Top Film Schools

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

The top film schools not only teach students the nuts and bolts of what it takes to be a successful filmmaker, but they also foster an atmosphere of creativity and personal growth. The following list is meant to be a comprehensive look at the best film schools, including those that fall into the categories of online film school, summer film school, screenwriting school, or acting film schools.

While a great amount of time and energy has been devoted to this list of the top film schools, readers are encouraged to do their own research before opening up their wallets. Location, tuition, and available courses should all be considered when searching for the school that best meets your individual needs. A happy film student is a productive film student, so take the time and give yourself every chance to be successful. We hope this list helps.

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If you’re looking for a top online film school, the list below provides a number of choices. While studying film online isn’t as intensive as attending one of the best film schools in person, it remains a perfect option for those with a full-time job or limited budget.

The typical online film school allows students to complete tests or assignments and then send them for evaluation via the Internet. With chat rooms and email, you can also converse with instructors and fellow students from the convenience of your own home.

Certificate programs are available online, which offers the individual student a broad overview of film. For the more ambitious student, there are also B.A. and M.A. film programs online. While shorter programs usually don’t require additional materials (other than a computer and Internet connection), students enrolling in degree programs may need to purchase textbooks, computer software, or even a video camera. Be sure to check the requirements of your online film school before enrolling.

The cost for an online film school can vary wildly, with some starting at under $20 and others over $500 per credit hour. Shorter courses of study will have to be paid out of pocket, although you may be able to deduct it from your taxes. Degree programs, however, will often have loans and grants available.

Here’s a list of some of the best online film schools currently available:

Academy of Art University – Located in beautiful San Francisco and founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University currently offers an online film school. Pursue an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in either Motion Picture & Television or Animation & Visual Effects. With over 16,000 students enrolled at any given time, it’s one of the largest private art and design schools in the country. Federal aid and scholarships are available.

Film School Online – A home study course that’s ideal for students with a busy lifestyle. A total of seven courses are offered, with a total of over 300 lessons. There’s no equipment or software to buy, and online lessons can be accessed 24/7. Each course of study is priced at $14.99, and you can buy all seven for the discounted price of $49.99, which also includes an additional two years of access to online lessons. Students will also have access to the audio lecture series, downloadable lessons running from 20 to 30 minutes and intended as a supplement to the online courses. Both traditional filmmaking and digital video is taught, allowing students to stay on the cutting edge of the movie business. You can pay with online check, PayPal, or credit card.

Dov S-S Simen’s & Hollywood Film Institute’s Web Film School – Just take a look at some of the people who’ve attended this online film school and provided testimonials: Will Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, Michael Jackson, and Queen Latifah. Graduates of this program have grossed over $2 billion at the box office, and a money-back guarantee is available. The cost of the streaming online film program is $395, and this includes 16 one-hour lessons and a downloadable 400+ page workbook. And in addition to the lessons and workbook, students will also receive a producer’s diploma, graduation certificate, option agreements, industry contracts, movie budgets, talent contracts, and production forms.

UCLA Online – When it comes to filmmaking schools, no name is respected more than UCLA. And in addition to their campus in Los Angeles, aspiring filmmakers can also study online. All classes are fully transferable, and they’re open to both student and non-students. Learn about film and television producing, cinematography, and theater and film history. Screenwriting courses are also available, including classes such as Screenwriting Fundamentals and Advanced Screenwriting Workshop. Summer film school courses are also available.

SAE Institute of Technology – Established in 1976 as a school for audio engineering, it has since expanded to offer courses on animation, multimedia, and digital filmmaking. Courses can be paid for with a credit card, and scholarships are available. Interactive chat sessions allow you to stay in touch with classmates and teachers. Some of the available online classes include:


This list of top film schools is limited to the United States, although many of the programs allow filmmakers to study abroad. These are the best film schools available, and holding a degree from one or more of these institutions means the student has been immersed in the world of cinema and is now ready to make their mark in Hollywood (or wherever they choose).

Top Film Schools in Alabama

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) – Established in 1940, the school’s department of Radio, TV and Film has been combining superior teaching and production to give students a firm grasp of what it takes to succeed as a filmmaker. A few of the classes offered include:

Best Film Schools in Arizona

Alpha Pacific Institute (Phoenix, AZ) – The Television Broadcasting & Filmmaking school offers three main areas of study:

Those who choose the Television Broadcasting & Filmmaking option will study directing, AVID editing, camera operations, news writing, voice-overs, graphic design, streaming media, multi-track recording production, and lighting. A number of screenwriting courses are also available.

Arizona State School of Theatre and Film (Tempe, AZ) – As part of Arizona State University, the Herberger Institute for Design has offered a BA in Film since 2005. Majors can choose to concentrate on intensive media and film production in a studio setting, or they may opt for a more general overview of the medium. Producing, entertainment ethics, independent film production, and production practices are also covered. Production assistant jobs and internships are an option for anyone of sophomore standing or higher, and select students may be able to spend an entire semester working on the set of a Universal Studios film.

Collins College School of Film, Video, and Visual Effects (Phoenix, AZ) – Offers a Bachelor of Arts in Film & Video Production, teaching students the finer points of lighting, non-linear editing, 3D animation, and audio. Numerous formats will be explored, including film, digital, television, and HDTV. While there’s not a specific screenwriting school, courses in the subject are offered.

University of Arizona School of Media Arts (Tucson, AZ) – This film school offers three programs of study. The first, a Bachelor of Arts in Film & Television Studies, offers study in critical writing about film, history and theory of the moving image, script analysis, adapting literary works to the screen, developing ideas for film, post-production support, writing movie reviews, festival programming, and much more. The Bachelor of Arts in Producing introduces students to the legal and organizational aspects of the film industry, preparing them for work in regulation, talent, or advertising agencies. Finally, there’s the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film & Video Production, a melding of film criticism with hands-on experience in producing film and video. Graduate programs in film are also available. The Hanson Film Institute is also a driving force on campus, presenting special projects, public events, and educational programs for filmmakers.

Filmmaking Schools in Boston

Boston University (Boston, MA) – An impressive film program that offers both undergraduate and graduates degrees. Their screenwriting school is highly recommended, and the alumni of their graduate programs have achieved an 85 percent employment rate in the film industry. Films submitted for a master’s thesis have won hundreds of festival prizes and even an Oscar for Best Documentary Short. Graduate students may also complete their thesis through producing, editing, or cinematography. Their production and post-production facilities are among the most advanced, and high-definition videos can even be completed. Sample classes include:

In addition to the above, select students may also be eligible for the Los Angeles internship program, where they’ll be able to spend a semester working in the heart of the film industry.

Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts (Waltham, MA) – Film students will receive hands-on instruction in filmmaking, animation, audio production, graphic design, lighting, cinematography, and photography. Screenwriting course are also available. Besides the primary campus near Boston, the school has a campus in Washington, DC.

Top Film Schools in California

Academy of Art University School of Motion Pictures (San Francisco, CA) – Founded in 1929, this prestigious school offers instruction in cinematography, directing, acting, and production. It’s also a screenwriting school, making it about as well-rounded as they come. Some of the courses offered by their Motion Pictures & Television School include:

American Film Institute (AFI) (Los Angeles, CA) – In addition to being the nation’s largest non-profit exhibitor of motion pictures, the AFI also offers filmmaking classes at their famed Conservatory. Classes break into small groups reminiscent of production teams, and their graduate-level students produce more finished works that any other film school.

Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA) – Offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts, this top film school is located minutes from Universal Studios, Paramount, Disney, and Warner Bros. Classes are small, and each student has access to the latest post-production tools, HD, 16mm, and 35mm. Studio heads and noted filmmakers often present lectures. Three tracks are available for study: directing, editing, or cinematography. Also includes surround sound mixing studios, computer labs, editing suites, green-screen equipment, and a 5,000 square foot stage (with cyclorama).

Berkeley Digital Film Institute (Berkeley, CA) – Their world-class recording facility has been used by everyone from David Lynch to David Fincher, and the instructors have worked Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and the Wachowski brothers. Each class is limited to 12 students, and study is broken into four 15-week terms (1800 clock hours). By the end of their studies, each student will have produced and directed four films, ranging in length from one minute to 30 minutes.

Brooks Institute (Santa Barbara, CA) – In addition to offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film (which can be completed in three years), this educational institution also serves as a screenwriting school, offering a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting. The film program started in the 1950s, and the modern-day program emphasizes everything from proposals to editing. Programs are broken into six eight-week terms. Graduates have worked on films such as Titanic, Somewhere in Time, and The Muppet Movie.

CalArts School of Film and Video (Valencia, CA) – All major types of filmmaking are emphasized, including experimental live-action, documentary, and dramatic narrative. Four different programs of study are offered, and students will have access to the latest equipment and extensive facilities. 3D animations systems are available, and students will learn to shoot on everything from 16mm to Betacam. Student films are showcased through a series of special screenings on-campus and at local theaters, and industry professionals are often in attendance.

California State, Long Beach (Long Beach, CA) – Their program, known as Film and Electronic Arts, can prepare students for careers in sales, studio operations, production, directing, producing, script reading, teaching, photography, costume design, and many more. In addition to production and post-production skills, students are also taught about aesthetics and film theory.

California State, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – Offering both screenwriting courses and instruction in post-production techniques, California State is one of the best film school in California. Here’s a sampling of some of the classes they offer:

California State, Northridge (Northridge, CA) – Their department of Cinema and Television Arts provides students with the professional training that will allow them to have a career in the film or television industry. Their faculty combines theory with practical application, and they’ve directed or produced over 5,000 films, TV shows, industry films, and stage plays combined. Over 100 internships are offered each semester. Students can pursue a BA in Cinema and Television Arts or an MA in Screenwriting.

Cinema Arts Tech (Los Angeles, CA) – On-the-job training is a vital part of this school, and students can learn the secrets of the following fields:

Chapman University – Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (Orange County, CA) – While you learn how the film industry works, you’ll also have the opportunity to take advantage of internships and part-time jobs in the beautiful surroundings of Orange County. Degree programs include:

Columbia College Hollywood (Tarzana, CA) – With an emphasis on screenwriting, editing, cinematography, directing, and producing, this top film school gives you the opportunity to learn from Oscar and Emmy winners and nominees. While pursuing your Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, you can intern for companies such as MTV, ABC, Village Roadshow, and New Line. It’s also a perfect place for those with jobs, as their academic calendar is broken into four terms per year, with only three class periods per day. Following graduation, at least 90 percent of students find a job in the film or television industry.

Los Angeles Film School (Hollywood, CA) – Located in the RCA Building on Hollywood’s famous Sunset Boulevard, the L.A. Film School also provides programs in recording arts, computer animation, and game production. The Hollywood Reporter called it “One of the best-equipped private learning centers in the country.”

Loyola Marymount School of Film and Television (Los Angeles, CA) – Their school of Film and Television is broken into four separate degree programs:

In addition to an undergraduate degree, this top film school also offers a Master of Fine Arts at LMU’s School of Film and Television.

New York Film Academy, Universal Studios (Hollywood, CA) – While their original campus is located in New York City, this school also has a branch in Hollywood. Accelerated degree programs are offered, concluding in one to two years. Students will begin making films from the first day in class. Since their creation in 1999, they have more than 30,000 graduates, and their additional locations and camps at Harvard University, Paris, London, and Disney Studios makes them the largest film school in the world.

Orange Coast College Film Department (Costa Mesa, CA) – Founded in 1948, this community college now boasts an enrollment of more than 25,000 students each semester. Classes are transferable to other institutions of higher learning in the state.

San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking (San Francisco, CA) – For those obsessed with digital filmmaking, be sure to check out this intensive one-year program. When completed, graduated will have the skills it takes to find work as cinematographers, writers, directors, producers, editors, and even independent filmmakers. The institution serves an additional function as an acting film school, thanks to their 8-week acting classes. There’s also a 5-week digital filmmaking workshop, and a screenwriting workshop.

San Francisco State Cinema (San Francisco, CA) – The school’s Cinema Department was founded in the 1960s, but a new facility was constructed in the ‘90s (including a 2500-square-foot shooting stage). Sound and editing labs are digital, and the school’s screening room is equipped to show both 16mm and 35mm films. As an undergraduate, you can pursue a BA in Cinema, while graduate students can seek an MA in Cinema Studies or an MFA in Cinema.

University of California (UCLA) Theater, Film, and TV (Los Angeles, CA) – Undergraduates can receive a BA in Film, Television and Digital Media, while graduate students can pursue the following:

Facilities available to students include a color correction suite, costume shop, digital media lab, DVD duplicator, documentary lab, flatbed suites, FX room, Final Cut Pro suites, film to video transfer, prop shop, sound mixing labs, scoring stage, and a TV studio.

University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles, CA) – With a staff filled with working professionals, this facility is one of the top filmmaking schools in the nation. Facilities include screening rooms, mixing theaters, animation facilities, soundstage, and post-production suites.

Video Symphony (Burbank, CA) – Offers career training for individuals interested in film and TV editing, video editing, graphics animation, and audio production. Programs can be completed in 10 to 14 months, and certified classes utilize Avid, Adobe, Apple, Alias, and Digidesign. For those who meet the necessary requirements, tuition subsidies may be available.

Filmmaking Schools in Colorado

Colorado Film School (Denver, CO) – Located in a 25,000-square foot building, the school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a one-year advanced immersion, and a number of certification programs. There’s a 4000-square foot soundstage, complete with digital cameras, a cyclorama for green screen effects, teleprompters, and a $300,000 lighting grid.

Top Film Schools in District of Columbia

American University School of Communication (Washington, DC) – Undergraduates can obtain a degree in Film and Video, while returning graduates can receive an MFA in Film and Media Arts, or a MA in Producing for Film and Video. The 8-week Summer in L.A. allows top students to get a firsthand look at the industry, while the Center for Environmental Filmmaking provides a one-week trip to Florida (or Alaska) during spring break to experience the challenges of shooting in the wild. An annual film festival recognizes the work of students, and the mentoring program is designed to allow students to learn from those who’ve already been there. Both graduate and undergraduate students are also eligible for internships.

Howard University School of Communication (Washington, DC) – The Department of Radio, Television, and Film offers an undergraduate degree in Film Production, with courses such as Film Directing, Cinematography, Third World Cinema, Blacks in Film, and Documentary Film Critique. Internships are available with such diverse organizations as PBS, the Discovery Channel, American Film Institute, and National Geographic Society.

Top Film Schools in Florida

Florida State University Film School (Tallahassee, FL) – The only film school in the U.S. where students don’t have to pay for their own films, FSU’s program has been recognized by the Directors Guild of America for its quality. Faculty members have worked on the following films: The Godfather, Ulee’s Gold, Malcolm X, and Mephisto. Following graduation, students are paired with mentors in the industry, resulting in nearly a 100 percent rate of employment within 12 months.

Full Sail School of Film (Winter Park, Fl) – Emphasizing a hand-on approach to filmmaking, projects will begin with the pre-production phase and continue all the way until a final project is completed. Use cranes and HD cameras, plus learn the ins and outs of casting calls and storyboards. With their own backlot, the school also has editing labs and suites.

Miami Dade School of Entertainment and Design (Miami, FL) – Students can obtain an Associate of Science Degree in Film Production Technology. While working on equipment that meets industry standards, students will learn skills ranging from cinematography and digital non-linear editing to screenwriting.

Palm Beach Film School (West Palm Beach, FL) – This film school provides a Short Film Program and a Feature Film Program. The Short Film Program is an intensive program that allows students to shoot, direct and edit their own short with the latest equipment and technology. The day class version lasts for seven weeks (three days a week), while the night class lasts 21 weeks (one day per week). To enroll in the Feature Film Program, students must have prior filmmaking experience or be a graduate of the Short Film Program. Completed feature-length films are shown at a local theatre.

University of Central Florida Film Program (Orlando, FL) – In operation since 1990, this film program offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees. Undergraduates can choose from three tracks, including production, world cinema, and cinema studies. Graduate students may pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, an intensive three-year program.

Best Film Schools in Georgia

Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA) – Using the latest cutting-edge equipment, students will learn all the skills necessary for production and post-production (including screenwriting courses). Competitions, seminars, and screenings are also available. Some available film classes include:

Filmmaking Schools in Illinois

Columbia College (Chicago, IL) – Offering nearly 120 academic programs, Columbia College is one of the most diverse private colleges in the nation. Spread out over 22 building in the heart of Chicago, the school offers a degree in Film & Video, with concentrations in directing, audio, cinematography, editing, documentary, critical studies, animation, producing, and screenwriting. Graduate students may also enroll for an MFA in Creative Producing.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL) – Founded in 1866 as an art school, it has expanded to provide film classes in recent years. Boasting the largest school-museum campus in the U.S., the Art Institute of Chicago offers a number of film-related classes.

Southern Illinois University Cinema and Photography (Carbondale, IL) – Students can choose an emphasis in cinema production, screenwriting, cinema studies, fine arts photography, or commercial photography.

Top Film Schools in Indiana

Ball State University (Muncie, In) – One of the largest undergraduate communication colleges in the United States, Ball State includes a media lab, visual image lab, television studio, newsroom, and wireless lab. Their program has over 3,800 graduates.

Indiana University Department of Communications (Bloomington, IN) – One of the first film study programs created in the nation, they offer a broad-based curriculum that emphasizes the study of cinema, television, and new media. Numerous film and production courses are available, and flexible programs allow students to pursue the concentrations important to them.

Notre Dame Film Television, and Theater (Notre Dame, IN) – Combining critical studies and practical study of production techniques, the Notre Dame Film, Television, and Theatre program will push students to realize their hidden potential. Summer film school classes are also offered, and the university’s dedication to academic excellence is second to none.

Filmmaking Schools in Iowa

University of Iowa Cinema and Comparative Literature (Iowa City, IA) – Offering an undergraduate degree in Cinema, the school also provides an MA and PhD in Film Studies, and an MFA in Film and Video Production. Common courses include Issues in Film Theory, Modes of Filmmaking, and Introduction to Film Analysis.

Top Film Schools in Massachusetts

Emerson College (Boston, MA) – Two media production degrees are offered, the Bachelor of Arts in Media Production and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Production. Specializations may include animation, producing, radio, directing, screenwriting, experimental media production, audi-sound design, and interactive media.

Fitchburg State College (Fitchburg, MA) – Students can choose to concentrate in either film or video, and all equipment is up to industry standards. Sample courses include:

Best Film Schools in Michigan

Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI) – Majors in Film and Video Production will study animation, new media, cinema studies, fiction filmmaking, sound design, documentary filmmaking, or a study plan can be designed to meet the student’s specific interest. Graduate degrees are also available.

Filmmaking Schools in Minnesota

Minnesota State University (Moorhead, MN) – The school’s first graduating class received their degrees in 1890, but the Film Studies department wouldn’t come along until many years later. Providing students will all the latest equipment and technology, the school combines film theory with a hand-on approach to production.

Film Schools in New Jersey

Industry Film Schools (Shrewsbury, NJ) – Aimed at teen filmmakers, this school features small classes and a more personal environment. Instructors are working professionals, and classes are intended as college prep classes. Founded in 2004, the school currently offers the following courses:

Best Film Schools in New York

Brooklyn College Film Department (Brooklyn, NY) – The only public undergraduate department for Film Production and Film Studies in New York, this school has students from over 50 different countries studying the magic of filmmaking. Students will work with a number of formats, including mini-DV, HD, and 16mm.

Columbia University (New York, NY) – With a focus on writing and learning about film as an art form, the school offers an undergraduate degree in Film Studies. Internships are available, and the organization known as Columbia Undergraduate Film Productions enables students to take part in the producing and directing process. An MA in Film Studies is also available. One of the school’s more successful graduates in Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director. Columbia is also known as a quality screenwriting school, with numerous courses available on the subject.

Ithaca Film School (Ithaca, NY) – Their Bachelor of Fine Arts combines instruction in film, art, photography, and all other visual mediums. Sample classes include cinema production I and II, Hollywood and American film, advanced cinema production, and photo workshop.

New York Film Academy (New York, NY) – See their entry under the Top Film Schools in California.

New York University TSOA Institute of Film and Television (New York, NY) – Also known simply as NYU, this is one of the leading film schools in the nation. Undergraduate classes are available, and graduate degrees are also offered. The university has an Asian campus in Singapore, and it features the same quality instruction available on the American campus. Some of their diverse classes include:

Best Film Schools in New Mexico

College of Santa Fe Moving Image Arts (Santa Fe, NM) – The college itself is over 150 years old, and students will have the opportunity to work on state-of-the-art sound stages, production offices, and backlot. Internships have previously been available on such motion pictures as North Country, Brothers, and No Country for Old Men.

Filmmaking Schools in North Carolina

University of North Carolina (Greensboro, NC) – Offering a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies, this film school allows students to produce documentary and narrative motion pictures, plus study video journalism, film history, film criticism, and television. While a specific degree plan can be followed, students are also encouraged to develop their own. Every other year, an average of 15 students are accepted into the school’s graduate program.

University of North Carolina Wilmington (Wilmington, NC) – Their Film Studies department provides students with a basic understanding of film history, business, and aesthetics. Technical aspects are also covered, and students are encouraged to develop skills such as critical thinking that can be used in other careers. Courses are taught by industry professionals, and workshops and internships are often available.

Top Film Schools in Ohio

Ohio University School of Film (Athens, OH) – Known for their quality graduate programs, students can choose from either a Master of Fine Arts or a Master of Arts in International Film. Creativity and diversity are greatly valued qualities.

Filmmaking Schools in Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma Film and Video Studies (Norman, OK) – The top film school in Oklahoma, this institution of higher learning is located just a short distance from Oklahoma City. Some of the classes currently available include:

Top Film Schools in Pennsylvania

Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design (Philadelphia, PA) – From their freshman year, students in the Film and Video program are introduced to digital filmmaking on their way to completion of their senior projects. Each year, only 50 students are accepted into this prestigious program, and formats include 16mm and video. Students will also have the opportunity to seek employment in the field while obtaining their degree.

Point Park University (Pittsburgh, PA) – While this school was formed as a business college in 1933, it has since expanded to become one of the best film schools in the nation. Two undergraduate programs are available: The BA in Cinema and Digital Arts focuses on directing, editing, producing, and cinematography. For those seeking a screenwriting school, the BA in Screenwriting emphasizes TV scripts, plays, movie screenplays, and writing for various other media.

Temple University Film and Media Department (Philadelphia, PA) – In addition to their standard classes and state-of-the-art equipment, the Film and Media department at Temple University also offers study abroad programs in London and Dublin. An L.A. internship program allows both graduates and undergraduates to receive hands-on experience in the heart of the entertainment industry while working towards a degree. Sample course for their film school include:

University of Pittsburgh Film Studies Department (Pittsburgh, PA) – Students can seek either a major or minor Film Studies. This includes courses on critical analysis, but the elements of production and post-production are also covered in a hands-on fashion. Graduate students may also pursue their MA or PhD in the field. The school’s instructors have lectured around the globe and are responsible for over 40 books on the subject of film and media. Guest lectures are frequently offered, and there are numerous film festivals and special events taking place during the year.

Filmmaking Schools in Texas

University of Texas Radio, Television, and Film (Austin, TX) – Students can choose to obtain a Bachelor of Science, Master of Fine Arts, MA, and PhD. Considered one of the 10 best film departments in the United States, the UT film program is located in the heart of the Texas film industry (which is populated by everyone from Robert Rodriguez to Richard Linklater). The school’s first degree in broadcasting was offered in 1939, and the department of Radio-Television-Film came about in 1965. Both scholarships and internships are available.

University of North Texas (Denton, TX) – Their Radio/TV/Film department offers an undergraduate degree in Radio, Television, Film or Converged Broadcast Media. For graduate students, degree programs offered consist of a Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Science. A growing program, the University of North Texas is located a short distance from the sprawling Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The school utilizes all the latest filmmaking equipment and provides a quality education on both theory and more practical applications. Their summer film school program is also highly recommended.

Top Film Schools in Utah

University of Utah Film Division (Salt Lake City, UT) – Offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts. The latter prepares students for a career in teaching or within the industry, and elements of production, screenwriting, and video must be completed. An animation studio is available, and film editing takes place on Kem 8-plate and Steenbeck 6-plate flatbed machines. Sound mixing is done with Pro Tools software, and 16mm cameras include Arriflex, Éclair, and Aaton. Formats for video include DVDPro HD, DVC Pro 25 and 50, Digital-8, and MiniDV. The school also contains a massive film library, complete with over 6000 titles.

Filmmaking Schools in Virginia

Regent University School of Communication (Virginia Beach, VA) – A Christian university dedicated to teaching students how to weave traditional values into high-quality cinematic narratives. Animation facilities are also available.

Virginia Commonwealth University Cinema Program (Richmond, VA) – Those seeing a Bachelor of Arts degree with be taught by working professionals, and an emphasis is placed on workshops and summer film school. The latest digital technologies are utilized, and the course can be completed in three years with intensive study. As students gain experience, they will also be eligible for internships with local production companies and film organizations.

Top Film Schools in Washington

Seattle Film Institute (Seattle, WA) – Since it was founded in 1994, the Seattle Film Institute has been offering students quality instruction on screenwriting, documentary filmmaking, HD production, directing, editing, cinematography, and film history. The 10-month Producing Program gives students all the tools they’ll need to produce films, while the 40 Week Total Immersion Filmmaking Program is perfect for those who want to learn the necessary skills to work in Hollywood (or anywhere else, for that matter). Youngsters looking for a summer film school should investigate their Teen Filmmaker Program.

University of Washington Cinema Studies (Seattle, WA) – This film program emphasizes film theory and film history over production techniques. Students will learn how film is shaped by the culture around it, and how culture, in turn, in influenced by film. A summer film school program is available in Beijing, China. Any student enrolled in a PhD program in the College of Arts and Sciences can pursue a Graduate Certificate Program in Cinema and Media Studies.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Radio, Television, and Film (Oshkosh, WI) – Established in 1964, the Radio-TV-Film department provides students with hands on experience and a foundation of critical analysis. Numerous extracurricular exist to allow students to take their interest in film to the next level, and both regional and national internships are available. Graduates have worked on films such as Iron Man 2, Mission Impossible III, Crank, Munich, Shutter Island, The Informant!, and Spider-Man 3.

University of Wisconsin Peck School of the Arts (Milwaukee, WI) – The Department of Film (located in the Peck School of the Arts) offers a BFA in Film and a MA in Film. The school focuses on each student developing as an individual, and instructors are all professionals working in the field. Students will be required to produce a number of individual films, from animated shorts and documentaries to narrative fiction.


While the institutional programs listed above specialize in individuals behind the camera, the following acting film schools are dedicated to those brave men and women who step in front of the lens and bare their soul. The schools listed are very exclusive and expensive, but those truly passionate about acting can always find a way.

Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut) – Working in concert with the Tony Award-winning Yale Repertory Theatre, the Yale School of Drama offers graduate-level training in the following areas: dramatic criticism, stage management, acting, design, directing, technical design, dramaturgy, theater management, playwriting, and production. Degree programs include a Master of Fine Arts, Doctors of Fine Arts, and a Certificate in Drama (for those who complete the program but do not hold an undergraduate degree).

Juilliard School (New York City, NY) – Established in 1905 as an academy of music, the Drama Division wasn’t created until 1968 (with actor John Houseman as its first director). Located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Juilliard is among the most exclusive of acting film schools. In fact, their annual acceptance rate is under 10 percent. A number of well-known performers have graduated from Juilliard, including Andre Braugher, Val Kilmer, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Christine Baranski, Ving Rhames, David Ogden Stiers, Robin Williams, Kevin Spacey, Christopher Reeve, Mandy Patinkin, Bebe Neuwirth, James Marsters, and Marcia Cross.

New York University (New York City, NY) – Part of the Tisch School of the Arts, the NYU drama department admits 18 students each year to its Master of Fine Arts program. In addition to their acting film school, they offer a four-year undergraduate program for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama. Other areas of study include the Department of Dance, The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and The Department of Performance Studies.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 11:59 am and is filed under Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Top Film Schools”

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June 23, 2010

Rebecca Clark

I’m glad you recognized two top film school programs in NC including UNC-Greensboro. There was a huge oversight though. We also are home to the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem (only 30 miles from UNC-G) – where many talented filmmakers were trained including – David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Ben Best, Danny McBride, (Ironically enough – who are all responsible for “Eastbound and Down” which you feature in the story listed directly under the article) Tim Orr, Jen Haire, Kevin Hickman, Jeff Nichols, and many other talents yet to be discovered. UNCSA merits being added to your list.

June 23, 2010


Thanks for the info, Rebecca. It’s most appreciated. Any school that turned out the hilarious Danny McBride is worth a mention!

June 25, 2010

Lemuel Marki

I don’t totally agree, but regardless a very well written post. I’ll link back, with my counter response 🙂

July 23, 2010

Rob Wilson

Just a quick note that I think Emerson College in Boston should be included as well.

September 14, 2010

Michael Notywla

i want be a film director and producer.

December 24, 2010


you can try out CRAFT film school in india

January 30, 2011


I think you are missing The University of Colorado at Boulder (Stan Brakhage was on their faculty.) It is one of the top Avante Garde Schools.

March 11, 2011

Sene Mor


My name is Sene Mor,i live in Lagos Nigeria where i’m currently studying Cinematography in one of the Most recognize Film institute in Nigeria which is Pefti Film Institute for a duration of 6 months which i’m going to be graduating from by Next Month.

The reason i am writing you there letter is because i want to further more on my dream course which is Cinematography because its what i believe in was born to do especially in the aspect of shooting Musical videos which i really would like to be based,through my search i discovered your school so i decided to send you these Message to know if i can gain admission into your school to study Cinematography because i feel i still have a lot to learn so that people would appreciate my work.

Pls i would like you to get back to me with the Necessary information and details i need to know so that i can know the next step to take if i would be able to study in your school.

I would be Glad to read back from you soon

July 2, 2011

Johnny B.

Nothing about schools outside the US?

July 5, 2011


Assuming you can read, I think you already know the answer.

October 9, 2011

Eskio Lemma

Hey everybody my name is Eskender Tesfaye and I am from Ethiopia. I would love to apply for Flilm School. So, if anybody knows how to apply and get to the schools please let me know by email address.


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