The Best Film Schools in the U.S. and Canada 2017: Film Programs to Shape You Into the Next Moviemaking All-Star

U.S. Northeast 

Accelerated Industry Access: Boston University

Bicoastal presence and a student-run content distribution network (BUTV10) and production company (Hothouse Productions) position BU as a pipeline for accomplished talent. Hollywood internship opportunities are available for both undergrad and grad students through the school’s Wilshire campus, under the guidance of industry mentors. BU’s connections abroad allow for programs in London and Sydney, too. Recent alumni successes include Joshua Weinstein, director of Sundance 2017 film Menashe, and creator of the YouTube series Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak. 

Outstanding Producing Training: Columbia University

Outstanding Directing Training: Drexel University

Putting cameras into student’s hands in their first week, Drexel University takes hands-on training to new dimensions. With only 16 pupils per production class, aspiring creators are guaranteed one-on-one time with faculty such as independent director Alison Bagnall (Buffalo ’66). “Students love our new Micro-budget Filmmaking course,” adds Film & Video Program Director Tom Quinn, “which examines features made for under $50,000 and requires them to make a short without Drexel equipment.” Drexel also has a study abroad program in Havana, where undergrads make a documentary short over winter break. 

Outstanding Screenwriting Training: Emerson College

Apart from being the only school in the country to offer a BFA in Comedic Arts, Emerson stands out for its intensive two-year Writing for Film and Television MFA, taking place between the Boston and L.A. campuses. Participants experience a six-day on-campus residency with workshops tackling diverse subjects: shorts, episodic TV, narrative features, and breaking into the business. Special topics include Comedy Writing for Television and Writing the Adaptation. “Each semester we feature a marquee-name film or television writer”—such as Jill Soloway, the Spring 2017 Semel Chair in Screenwriting—“who spends two days conducting workshops and masterclasses,” says Director of Graduate Admission Leanda Ferland.

Outstanding Cinematography Training: New York University

Outstanding Animation Training: Rhode Island School of Design

“RISD fosters personal vision, individual expression and the extension of the animation medium itself,” says professor Amy Kravitz. The Animation Track at RISD is a comprehensive entryway into the many techniques in the field, which have landed grads positions at studios such as indie leader Laika. Many RISD alums have worked on The Simpsons, to cite one example. Alumni Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden received a 2014 Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short for “Feral.” Campus facilities include animation stand studios and stop-motion animation studios.

Accomplished Faculty: School of Visual Arts

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8 Comments

  1. mwebaza martin

    August 7, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I need to join a film school through movie maker…what should I do

  2. Cassandra

    July 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  3. David Liban

    July 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I would like to point out the CU Denver is really a significant hands-on film program. Its a BFA program with 72 credit hours largely made up of production classes. Students leave with a large portfolio of films and are prepared to enter the industry. They also produce a web series each year that students write, produce, direct and edit. http://www.cudenverfilm.org

  4. Linda

    July 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Correction under Film Centers:

    Northwest Film Forum is located in Seattle, not Portland. However, Portland does have its own film center called the Northwest Film Center which not only provides a variety of workshops and classes for all ages but they host their own film screenings and festival (Portland International FF). They also have quite a great stock of reasonably priced equipment rentals for local students, amateurs and professionals. I believe they’re the only film center in the Pacific NW?

  5. Adam Enaya

    July 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I only needed to read their opinions of the west coast schools to see that this list is a joke. How much did National University pay to have a write-up in MovieMaker? By the way, what’s an admission fee? Do you mean tuition? Their prices must be rock bottom then.

  6. Jay S.

    July 20, 2017 at 7:41 am

    With alumni that have worked on projects such as Jurassic World (visual FX), “Get On Up: The James Brown story” and “42” (main role in both cases), “Avengers Age of Ultron” (Post-production) and the highly anticipated “Black Panther” Marvel movie, as well as the upcoming Martin Scorsese movie “The Irishman”, currently in production, I’m surprised not to see Digital Film Academy included here!

    A friend of mine goes there and I’m considering it too. Their tuition is MUCH lower than New York Film Academy, they have film jobs for the students and anyone who studies there an use the school equipment afterwards for life.

    Jay Smith

  7. James Mayfield

    July 19, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Nice to see some options for students not willing/can’t make the trip to high-rent neighborhoods or bustling metropolitan. Lots of people think that LA/NY are the only options for schools, but there are alternatives. Though I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks these 2 areas aren’t the industry kings in NA.

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