Entertainment Education 2016: The Best Showbiz Programs

AFI American Film Institute
courtesy of afi/alex lombardi

From bustling New York to sleepy Pasadena, these schools earn high marks when it comes to training the film, TV and media icons of tomorrow.

American Film Institute
Los Angeles
AFI’s two-year conservatory program prioritizes structure and extensive production experience, which leads to a massive total of 120 completed
short narratives each year. The school also offers a workshop for aspiring female directors, which launches with a three-week course to equip participants with the knowledge to create a short film or web/streaming service series.

Art Center College of Design
Boasting an acclaimed list of alumni that includes filmmakers Zack Snyder and Michael Bay, the Southern California private college provides its undergraduate and graduate film students with top-of-the-line equipment, an immersive curriculum and industry-relevant relationships to guide their professional development.

Boston University
Dept. of Film & Television, College of Communication
On the heels of establishing a one-year MFA program in 2015, BU has completed the construction of a 3,000-square-foot studio theater and production space. Its size will allow for groups across various disciplines to utilize the state-of-the-art facility simultaneously.

California State University, Fullerton, Dept. of Visual Arts
With an emphasis on animation and entertainment art, Cal State Fullerton provides its students with training through teaching cartooning and caricature and 3D computer animation. A bonus: the school works in partnership with Nickelodeon Animation Studios to develop additional educational and career opportunities for its students. Graduates of the program are working or animating for Cartoon Network, Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation and Electronic Arts, to name a few.

Le Femis Courtesy of kristen pelou

Colorado Film School
Though its student body is just over 500, the institution creates more than 1,000 films a year. With concentrations in screenwriting, producing, acting, directing, cinematography and post-production, students can explore nearly any aspect of filmmaking. The Denver-based school is also praised for its quality screening rooms, sound labs and editing suites.

Columbia University
School of the Arts
New York
After reaching the half-century milestone in 2015, the arts school — which offers programs in visual arts, theater, film studies, writing and sound arts — is now preparing for the 2017 launch of its multi-arts venue Lenfest Center of the Arts, which will host screenings, exhibitions and performances.

DePaul University, School of Cinematic Arts
Due to a partnership with Cinespace Chicago, whose credits include “Chicago PD” and “Empire,” the school’s cinematic arts students have the studio’s 10,000-square-foot soundstage at their disposal, which allows them to gain practical experience while taking classes alongside major Chicago-based TV and film productions.

Florida State University
College of Motion Picture Arts
Offering specializations in production and digital arts, FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts program values the art of storytelling and hands-on, project-based learning. Notable alumni from the public university include Marvel Studios exec Stephen Broussard, Participant Media exec Jonathan King and “The Maze Runner” director Wes Ball.

Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York
With a celebrated faculty of Emmy winners, filmmakers, producers and
other industry experts, Hofstra’s department of radio, television and
film prioritizes a strong liberal arts education. The department’s students have access to multiple film facilities and hundreds of internship opportunities in the New York City area.

New York Film Academy
New York
Representing countries like Brazil, Mexico, India, Hong Kong, France, Japan, the U.K. and Russia, NYFA’s student body 50% international. Students rotate between director, cinematographer, writer and editor roles on their own projects as well as the projects of fellow classmates.

Northwestern University
School of Communication
Evanston, Ill.
Undergrads pursuing the School of Communication’s radio/television/film major will study the media’s multicultural influences and also receive hands-on training. Graduate opportunities include an M.A./Ph.D in screen cultures.

Pratt Institute
New York
Students have access to pre-professional opportunities such as interning for the Museum of Modern Art, “Saturday Night Live” or a number of independent production companies in the media hub. Alums’ work can be found at MTV and USA Networks or Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, R.I.
In RISD’s Film/Animation/Video program, students have access to studios for film and puppet animation, digital editing and sound mixing rooms, and CGI and Mac workstations. Students’ works have been featured at such film festivals as Slamdance, Ottawa and Indiefest. RISD Animation work will be highlighted at the 2016 Melbourne Intl. Animation Festival.

Stanford University
Palo Alto
Stanford’s MFA in Documentary Film and Video consistently produces award-winning student work. Housed in the department of Art and Art History, the highly selective MFA combines production and theoretical coursework to prepare its students for careers in film, video and digital media. The program produced one student Academy Award bronze medal recipient in 2015 and an Academy Award nominee in 2014.

University of Texas at Austin
Moody College of Communication
Moody College’s Dept. of Radio-Television-Film offers students multiple resources to pursue their professional endeavors, including its Semester in Los Angeles program. The Moody College curriculum allows students to receive training in the areas of media studies, screenwriting and production.

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts
The Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres at UWM focuses on maintaining artistic and intellectual curiosity among its students. The school partners with the Milwaukee Intl. Film Festival, Milwaukee LGBT Film and Video Festival and other groups throughout the university and community.

Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tenn.
In Vanderbilt’s Cinema and Media Arts program, students are trained in 16mm and digital cinematography and immersed in diverse international cultures and critical and creative practices. For students seeking to break into entertainment, the Vandy Meets Hollywood program connects students with alumni and visits to major Hollywood studios.

Wesleyan University
Middletown, Conn.
Wesleyan’s film school teaches its students to write, direct and edit movies while also teaching them theory and history. Alumni include Joss Whedon, Benh Zeitlen and Laurence Mark.

Yale University
New Haven, Conn.
Students in the Film Studies program have the opportunity to develop a curriculum tailored to their interests. Offering undergrad and graduate degrees, Yale immerses students in history, theory and film criticism while allowing them a wide range of concentrations from film theory to race and gender studies and philosophy.


Beijing Film Academy
Beijing, China
James Cameron has been a visiting professor at China’s only film academy and the largest one in Asia, with over 2,300 students studying directing, screenwriting and producing. BFA has four professional studios featuring state-of-the-art production equipment and a world-class library covering an area of 22,000 square feet with an up-to-date collection of 325,600 books. Directors Xie Fei and Zhang Yimou are among the notable alumni.

German Film and Television Academy
Berlin, Germany
Founded in 1966, the German Film and Television Academy offers three main tracks: directing, cinematography and producing. Notable alumni include Wolfgang Petersen (“Das Boot”) and Wolfgang Becker, who co-wrote and directed “Good Bye Lenin!” The school also offers students exchange programs with such schools as La Femis and FAMU.

Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU)
Prague, Czech Republic
At 70 years, FAMU is one of the oldest film schools in Europe and offers 11 different courses of study, including directing, cinematography and sound design. The school is under the umbrella of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Notable alums include Milos Forman.

Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Rome, Italy
The Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia is divided into the National Film School and National Film Archive. Giancarlo Giannini is one of the school’s many renowned instructors. Notable graduates include director Gabriele Muccino (“Pursuit of Happyness”).

Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica
Mexico City, Mexico
Founded in 1975, CCC is an arm of Mexico’s National Council for Culture and Arts and offers three courses of instruction: filmmaking, screenwriting and production. Last year, alumnus Gabriel Serra was nominated for
an Oscar for his documentary short
“The Reaper.”

Universidad del Cine
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Founded in 1991 by Argentine director Manuel Antin, Universidad del Cine offers courses in cinematography, directing, screenwriting, animation
and film criticism. In a partnership with the Berlin Film Festival, the university sets up a yearly set of workshops, master classes and screenings called “Talents Buenos Aires.”

La Femis
Paris, France
Master class instructors at La Femis, considered France’s national film school, have included Francis Ford Coppola and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Notable alumni of the school, located at the former Pathé Studios in Paris, include Deniz Gamze Erguven, whose breakout 2015 film “Mustang” was nominated for a foreign language Oscar.

Filmacademy Vienna
Vienna, Austria
The only university-level film institute in Austria, the school is incredibly selective, admitting 15 to 20 new students each year. Oscar-nominated director Michael Haneke and DP Christian Berger are members of the school’s distinguished faculty.

National Film and Television School
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, U.K.
Founded in 1971, NFTS is the only film school in the U.K. with its own studios. The school offers 13 graduate tracks, including, editing and game design and development. The Oscar-nominated DP Roger Deakins is among the school’s graduates, who have worked on projects such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “Game of Thrones.”

The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv U.
Tel Aviv, Israel
The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television boasts an impressive list of notable grauates who have taken Hollywood by storm, including “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff and Hagai Levi, co-creator of “The Affair.”