You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Entertainment Education: Schools On The Move

These innovative and cutting-edge programs offer competitive, top-notch training in all areas of film, TV and media.

California Institute of the Arts
Known for its quality animation instruction and cutting-edge animation lab, CalArts’ undergraduate character animation program has produced 10 Oscar winners, the most recent being Pete Docter, who directed the 2015 Oscar-winning animated film “Inside Out.” Beyond animation, the private university’s students are exploring immersive entertainment, creating audiovisual material intended for audiences in a 360-degree viewing environment. Recent events include workshops with “Tangerine” director Sean Baker and “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner.

California State University Northridge, Dept. of Cinema and Television Arts
Los Angeles

With seven areas of specialized study, the department’s film production alums have gone on to receive Cannes Film Festival, DGA and Emmy honors. The university also produces its own film series, Cinematheque. The year-round program presents thematic film retrospectives, guest lectures and panel discussions. Earlier this year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voiced their support for CSUN’s film education initiatives with a $2 million donation to the department. For those angling to get into sports media, CSUN Sports Network just launched a new web series.

Chapman University, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Among other accomplishments, Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts recently launched an MFA in documentary filmmaking and a certificate program in Shenzhen, China. Recent distinguished visitors to the school have included “Deadpool” co-creator Rob Liefeld, producer Joe Roth and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who returned to the campus for her third semester of teaching a movie marketing course.

Popular on Variety

Columbia College Chicago

The Midwestern liberal arts school’s comprehensive Cinema Art and Science program offers students a wide choice of career paths. They can also participate in Columbia’s five-week Semester in Los Angeles program, where they’ll establish industry connections and become exposed to the real-world business of entertainment. For many students in the program, which is situated on a historic studio lot, the networking opportunities made during this immersive course have led to post-grad jobs.

Relativity School Courtesy of chandler kravitz

Emerson College Dept. Of Visual & Media Arts School

One of the first northeastern
schools to establish a satellite campus in Los Angeles, the communications school’s Sunset Boulevard location has allowed entertainment industry hopefuls to pursue an education in the heart of the industry. Emerson boasts an extensive internship course as the core of its L.A. curriculum. Admission into the program will grant students access to Emerson’s internship database, which they can search for a placement that supports their academic track
and career goals.

Ithaca College, Roy H. Park School of Communications
Ithaca, N.Y.

Aiming to produce students skilled in various forms of media, Park School’s film program provides education across multiple disciplines, combining traditional film production courses with instruction in photography, video editing and drawing. The East Coast school recently expanded its curriculum with the addition of a minor in animation, a graduate degree in image text and an undergraduate degree in writing for TV, film and emerging media.

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television
Los Angeles

SFTV hones its image as a “studio conservatory” through classroom environments that emphasize accessibility to faculty and equipment and career-oriented internship and post-grad programs with studios and production entities like Ken Burns’ Florentine Films. Partnerships with the Ghetto Film School, a post-grad Incubator Lab with Film Independent, the Hollywood Masters speaker series and the business-oriented Steed Symposium underscore SFTV’s commitment to provide all students with a wealth of educational and career opportunities.

Ringling College of Art and Design Courtesy of nancy nassiff/ringling college of art and design

Los Angeles Film School
Los Angeles

Since 1999, the Film School has proved career-focused bachelor and associate of science degrees in film, entertainment business, animation and vfx, graphic design, recording arts and music production. Grads have gone on to work on Oscar-winning projects like “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the Clio-winning virtual experience “The Walk.” LAFS was also named one of the best schools for veterans for three consecutive years.

Mount Saint Mary’s University
Los Angeles

Film, Media & Communication students have interned at Fox, and ABC News, while grad students and alumni have found permanent placement at Sony and produced commercials for Nike and Apple. The university recently forged a strategic partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to create new research and educational programs.

New York University Tisch School of the Arts
New York

Its extraordinary roster of graduates includes Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee (who’s also a professor there) and Joel Coen. Current and aspiring undergraduate and graduate students can pursue studies in an array of disciplines at the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, from production and cinema studies to video art, as well as the Stern/Tisch BS/BFA.

Pepperdine University Institute for Entertainment, Media and Culture

With its collective goal to prepare students across varying majors — arts, business, communication — for a career in media, the IEMC, in collaboration with Pepperdine’s five colleges, fosters a sense of entrepreneurship and creativity in its participants, offering classes such as A Social Secience Perspective on Film, Cinematic Media Development and Writing for Screen and Television.

Relativity School
Los Angeles

The only entertainment education effort launched from a studio, Relativity School operates on a working studio lot and provides students with very practical, hands-on training, as well as high-level academics. Relativity also has a global imprint — the school was recently commissioned to establish a below-the-line professional development certification program for locals in Curacao. Relativity students benefit from its Innovation & the Entrepreneur class.

Ringling College of Art and Design
Sarasota, Fla.

The college is building a state-of-the-art soundstage and post-production facility, slated to open in December. The Studio Lab program has hosted visits by Kevin Smith and Helen Hunt, among others. Ringling grads have gone on to work on the Oscar-winning “Inside Out,” among other projects.

Santa Fe School of Art and Design
Santa Fe, N.M.

BFA students can take advantage of the school’s expansive production facilities, including soundstages at Garson Studios and an exceptional array of scholarships and awards like the Robert Redford/Milagro Initiative program for students whose film work focuses on social and environmental issues.

Syracuse University Courtesy of courtesy syracuse dept. of VPA

Sarah Lawrence College
Yonkers, N.Y.

The college, whose notable graduates include J.J. Abrams and new SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, combines the experience of a liberal arts college with the vast opportunities available at a major metropolitan college. Classes offered include screenwriting and cinematography. The college will also host a Summer Film Intensive workshop for high school students and adults through its partnership with the International Film Institute.

Savannah College of Art & Design
Savannah, Ga.

SCAD gives students a chance to pursue their goals at the 60,000-square-foot SCAD Digital Media Center or the new Savannah Film Studios, which allows for industry-level productions. Their work can then be showcased at the Savannah Film Festival.

Syracuse University School of Visual & Performing Arts
Syracuse, N.Y.

The SU:VPA Film program offers a rigorously structured curriculum of production and core classes in its first two years; juniors and seniors choose their own paths, including study in Poland, the Czech Republic or Los Angeles, where the Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester and its Sorkin in L.A. Learning Practicum (founded by alum Aaron Sorkin) offers a one-semester program that provides juniors and seniors with a unique opportunity to take entertainment industry-related academic courses while working part-time as interns at media companies.

UCLA, School of Theater, Film and Television
Los Angeles

TFT graduates boast a remarkable success rate at the box office and during award season. Features produced and directed by alumni between 2014 and 2016, including “Jurassic World,” reaped more than $4 billion worldwide, while TV, stage and film efforts by TFT alum claimed Emmys, WGA, SAG and Peabody Awards. Current TFT students have been featured in Variety’s 2015 110 Students to Watch report and won at the 2016 DGA Student Film Awards.

UCSC, Film and Digital Media Dept.
Santa Cruz

The university’s diverse curriculum includes bachelor of arts degrees in both the study of and production of media, as well as two unique programs in social documentation and film and digital media. The SocDoc MA trains future filmmakers in film production and aesthetics for socially committed documentary projects, while the Ph.D. in Film & Digital Media unites creative practice and theory.

University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts
Los Angeles

More than 13,000 USC SCA alumni are prominent figures in film, TV, gaming and media studies; alumni have also been nominated for either an Oscar or Emmy every year since 1973. The school has also committed to developing new talent through an array of programs, including USC Comedy, the Institute for Creative Technologies, USC Games Publishing and the newly funded Jaunt Cinematic Virtual Reality Lab. This month, SCA will showcase the winners of its First Look Film Festival to reps from major agencies: UTA, CAA and WME.

University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Filmmaking students hit the ground running at UNCSA, shooting and directing six digital films in their first two years, before choosing to concentrate on directing, producing, animation and more. This year, UNCSA filmmaking students had access to industry professionals such as Michael Miller, John Roberts and Darren Miller.

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Hollywood’s 10 Worst Depictions of Female Music Journalists

    As controversy builds around “Richard Jewell” and its depiction of female journalists, it’s nothing new for women music writers on the silver screen. Although “Crazy Heart,” which premiered 10 years ago this month, was basically 2009’s equivalent of Bradley Cooper’s remake of “A Star Is Born,” it hasn’t had quite the staying power of some [...]


    Secuoya, Planeta Launch Madrid Content City, Site of Netflix’s First European Production Hub

    Spain’s Secuoya Studios has teamed with publishing giant the Planeta Group to expand Madrid Content City, the audiovisual complex that hosts Netflix first European Production Hub. Madrid Content City will multiply by a factor of seven its current operating area of 22,000 square-meters (236,806 square-feet). In total, Madrid Content City will span 140,000 square-meters (1.5 [...]

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content