What are the best film schools?

By Benjamin Craig, filmmaking.net

This is actually a difficult question to answer, because it really depends on what you want to get out of your film school experience, and is also dependent on which country you wish to study in. A lot of it comes down to the type of course you want to do (i.e. length of study, breadth of subjects covered, ratio of theory to practice etc), but also whether you feel the reputation of the institution will help you in your career. Certainly film schools with good reputations can have a positive impact on your career development, however with film courses it far less valuable than it is for say, a law degree. In the film industry, it is talent and track record that will get you far, not your alumni status.

Unsurprisingly, the institutions with the best global reputations are predominantly in the United States:

Outside of the US, only two institutions have been able to build similar reputations: the UK's National Film and Television School (NFTS), and the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School (AFTRS). There are of course many other fine institutions in other countries too they just haven't managed to gain the same level of international reputation as these schools (yet).

Finding the best film school ultimately comes down to research (and knowing what type of course you want, and what you can afford). Start your research with the following sites:

filmmaking.net(!)
This site already runs the largest film school database available on the web. www.filmmaking.net/directory/filmschools/

FOCAL
A Swiss site covering a wide range of film and television training areas, with an extremely comprehensive searchable database of international film schools. www.focal.ch

Film School Confidential: The Insiders' Guide to Film Schools
A useful companion to the book of the same name. Contains a good deal of info. www.tomedgar.com/fsc/

American Cinematographer
The magazine of the American Cinematographer's Society (ASC) has produced an overview of some of the top US film schools, which is available at their website. www.theasc.com

CineMedia
Maintains a list of links to colleges and universities that offer courses in media. www.cinemedia.org

Last updated 9-Dec-2008

Reader Comments

inaccurate, 9-Jul-2010
This list is inaccurate. Bot Columbia University (New York City) and Chapman (Orange ... read more...
the counselor, 15-Apr-2010
Florida State University film school in their college of motion picture arts must be ... read more...
MR, Berlin, 13-Mar-2010
"There are of course many other fine institutions in other countries too they just ... read more...
Kjirstin Youngberg, 7-Aug-2009
Many of today's filmmakers have high praise for a somewhat surprising up & coming U.S... read more...
Tom, 5-Mar-2008
You probably meant Cal Arts (California Institute of the Arts), not Cal Tech.... read more...
sarena valilis, 29-Feb-2008
there are many factors to consider when deciding which is the best film school for yo... read more...

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