into the Masters. Thousands of people worldwide apply- on a place per applicant basis, it’s more competitive than Harvard. I have great potential, and finishing this course will give me entry into the working world. I’m very much looking forwards to no longer being a student, to being a functioning, earning member of society, through completion of the course.

My goal is to raise enough money- school fees and very basic living expenses- to finish my Masters at the AFI and graduate. Why can’t I afford to graduate? Please read on.

My story

As a child I lived in a very isolated city, so a lot of my perceptions of the world and different lifestyles came from film and television. I’m passionate about directing because nothing else shapes our understanding of the world, or of each other as much as watching visual media. I direct work that has strong, inspirational humanist values, a unique and quirky viewpoint, and intriguing and original imagery and sound. Basically, I love to direct films because I love people and directing films gives me the opportunity to show the aspects of people and their stories that we don’t usually see or celebrate. For example, a recent film I made tells the story of the nuns of Immaculate Heart in Los Angeles in the 1960s, who were part of the biggest schism in Catholicism in the United States. I am intrigued by the unusual and the magic of the everyday world- and my films entwine this with original, truthful stories. To see some of my work, please go to my website and check out the "films" page.

I’ve won awards for directing, and have directed one feature, factual television content, many shorts and music videos, and an artists’ film that premiered at the V&A. So why am I still studying? Directing film and television is a lot of financial responsibility, so in order to get jobs you need to prove exhaustive craft and skills, not just talent. Most countries have similar Masters programmes for directing, but the course at the American Film Institute is the best.

AFI Directing Alumni include Andrea Arnold, Terrence Malick, Darren Aronofsky and David Lynch, as well as John McTiernan (Die Hard) and Amy Heckerling (Clueless). Recent AFI graduates swept the awards at Sundance this year, and over 80% of graduates go on to work in film and television. AFI alumni are always well represented at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Emmys, often competing against each other.  

Why do i need money?

Unfortunately, a great education and career path does not come cheap. To afford my first year I received four prestigious scholarships; Fulbright, BAFTA LA, BUNAC, and from AFI itself. In order to be awarded these scholarships I needed to prove unique talent in my field, a flawless academic record, and my long history of devotion to humanitarian work.  Three of these scholarships are non-renewable. I am receiving a BAFTA LA Scholarship for my second year, which is exceptional, but the course is even more expensive this year and I have fewer resources available.

As an English student studying abroad I’m not eligible for student loans in either country, as a student I’m not eligible for personal loans, and my family can’t afford to help me more than they already have. I’m not even eligible for a Career Development Loan. AFI doesn’t allow students to work while studying, and even if it didn’t the schedule is prohibitive. I’ve raised a third of my tuition for the year, and am now reaching out for donations/ /sponsorships/scholarships to raise the rest.

Donors will be changing my future, giving me the gift of graduating into the working world. I will always treasure the gift that donors give me, which I see as not just financial, but as the gift of faith and trust, of giving me the start of my career.


If I raise the minimum amount I will use it as a down payment on my tuition fees. If I raise the full target I will use it to pay off my tuition fees. If I exceed the target I’ll use it to pay off some of my high interest credit card debts and maybe buy a very cheap second hand car, which will help me to be able to work. 

·       £75 will fund a week of groceries and transport.

·       £500 is a monthly payment on my tuition.

·       £1000 will fund all my living expenses including room and board for a month.

·       £20 000 will fund the rest of my year of tuition.

Here are some images of me directing and at film festivals/winning awards:

PLEASE Follow me on twitter for updates!


Thank you very much for taking the time to read this page. Even if you can’t afford to donate, please share it with online and with people who might!