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

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

Inside MM - Best Of

Perhaps you’re someone who dreams of a career in moviemaking, and has come to the realization that the discipline, experimentation and personal relationships that flourish in an academic setting are exactly what you need to thrive in your field.

Perhaps you’ve decided to put your energy and resources where those dreams are and go to film school. This is very likely to be one of the biggest decisions in your life, but you’ve made it.

Congratulations. But where, exactly, do you turn now? 

The household-name programs can seem like a recipe for insta-respect—and hey, they’re famous for a reason. But take an analogy from the world of film festivals: You don’t have to premiere at Cannes to have the experience that’s best for you. Let’s underscore that “for you” part again. Be clear and honest about your personal objectives (what’s your dream role on a production? What types of projects do you want to work on?), and match them with the most compatible institution—whether it’s the one with the great internship program, or the one with the fanciest equipment you’d never get to touch otherwise, or the one that’s 15 minutes from your house (or online).

Illustration by Josephine Kyhn

Out of the hundreds of bachelors and masters degree programs in the United States and Canada, we’ve chosen 40 that we believe represent the best of what higher education has to offer the film world, organized by region. We chose a quality of each school to spotlight, too, because even the most well-rounded program has its particular strengths. Some of these schools are fixtures on any academic best-of list, while others may be unexpectedly pleasant discoveries; some are brash new upstarts and some have been quietly churning out successful graduates for decades.

Either way—because of that decision you made—someday soon you might be listed on a “famous alumni” page. 

Start reading on the next page, or jump to a region here:

U.S. West

U.S. Northeast

U.S. Southwest

U.S. Midwest

U.S. Southeast



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  1. James Mayfield says:

    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.

  2. Jay S. says:

    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

  3. Adam Enaya says:

    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.

  4. Linda says:

    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. David Liban says:

    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.

  6. Cassandra says:

    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.

  7. mwebaza martin says:

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

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