Students get hands-on experience at SFSDF.

The San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking is turning the idea of the traditional film school on its head. By throwing out the years of classroom lecturing, SFSDF has developed a truly cutting-edge curriculum for up-and-coming moviemakers. The Digital Filmmaking Intensive Program transforms students into small production teams, with each member expected to write, produce, direct and edit five films of his or her own while crewing on the others’ projects. Students explore every genre and all work is shot exclusively on HD equipment. “[SFSDF] students are prepared for the future,” says Shelby Stricklin, the school’s marketing director, “because they are learning how to make films using the latest tools and technologies.”But that learning isn’t limited just to the classroom. Third Street Films, SFSDF’s own production company, places students within a crew of seasoned industry professionals to produce a feature film. Students rotate through at least two production departments, gaining experience in different roles while (perhaps most importantly) developing relationships with those in the movie industry. “Working on a real movie set is a vital aspect of learning to become a filmmaker,” according to Stricklin.

But only students who feel that moviemaking is vital to their existence need apply—as all this work is completed within a year (The school also offers a five-week Digital Filmmaking Workshop.) Additionally, the beautiful Bay Area, with its artistic history, is an ideal alternative home for the digital moviemaking scene. With drive, talent and a top-notch education, SFSDF believes its students will be the ones to transform San Francisco into the new “Digital Hollywood.”

For more information, visit www.sfdigifilm.com.