Learning the cinema ropes

Among the better-known institutions such as AFI, Sundance Institute, the various IFPs, NYU, USC and UCLA, the following lesser-known organizations offer a diverse selection of courses of interest to the aspiring filmmaker.

School of Visual Arts, NYC. In addition to its four-year degree program, SVA offers extension courses and workshops year-round. Fees are $350 to $1,000, depending on materials. Approach is hands-on and professional, although not Hollywood-oriented. (212) 592-2000.

Film/Video Arts, NYC. The oldest and largest non-profit media arts center in the New York region. Provides year-round training, equipment rentals and editing facilities under one roof. Courses vary between technical and theoretical. Open to members only; membership costs $50. Prices: $250-$500. (212) 673-9361.

Assn. of Indie Vid & Film, NYC. Through the AIVF, free, small monthly meet-and-greets are organized in Gotham. Occasionally, workshops are offered. Salons, organized by members in 15 cities, may offer workshops. Example: San Diego’s fundraising workshop. For Salons: (212) 807-1400, ext. 222.

Bard College, Annandale-on-the Hudson, N.Y. A graduate program can be had in eight-week blocks over three summers. Each summer costs $5,906 and offers a one-on-one program with no courses. Instead, credits are earned through conferencing with professors and by presentation of work to the entire school and faculty body. (914) 758-7253.

Cleveland Film School’s Cleveland Filmmakers program: A new program organized by the Cleveland Film Society, this three-month series of workshops, demonstrations and discussions by local and Hollywood professionals continues through September. (216) 623-0400.

911, Seattle. Open to the public, although not an accredited school, 911 provides a variety of workshops mostly focused on the latest post-production and animation tools. Thanks to its non-profit status, 911 gets the newest software donated by the companies in Seattle, where much of the technology originates. Members get a discount on classes. Prices: $55 to $150. (206) 682-6552

Film Arts Foundation, S.F. Offers year-round courses on everything from pre- to post-production, distribution and screenwriting that range from daylong to 10 weeks. Open to public. Members get discounts. Prices: $8 to $400. (415) 552-8760.

The Bay Area Video Coalition, S.F. Offers more than 400 hands-on, low-cost video and multimedia pre- to post-production courses for all levels. Prices: $20 to $900 for Avid training. (415) 861-3282.

Maui Writers Conference, Retreat, and Writer’s Guild Roundtable: A yearly event at the Grand Wailea Hotel in Maui, Hawaii, that offers networking, advice and classes on the craft and business of writing in all genres, including the cinema. Offers one-on-one access to Hollywood professionals. Prices: Retreat: $1,175. Conference and Roundtable each: $595. (808) 879-0061 or (213) 782-4574 for WGA roundtable.

The Pacific New Media Center, U. of Hawaii at Manoa. With no film department of its own, UH created the center to lure cutting-edge industry course work. Year-round intensive workshops of all levels in film, video and digital media offered by Hollywood pros. Online chat rooms provide access to instructors before classes. Prices: $40 to $300. (808) 956-3422 (www.summer.hawaii.edu/online).

National Assn. of Media Arts & Culture: Membership organization that provides information about the various media centers across the U.S., most of which provide workshops and courses for indie filmmakers (www.igc.org/namec/).

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