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I attended AFDA at their new Cape Town Campus during 2003. After two weeks, I realised that this school did not offer proper learning, but expected the students to become small models of the teachers, who, did not really seem to have any real experience in film at all. Any complaints were dismissed with - you don't have any experience so don't argue - which is hardly an environment for adult learning in the 21st century. This is true of AFDA's Johannesburg Campus as well. There is great talk of the "AFDA Standard" which is non-existant in the film industry. I left after two weeks. I would not recommend this school. <b>Review Submitted by:</b> <a href="">B vdMerwe</a> (unverified)


AFDA is currently the best film school in South Africa. The learning programme is very well designed. AFDA students have been winning many awards, latest on the Short Ends World Film School Festival,London-the film Under the Rainbow written and directed by Dean Blumberg got the Fiction award. To be a student in AFDA you need have passion for film, positive attitude and be very hardworking. I would definately recommend this school.

My score: 7.

I am currently at AFDA in my second year and I am confused at how B vdMerwe could have such insight into it's teaching program having only attended for 2 weeks. The facilities at the school are state of the art. there is plenty of hands on experience and students are currently working on an average of 4 short films per term. the lecturers are friendly and approachable and the curriculum offers the latest in film and media teachings. Past students of AFDA are currently winning awards all over the world and they have a 98% employment rate.

My score: 10.

Yes, Afda is the best film school on the continent, but, not up to international standards. We are third year students and finally now in our final year, this 'top-notch' school finally got hooked up onto the internet, last week. If one looks at the films that come out of this continent, one must consider where the particular crew members studied. Nigerians study in France, so it DEFINITLY can not to be compared to a school, way down on the bottom of africa, but this is the best we have. We find ourselves surrounded by so much talent, all confused and disoriented by a failing / non-existant Film School syllabus. anyways........come and see for yourself. but have twice the amount of money available, because you end up having to hire gear for yourself and the group...........

My score: 3.

I am an AFDA graduate working out in the industry. I enjoyed my 4 years at AFDA, who wouldn't? They give you cameras, film stock and post facilities... what more do you need from a film school? Ok maybe a little more. Film Schools cannot make directors/ editors/ designers, they can only filter them. By that I mean, if you are a good director and you are meant to direct then you will end up doing that despite the short comings of a film school, however, if you have no talent in directing and just want to enter a career for ego's sake, then a film school should weed you out and expose you. AFDA sometimes succeeds in removing the ego talents from the real working talents, other times it just allows them to coast on through for finances sake... that to me is a major weak link in the school system. I got to chat with a script lecturer from UCLA, she said that generically film schools around the world are the same, but it's really a case of not who you learn from that will assist you in the future, but who you learn with. It's all about contacts and friends and nepetism, not what mark your film school gave you on a progress assesment report. AFDA isn't perfect, I fought my way through 4 years, trying to learn my craft, trying to practise my craft. I wasn't prepared for the industry. I am still learning elementary technical things that allow me to be a stronger director. I wish I had more exposure to better acting talent. I wish I had exposure to better editors. I wish I had better exposure to better lecturers. BUT! I didn't, such is life... AFDA gave me a bit of a head start and I am prepared to work incredibly hard to make it and compensate for what I didn't learn there. Thank you AFDA for what you gave me... but screw you for what you could've but didn't. I cant recommend this school to just anyone, but if you are burning inside and really need to make movies, then I can. PLUS! Be prepared to enter a DEAD DEAD DEAD film industry in SA... be prepared to work for nothing... be prepared to go into development for 5 years and be prepared to work your guts out!

My score: 5.

AFDA puts a lot of work in its marketing, also by using student movies to brand the institution. But it is not about nurturing individual voices. in the long term it is about the institution and not the student, about getting as many students as possible into the programme to make money.

My score: 1.

hey, i'll be enrolling at AFDA next year and i'm not sure if i'm doing the right thing. What i wanna know is does AFDA offer any training on how to suvive in the nearly non existent film industry in South Africa or do they just stuff you wit a piece of paper called a degee to fend for your self.

from what i've heard most film schools cater for people who already have a lot of insight on film making. i'm burning with passon but i'm not sure if i'll keep up if this is how things are in film schools. is this the case with AFDA?

I love Afda from the day I sat foot in that place I felt at home...The industry is hard yes but so is every other proffesion be it politics , law ,economics or whatever.Afda is the only film school that provides you with technical hands on experiance.Where as Uj only relies on theory based work...Most famous directors,actors,editors ect never did the theory part and relied on the practical work!!!This is what makes Afda so unique it teaches you through experiance...And Experiance inriches your knoweledge further then theory!I cannot judge Afda effectivelly yet however I grew up working in the industry and my family worked in the industry for years...Experiance has taught me that hard will bring you somewhere and Afda will be the place I hope to gain that experiance from!

I know AFDA is mostly a film school, but how good is their animation department? If a graduated from AFDA with an animation diploma, would I be able to get a job at an international animation studio?

I attended AFDA for 6 months. Firstly, one does'nt need to attend the school for a long time to witness exactly what is going on. Alot of the comments passed about the school is correct and yes all film schools are the same around the world, but AFDA...i'll have to agree with the complaints that have been written. The only thing great about AFDA is that if you decide to leave the school and transfer to another school, your transcript will look great at the other school even though you were just passing at AFDA(because of the 80% pass grade). Other than that AFDA is not the school for passionate minds for the film industry..Yes they have the top equipment and such, but the enviroment that you learn under is bad. That does prepare you for the "cut-throat" industry but when the people behind the desk began to level themselves with students, it makes you question who is the student and who is the "experienced one". Most of them dont show experience and they've been giving the same speech for years. They do say those who can't do TEACH...just words but in this case it's very true. I've transfered to the New York Film Academy now and immidietly i felt the difference. Money is top priority at AFDA,no one can argue that. Every time someone opposes AFDA we always hear,"AFDA is the best film school in South Africa". Well's like THE ONLY film school in cannot seriously tell me Boston Media is great school to attend if you want to be in this industry, and the way other institutions, such as UJ, dont teaach all about what you need to know and the parts that they teach is being tought the wrong way.LOOK...the only reason why people from AFDA win so many awards is because they got pure talent and ability to produce such work. I think AFDA can only account for 20% of that success. Lets put such students at NYFA or UCLA and see how further they would go. AFDA needs to re-evaluate the way they doing things cause if this has sparked such a website, how many more people feel the same.

look man...

AFDA sucks
and AFDA rocks.

I agree, I felt like no one ever taught me there, and i was just expected to teach myself. The thing is, if you do, and do it well, AFDA becomes the most awesome place on Earth. There is not anywhere else in SOuth Africa, where you can get accesss to so much film equipment and a learning basis. I think AFDA sucks, and I think it rocks. At the end of the day, AFDA is what you make it. If you do the work, and work your ass off... then AFDA can be worth it... other wise it can just suck ass like usual...

look man...

AFDA sucks
and AFDA rocks.

I agree, I felt like no one ever taught me there, and i was just expected to teach myself. The thing is, if you do, and do it well, AFDA becomes the most awesome place on Earth. There is not anywhere else in SOuth Africa, where you can get accesss to so much film equipment and a learning basis. I think AFDA sucks, and I think it rocks. At the end of the day, AFDA is what you make it. If you do the work, and work your ass off... then AFDA can be worth it... other wise it can just suck ass like usual...

hi guys.
i work in the industry...sort of! I am a videographer and i do promotional and activity videos in Swakopmund Namibia. I have been wo rking with a few film crews up here and was recomended to go to afda.
Am i gonna waste my time and money or what?

AFDA, like all film schools, is expensive and time consuming. The school is not without numerous problems, and it seems that many people have vastly different experiences during their time there; but there are certain positives which cannot be overlooked either. So firstly the cons: The school is expensive. It is often poorly run, the 'Theory' side of the course is poor, the acedemic standard is exceptionally low and lacks focus, stimulation and direction; they literally waste your time with hours of nonsense lectures just so that it apears they are teaching you. The lecturers lack experience as teachers and professionals, often they are not suited to nuturing young talent as they just do not have the knowledge themselves. That said however, there are lecturers who do care, they try their best and sometimes offer valuable guidenance. The equipment is ageing and there is never enough, it is stretched across far too many students. Your experience will largely be determined by the quality and talent of your yr group. I have been lucky to work with a strong year, many other talented, intelligent and determined students who have pushed me to grow and learn - thus you need to hope you arrive in one of the 'strong' cycles.

The pro's: What one must remember is that there are only a handful of schools in SA that can give you any type of technical hands on experience, AFDA JHB, CPT, City Varsity, more recently TUT. No where else do you shoot on film, simulating professional sets (on a basic level). I studied at UCT before AFDA, I can say without a doubt that I have learnt a vast amount in 2 yrs at AFDA. I would never have found work coming out of UCT, but nxt yr I will be DOP'ing my 1st feature film with a 6.5 million rand budget; that would not have happened without my going to AFDA. You learn at AFDA not from being taught but from doing, making mistakes and learning from them. AFDA is largely about meeting other talented people, building working relationships which will develop into the industry. The school constantly filters out students who do not acheive, thus only by mid 2nd yr do you start working with other talented students. The school is what you make of it, if you dwell on the problems you will have an unfulfilled time, but if you use your time there to work with likeminded plp you will find some joy. The school itself does not teach much, but a body of knowledge has been accumalted by past students which is passed down in a mentour type system; you learn from older yr groups and your year. The assist programme is the strongest feature of the school, you have to work on older yr groups sets; this is where you learn the most. These plp then move out into the industry and you find your first industry work while studying is usually working for those you once assisted at AFDA.

The school is also stronger for certain disciplines than others. The cinematography department is unquestionable the strongest, while production design, music students and VFX have perhaps not received their money's worth. So think long and hard about what you want to study at AFDA. For Music, costume and makeup, VFX, writing, Sound design I would not advise u to study at AFDA. But for Cinematography and live performance, and perhaps Directing I would say there is a lot to be learnt from the sheer number of productions you work on.

No film school in the world can 'teach' you to be a strong filmmaker, in every case you will be expected to supplement your own learning. International film schools have experienced industry pros teaching u, this u will sadly not enjoy at AFDA. But you will shoot a number of films, you will learn through your mistakes. The cut throat nature of the school gives you a taste for the industry. You will never ever be fully prepared for the industry coming out of a film school, but if I consider where I was when I graduated from UCT and when I graduated from AFDA, there is no doubt AFDA provided me with more valuable skills that give me a fighting chance of success.

I am planning to go study at AFDA next year. I read your list on "For those considering studying at AFDA",and have got experience in almost all types of media works(photography, cinematography, logo design, and mainly video manipulation). So I just want to hear from you how is that department at AFDA, the video editing is it worth studying there? Is it worth it, with experience and all?

I dont care about how time consuming it is and how much work I need to put in, for me , thats the basic needs that I have been building up at school. I am in matric I have had a steady job for just about a year and a half at Kodak Super photo. I have been doing video editing for over 3 years now, I am a part time photographer. I hope if I can handle that in my matric year it is going to be enough to work threw AFDA?

Eather way is it worth it for me?
Or shauld I be looking for other option?


Are you still studying at the NY film Academy? I have a lot of questions regarding that Academy.

Please drop me a message at

Thank you

Can anyone tell me how much it cost to go to AFDA or some of the other schools?

Contact AFDA at for their fees.

Some other schools also have websites so you should check them out. It's difficult to just post the costs of attending some other schools without knowing what schools you might be interested in attending.

You really need a great quality film school. I haven't studied there myself, but put it this way...if you aren't getting what you wanted, even if it people say it's the best school, you should maybe hit google and look for somewhere else to study.

Has anyone heard of Reel Egde? How does it compare to AFDA? Thanks!

I attended afda and got my BA degree. I was unsure about doing post grad at afda. A few lectures at afda convinced me to stay for honors. It was the biggest mistake I ever made. They said we were gonna do 90 min feature length films in honors. As many other promises I realised in first term that it was all lies... Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed my first 3 years. But the last 2 weeks of honors turned out to be hell. My Dad was contacted and told I'm getting kicked out of afda because my director told them I'm om coke and tik... My dad took me for full blood tests and all came out negative. Afda made me stay but I was broken because I didn't do coke or tik, wtf And afda took drastic action with no evidence. In that 2 weeks my director physically abussed me on afda campus. The next morning I phoned the course director and told him what happened... They didn't even bother to investigate. I sat in that studio with that director beating me up. I couldn't hit back because I feared that I would loose my degree. I was helpless and afda turned a blind eye because the production was more important then me getting beaten up on campus. It had a big impact on me emotionally. I wanted to give up. How can this guy have so much power over me. He had a full afda bursary and all that was required from him was to shoot. I paid my full tuition, did all my work and I got treated like this. I still struggle to sleep at night because I got all my pride taken away from me. I won't advise anyone to go to afda.

Please comment on studying a BA degree in Film with Sound Design at AFDA.