The Best Film Schools In The U.S. and Canada 2019: These 40 Forward-Thinking Programs Will Prime You For a Fruitful Film Future

U.S. West and Northwest

AFI Conservatory (Los Angeles, CA) – Extensive Exceptional Training

Set in the Hollywood Hills, the AFI Conservatory expects its students to learn the art of film on the job using their initiative and the school’s state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.

With accomplished industry mentors and a Senior Filmmaker-in-Residence, the faculty keeps its class sizes small and respects the intelligence and passion that drives its storytellers-in-training.

Using a hands-on approach to learning the nuts and bolts of film, the Conservatory puts its focus into getting films made, producing more than 120 short narrative productions every year.

AFI has six MFAs available in Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design, and Screenwriting.
And if you don’t already have an undergraduate degree, you will be considered for acceptance as an Associate Fellow.

One of AFI’s leading lights is Oscar-winning British filmmaker Andrea Arnold. Formerly a children’s television host and actress in the U.K., she studied directing at AFI and later garnered an Academy Award for her 2003 short film “Wasp.” She’s gone on to direct acclaimed features such as Red Road, Fish Tank, and American Honey, which have all won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Alumna Rachel Morrison was the first woman to be nominated for a Best Cinematography Oscar for her work on 2017’s Mudbound.

Other award-winning alumni include director David Lynch, writer-directors Darren Aronofsky, Amy Heckerling, and Patty Jenkins, and cinematographers Wally Pfister, Robert Richardson, and Janusz Kamiński.

AFI Directing Discipline Head Adam Salky says, “Everything that happens at the AFI Conservatory is driven by the enormous amount of production that goes on here. AFI Fellows direct between five to 10 films in two years. It’s a breakneck pace. The films they make are so full of passion and experimentation, but the best thing about their time here is watching the amount of personal growth that occurs within each Fellow. The faculty is second to none. Also, AFI is a melting pot of diversity, both in terms of people—nearly 50 percent of Fellows are female—and narrative points of view.”

Screenwriting class of 1994 alumnus Brad Falchuk, who co-created the TV show Glee, says, “At AFI, you’ll meet with collaborators you’ll work with for your entire career. I’ve worked with alumni from AFI on every one of my projects. The AFI Conservatory is for artists who are serious about finding their voice and have stories to tell. It’s an amazing experience, and it will change your life.”

1 Comment

  1. Tom Peterson

    September 25, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Surprisingly, the Olympic College Film School (Bremerton, WA), a comprehensive accredited program with two and four-year options, with an outstanding faculty, new facilities designed just for the film school, new technology with a focus on Digital Filmmaking, access to Seattle-based companies, and the lowest four-year tuition around (less than $35,000) was missed.

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