Want to become the next Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese?

25/01/20206 minute read
Want to become the next Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese?

Film School

Check out eight of the top film schools the world has to offer.

Are you a Netflix buff? Perhaps you are even considering writing your own script or producing a documentary that takes the world by storm? Whether you prefer to be in front of the screen or behind it where all the action happens, the USA and UK are home to some of the best film schools in the world and have the alumni to match!

Take a look below at eight of the best film schools in the world:

1. USC School of Cinematic Arts:

Location : Los Angeles

Lights, camera, action! The hustle and bustle of LA in California is home to the University of Southern California and its world famous School of Cinematic Arts.

Established in 1929 as a part of the USC Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the film school has been voted the best of its kind in the world multiple times, it’s list of visiting fellows and professors including Alfred Hitchcock, Drew Caspar, Tomlinson Holman and Leonard Maltin. In 2006, George Lucas donated $175 million to both expand the school and provide endowment to prospective talented students - a donation thaich at the time was the largest single donation in USC history.

Needless to say, the school is extremely competitive, with acceptance rates as low as 2-3% which covers all areas of the film industry including:

  • Film production.
  • Screenwriting.
  • Cinema and media studies.
  • Animation and digital arts.
  • Media arts and practice.
  • Interactive media and games.
  • Peter Stark Producing Program and the Business of Entertainment.

2. American Film Institute:

Location: Los Angeles

American Film Institute (AFI) is well known for its infamous AFI Fest held annually in October; when students submit their film to a judging panel, and just like a mini Cannes Festival, the best of the best up and coming directors, producers and actors are on show.

More than 125 films are showcased across the 8 day festival period which has attracted guests of Hollywood old and new including Steve McQueen and Nicole Kidman. The festival is also recognised as a qualifying festival for short films for the Academy Awards.

The institute was founded in 1965 with the intent to “preserve the American film heritage, educate the next generation of filmmakers and honor the artists and their work”.

Their programs include:

  • Exhibitions across America displaying their past films and work.
  • Various workshops aimed to inspire storytelling in the community, such as the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the Cinematography Intensive for Women.
  • Honoring current, remarkable filmmakers with the AFI Life Achievement Award.
  • Preservation measures intended to teach the younger generation about the history of film through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive preservation project.

3. UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television:

Location : Los Angeles

With the school claiming fame to alumni such as Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Mark Harmon, renowned UCLA is a strong player in offering highly respected course offerings in film and television.

Founded in 1947, the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television (UCLA:TFT) was originally known as the Theatre Arts Department before it slowly adapted into the film school it is today. The first Dean of UCLA:TFT was the renowned film and Broadway director, Gilbert Cates, who was soon followed by Robert Rosen in 1999.

The Department includes courses for:

  • Acting.
  • Design/Production.
  • Directing.
  • Musical Theater.
  • Playwriting.
  • Integrated studies.
  • Critical studies.
  • Film and television.
  • Film and television writing and directing.
  • Cinematography.
  • Sound recording.
  • Editing.

4. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts):

Location: Los Angeles

CalArts was established in 1961 by Walt Disney and his brother with the intent to teach and guide the next generation of film directors and animators. These days it is an all-inclusive community for a diversity of ‘authentic voices’ and offers more than 70 comprehensive degree programs in the visual, performing, media and literary arts.

It offers 4 main courses in film:

  • Character Animation - designed for students who seek an understanding of the art of character performance and storytelling in animation.
  • Experimental Animation - designed for innovative artists wishing to develop personal visions within the ever-expanding parameters of animation.
  • Film and Video - designed for students who use film and video as media for personal expression and exploration.
  • Film Directing - enabling students to develop innovative approaches to storytelling based on examining the broad spectrum of narrative cinema.

5. New York Film Academy

Location : New York

The New York Film Academy was established by veteran producer, Jerry Sherlock, in 1992 as a reaction to the competitiveness of other, more expensive film schools around the area. Sherlock devised a new curriculum, mixing old traditional film techniques with new ideas to spark students' passion for film at a more economical price compared to other highly sought after film schools in New York City.

Some of the courses available are:

  • Filmmaking.
  • Acting
  • 3D Animation and Visual Effects
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Cinematography
  • Digital Editing
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Game Design
  • Musical Theatre
  • Photography
  • Producing
  • Screenwriting

The Academy is also known for attracting exceptional guest speakers such as Al Pacino, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Glenn Close.

6. National Film and Television School

Location : Beaconsfield, UK

For the Harry Potter fans out there, the opportunity to inhabit the theatres and editing rooms of the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield also represents the chance to follow in the footsteps of renowned Harry Potter director, David Yates. The School is also able to claim alumni who have gone onto win 11 Oscars and 138 BAFTAs. The National Film and Television School offers the most “behind the camera” courses of any film school including it’s famous masterclasses which allow students to hear from acclaimed Film, TV and Games makers from around the world.

Founded in 1971, the school has a rich history being built on the grounds of the Beaconsfield Studios and George Clark Productions, where Beauty and the Beast was born as a stage play in 1921. It is the only film school in the UK with it’s own film and television studios and post production facilities to rival professional companies.

The school offers hundreds of courses including:

  • Cinematography
  • Composition for films
  • Creative Business for Entrepreneurs.
  • Digit effects.
  • Directing.

7. NYU Tisch School of the Arts:

Location : New York

NYU Tisch was founded in 1965 - its initial goal of turning budding filmmakers into Oscar winners soon expanding and diversifying to include courses in dance, lighting and cinema studies. As the school grew so did the size of newly constructed performance centers with the most recent being the NYU Game Center built in 2012.

Courses include:

  • Dance, Drama and Performance studies.
  • Cinema studies, Undergraduate Film and Television and Dramatic Writing.
  • Recorded Music, Interactive Media Arts, Photographer and Imaging.

Notable alumni of the school include Lady Gaga, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Jessica Alba.

8. Toronto Film School:

Location: Toronto, Canada

The environment at this Canadian-based film school is very high-energy and fast moving - a necessary prerequisite if you want to keep up with highly motivated, progressively creative students keen to try their hands at the wide and diversified variety of courses available.

The school offers creative programs, run by professionals who focus, not just of creative input, but the practicalities of filmmaking which leads to employment opportunities and as such a student’s future success as a television or filmmaker.

The courses offered include:

  • Film Production.
  • Video Game Design and Animation.
  • Marketing for Fashion and Entertainment.
  • Acting for TV, Film and The Theatre.
  • Video Game Design and Development.
  • Writing for Film and TV.
  • Fashion Design.
  • Graphic Design and Interactive Media.
  • ESL Gateway.