Film School Progress Reports

A cheat sheet of new offerings, facilities and staff at the nation's top media programs

Film School Progress Report: Updates from the Top Media Programs

American Film Institute
AFI has exponentially increased the number of scholarships, boosting financial aid as a recruiting tool. Just named James L. Brooks as its new artistic director, taking over for the late Frank Pierson.

Boston U.
BU has recently completed the curriculum for a Cinema and Media Studies major, targeted at students who want to focus on the academic rather than production aspects of film.

Chapman-Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
The school’s Chapman Filmed Entertainment initiative wrapped production on its first feature, “Trigger,” directed by 2010 alum Basel Owies for a spring release.

Columbia U.
Expanded MFA program’s TV curriculum and added courses in new media producing. Also a $5 million screening room is under construction.

Emerson College
The school’s new L.A. facility is underway, expected to open in fall 2014. The program will offer undergrad and post-bac courses enhanced by local internship programs.

Florida State U.
Added a BFA in animation and digital arts to its undergraduate production curriculum, welcoming visual effects producer Jonathan Stone as a faculty member.

Gnomon School of Visual Effects
Launched one-week summer camps for L.A. high school students, giving 15- to 18-year-olds a chance for in-depth instruction and personalized studio time with industry pros.

Loyola Marymount U.
LMU’s post-graduate Incubator Lab will partner with Film Independent, providing alums access to mentorship programs and production equipment facilities.

New York U.
Last fall, the NYU Game Center welcomed the inaugural class for its new MFA in game design, featuring courses in programming, visual design and more. Undergrads have been able to minor in gaming since 2011.

Santa Fe U. of Art and Design
Unveiled Camera in Every Hand strategy, which gives every incoming film student a professional-caliber Canon T4i digital SLR camera. Also launched an online film certificate program.

Syracuse U.: College of Visual and Performing Arts
Enrollment in the L.A. program has swelled to 170. Two grad students were invited to study with Bernardo Bertolucci and Abbas Kiarostami at the Intl. Filmmaking Academy in Bologna, Italy.

This past year, UCLA/TFT launched two graduate MFA programs in acting and design, the first of their kind in the U.S. Also partnered with Participant Media to offer the Jake Eberts Fellowship for Social Impact Filmmaking.

U. of North Carolina School of the Arts
Appointed Susan Ruskin, formerly president of production at Middle Fork, as the school’s dean, replacing Jordan Kerner. Ruskin had served as head of the producing faculty since 2009.

In June, USC unveiled its Interactive Media Building housing the Interactive Media and Games Division, which announced the addition of four minors in games: animation, audio, design and entrepreneurialism.

U. of Texas at Austin
This fall, the school’s Radio-Television-Film department will launch the nation’s first 3D production curriculum, UT3D, which includes a lab funded by the Moody Foundation.