Best filmmaking colleges
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Among all the innovative professions, filmmaking is one of the most interesting ones. Do you like storytelling? Are you passionate about the filmmaking process? Do you dream of being part of a web series or even an advertisement? If your answer is ‘yes’ to these questions, then you can consider taking up a career in filmmaking. 

The urge to tell stories and passion for promoting art is why prospects take up a career in film studies. In this blog, you will learn about who can study film majors and about some of the best filmmaking colleges from where you can kickstart your career.

What is the importance of films?

Think about how your life would be without films. They might not play a meaningful role in your everyday life, but they might have made some kind of impact over the years. The film is a medium that can affect a large population. The trend-setting industry takes the responsibility to depict essential topics in society. Such movies not only influence the audience but also standardize the stereotype. Numerous films reflect the important problems of society. As a result, the impact of films on society has increased hugely.

Who can study film majors?

Film and photographic arts majors engage themselves in filmmaking. They learn skills such as making a short film, working within a budget, production skills like working with cameras and post-production editing. A degree equips scholars well for careers as directors, producers, and many other roles required to create movies and T.V. shows.

Film significant students will have an interest in all different aspects of cinema. They should know that each element, right from lighting and sound effects to location choices, everything is crucial to creating a movie or TV show. In addition, film students possess a strong work ethic and the energy to stabilize themselves for a long time while shooting a scene or to work late nights to meet a project deadline.

As a film studies major, you will learn about film history, critics, and the basics of film production. You’ll also explore related arts such as television and video. You can find many colleges with film majors. Some universities present Film Studies degrees with integrated foundation years for students who don’t hold the required qualifications for direct entry onto their chosen program.

Best filmmaking colleges in US

Over the past few years, film schools have been evolving, building VR labs and stocking up on 3D stereoscopic cameras. But, unfortunately, all that technology only makes a tough choice— where to go to film school, more complex.

Here is a list of the best filmmaking colleges in the US.

1. American Film Institute

The American Film Institute is known to be the highest-ranked film school in the US. However, this film school takes on fewer graduates than other film schools every year. This prestigious film school offers directing, producing, cinematography, screenwriting, production design, and editing degrees. If you were to attend this college, you’d be joining the ranks of the biggest names in film.

Course Highlights

  • Help develop visual approaches serving the story in a team, understanding how well images display a story on an in-depth knowledge of visual arts.
  • To understand the elements of dramatic structure and express the story’s turning points. Also, to create a narrative momentum throughout a film.
  • Demonstrate their ability to use creative techniques in editing practices to create convincing narrative films.
  • Identify the communication skills needed to manage the editing process in a creative team by taking on the role of Editor and Assistant Editor. 
  • Sharpen analytical skills to critique scripted work.

Duration and fees

  • Duration: MFA – 2 years
  • Fees: $63,575 to $68,103

Alumni

  • Darren Aronofsky – Filmmaker and screenwriter, known for his surreal and melodramatic films. He studied film and social anthropology at Harvard University and then went to the American Film Institute to study directing. After his senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, he won many film awards, including a National Student Academy Award finalist.
  • Edward Zwick – Director, filmmaker, and Academy Award-winning film and television producer. He has performed mainly in the comedy-drama as well as historical film genres.

2. CalArts

CalArts is a film school that has a collaborative approach to filmmaking courses. Offers degrees in Film & Video as well as Film Directing. The founding members include Roy Disney and Mary Costa. This university has creativity flowing through its veins and often pushes young filmmakers into unique experiences like making an independent film for VR technology and new media movie-making. 

Course Highlights

  • Students will be equipped with a comprehensive foundational background and are inspired to seek out different modes of experimentation.
  • Graduates become creative leaders establishing careers in studio production, teaching, and personal practice.
  • Graduate students will gain technical expertise, historical and critical perspective and produce a significant body of work. 
  • Enables the individual voice of the filmmaker in developing creative approaches. 

Duration and fees

  • Duration: BFA – 4 years, MFA – 2 or 3 years
  • Fees

Per Semester – $26,425

Full-year – $52,850

Alumni

  • Andrew Ahn – Andrew Ahn is a filmmaker born in Los Angeles. His short film, Dol, made its appearance at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and has screened at different locations worldwide.
  • Stephen Anderson – Anderson joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as a story artist on Tarzan in 1999. Before that, he worked as an animator at Hyperion Animation.

3. NYU Tisch School of the Arts

NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is known to be one of the best filmmaking colleges in the US and is an excellent choice for film majors who vibe with the vibrancy of New York City. This university is located in the center of Manhattan. It presents a different approach to filmmaking. One of the unique programs for cinema, the university permits students to double major with a business degree.

Course Highlights

  • Restate your story to the screen by choosing an online film production course like Sight and Sound Filmmaking.
  • Writers and directors can generate a narrative voice and express that voice in cinema.
  • Students can direct and produce numerous films and exercises, shooting and crewing on one another’s projects.

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Fees: $62,062

Alumni

  • Jon Watts – Jon Watts made short videos before graduating from high school. He directed his creative outcome to a scholarship to attend New York University. Jon Watts is known to be the first director in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to direct a trilogy and four films.
  • Chloé Zhao – A director, screenwriter, and producer, she has evolved into one of the industry’s leading filmmakers. Zhao wrote, directed, and produced her most notable work to date, The Rider, in 2017. The Western film premiered in the 2017 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors Fortnight selection and went on to win the Art Cinema Award. She also directed Nomadland to win the Academy Award for best picture in 2021.

4. UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television 

This is one of the best colleges for filmmaking to help creatives convert their passion into earnings. Whether you want to work in front of the camera or behind the scenes, they offer training in acting, cinematography, directing, producing, and much more. Their award-winning instructors provide you with more than theoretical education. They help you learn how to get started, get the job, and make an impact.

Course Highlights

  • Students understand practical challenges taken upon by artists in making motion pictures and television.
  • Using analytical skills for the study of filmmaking as a technical and artistic phenomenon
  • Students develop and produce digital image visualizations.
  • Hands-on analysis of techniques of digital still imaging in the context of examining dynamics of cultural constructions as well as visual codes.
  • Students conceptualize, research, write, shoot, and edit projects.

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: B.A.- 4 years, Graduate programs – 2,3, or 4 years
  • Fees: 

Graduate programs 

  • $17,756 annually for California residents.
  • $32,858 annually for non-California residents.

Undergraduate programs

  • $28,408 – $36,297 annually for California residents.
  • $58,162 – $66,051 annually for non-California residents.

Alumni

  • Timothy Francis Robbins – an actor, screenwriter, producer, director, and musician. He is known for his depiction of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Eric R. Roth – a screenwriter, nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, winning for Forrest Gump. In addition, he wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

5. University of North Carolina School of the Arts

With a 9-to-1 student/faculty ratio, this is one of the best film production colleges. It resembles a Hollywood studio lot and is like one with less severe cruelty, though scholars have already heard stories from A-list Hollywood survivors like Ava DuVernay. Here, students will access soundstages and animation facilities like any other film school.

Course Highlights

  • Students understand the Twelve Principles of Animation and apply them through simple hand-drawn animation projects throughout the semester.
  • They will screen films that display a range of cinematic styles. 
  • They read essays written by filmmakers, film historians, and aestheticians that not only give them various analytical “lenses” to discuss these films but also equip them with numerous modes of thinking about their own filmmaking practice.
  • Extend students’ ability to tighten their cinematic vision of scripted action.

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: B.F.A – 4 years
  • Fees:

Undergraduate In-State – $6,497

Undergraduate Out-of-State – $23,731

Alumni

  • Zene Baker – is a film editor who obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film editing from UNCSA. He is popularly known as the editor of Seth Rogen’s films 50/50, and This Is the End, as well as Neighbors and The Interview.
  • Aaron Katz – studied filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and returned to his hometown Portland to make his first feature, Dance Party USA (2006). After which, he has directed four features, including the Independent Spirit Award-winning Land Ho!.

6. Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Dodge College is the fastest-rising and one of the best filmmaking schools in the US. It pushes students into a world of film and entertainment. It offers a wide array of undergraduate and graduates degrees for those interested in all aspects of film and media arts. 

With a state-of-the-art facility available 24/7, skilled faculty with an integrated filmography of above 300 feature films, hands-on learning, international travel, a solid alumni network, your opportunities at Dodge College are endless.

Course Highlights

  • Students will get immersed in the innovative process and work under active industry professionals developing media content for exciting and artistic projects. 
  • The Digital Media Arts Center is designed for animation and visual effects programs, inspired by visionary giants such as Pixar, Disney, and Google.
  • Gain hands-on production experience, understand the history and aesthetics of the documentary form, and develop compelling, authentic content through a rigid and creative development process.
  • Students will be able to design a portfolio that showcases a proposed film or media production.

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: 2 to 4 years
  • Fees:

Undergraduate Students

  • Full-time Rate: $29,125
  • Part-time Rate: $1,810 per unit
  • Overload Charge:  $1,810 per unit
  • Interterm Tuition: $1,810 per unit

Graduate Students – $22,784 -$29,260

7. University of Texas

You will be able to write, direct, edit, shoot and produce the next blockbuster. At the University of Texas, you get hands-on training with the latest animation and visual effects. In addition, you can begin working towards your creative and professional career by sharpening your understanding of the historical, cultural, and global contexts covering film, T.V., and digital media. 

Course Highlights

  • Through lectures, readings, and screenings, students will explore historical contexts in which media have been produced in the US and globally.
  • Students will learn about the style and storytelling strategies in all kinds of media forms, from narrative films to documentaries and videogames.
  • You will be able to analyze digital remixing as an art form and community of practice while examining formal, ideological, and legal constraints on these modes.

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: M.A. – 2 years, M.F.A. – 3 years
  • Fees:

Texas Residents: $76,020

Nonresidents: $88,210.

Alumni

  • Owen Wilson – He is a famous Actor, Producer, Comedian, and Screenwriter. He is known for his witty sense of humor and captured the attention of many with his performance in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ ‘Wedding Crashers’ as well as ‘Inherent Vice”.
  • Matthew McConaughey – He acquired his film degree from UT Austin in 1993. He is an Academy Award-winning actor who has acted in more than 50 films, including “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” for which he won an Oscar and Golden Globe.

8. Columbia University

Because of the reputable professionals, Columbia University MFA program graduate degrees for those are the best training ground for aspiring filmmakers. Furthermore, the widen students’ knowledge student short films, feature films, and screenplays are displayed every year at the Columbia University Film Festival. In addition, the School is recognized for the international success of its alumni. They have acquired top prizes at Sundance, Cannes, Venice, and the Academy Awards.

Course Highlights

  • Students are engaged in the principles and working procedures of several genres.
  • Through numerous exercises, short films, and script projects, they are motivated to explore and establish their voice.
  • The innovative program highlights the role of the producer as the creative power behind a project, directing business skills and an understanding of an ever-changing marketplace.
  • Students flourish in a creative environment with hands-on experience, one-on-one faculty guidance, and the support of talented peers.

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: MFA  – 3 to 4 years
  • Fees: $73,240

Alumni

  • J.J. Adler – J.J. Adler is a director currently on the list of the award-winning bi-coastal production corporation Tool of North America, Steam Films in Canada, as well as Mustard London in the UK.
  • Fabio Andrade – Fabio Andrade is a film scholar and filmmaker. His work has been published by Criterion, Berlinale, and Kino Lorber, and he has also worked on films by Gabriel Mascaro.

Other film schools in the world

1. The National Film and Television School, London

The National Film and Television School is located in London, has over 30 Masters, diploma, and certificate courses, and is one of the best filmmaking colleges in the UK. Industry professionals guide students in a completely working studio with dubbing theatres, edit suites, as well as three cinemas. In addition, students. might be required to interview, present showreel material, and attend workshops for a shot at entry.

Course Highlights

  • Learn how films go from script to screen from award-winning filmmakers with a film production course.
  • Analyze various film production specialisms, from directing to cinematography, editing, and composing
  • Contemplate the role of editing in telling a story on film
  • Recognize the contribution of sound and music to a film

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: One day courses to 2-year degrees

Alumni

  • David Yates– A professional director with a flair for realism who composed stories of modern conspiracy and corruption. He leaped from working on edgy television projects to directing one of the world’s most lucrative film series. He has directed the final four films in the Harry Potter series and the first two parts in the Fantastic Beasts film series.
  • Clive Bradley  – screenwriter who has written for both film and television. After he graduated from the National Film and Television School, he was one of the winners of the Orange Prize for Screenwriting in the year 1999.

2. Beijing Film Academy(Beijing, CN)

BFA is the largest film academy in Asia and the only film school in China. It has developed a multidisciplinary cultivation system that includes everything from film-making to creation and research for training advanced film talents. The famous Chinese directors such as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Jia Zhangke, and Zhou Wei all graduated from BFA.

Course Highlights

  • Students enter the world of filmmaking by first studying all of its parts and discovering which part fits best.
  • The teaching for undergraduates concentrates on improving students’  theoretical capabilities to widen students’ knowledge.
  • Teachers share their personal experiences in film and television creations
  • The students will need to shoot 3-30 minutes long home works depending on the course they are learning either independently or with students of other specialties

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: 2 to 4 years
  • Fees:

Undergraduate – 43000 RMB/year

Graduate – 51000 RMB/year

Ph.D. – 53000 RMB/year

Alumni

  • Zhao Wei – also known as Vicky Zhao, is a Chinese actress, film director, producer, and pop singer. She is one of the most famous and highest-paid actresses in China.

3. La Femis

La Femis offers several different degree programs that provide training in media and film production, television series development, screenwriting, editing, directing, and sound production. In addition, students take part in hands-on practice activities that let them interact with teachers to engage themselves in the film community and grow. A doctorate program is also available for advanced professionals.

Course Highlights

  • Analyze the distinct elements of screenwriting.
  • Develop your imagination and a personal working approach. Widen your knowledge of screenwriting.
  • Students will learn all about the corporate environment and the general management, events, and technological factors of running a cinema.

Duration and Fees

  • 3 years of study consisting of tutoring and filmmaking practice.
  • 1 year producing completed work and one personal research project before a graduation jury.

4. Toronto Film School

The Toronto Film School film program presents behind-the-scenes learning that includes all aspects of filmmaking, from pre-production to post-production. Students will learn from filmmakers active in the industry. They will work on real-life projects and understand how to write screenplays, develop storyboards, shoot with different kinds of cameras, direct, as well as edit all footage.

Course Highlights

  • Students learn about the birth of film, the innovators, art, and technology, and how the social environment directly influenced the world of cinema.
  • Students are taught the theoretical concepts and become familiar with the editing stations, software, and various tools.
  • Students go deep into the creative process as well as technical judgments made by the Director. 

Duration and Fees

  • Duration: 12 to 18 months
  • Fees: $5,745 – $6,273

Conclusion

It’s evident that even from the list of the best filmmaking colleges mentioned in this article, the variety in skill levels, entry requirements, alumni and prices are huge. There is something for each and every one. 

It would be helpful to take time and research all, such as who is teaching you graduate degrees for those and the campus culture. There are many filmmaking books and online courses that can help you kickstart your career in the film industry as well.

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About the Author

Sarang Padhye

Being an avid film buff and a content marketer, I started this blog to provide the best information on screenwriting and filmmaking. Screenplays is certainly where it all begins. However, I also provide writing and advertising tips regularly through my articles.

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