Top Film Schools in the Country

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

The film industry may be battered, but plenty of students still want in. This past year, for example, applications at Loyola Marymount tripled, even as undergraduate tuitions rose, approaching — and in a few cases exceeding — $50,000 per year at the top schools. For its fourth annual ranking, THR conducted its widest-ever survey: More than 2,300 ballots were submitted from the guilds, Film Independent, the American Cinematheque and the schools themselves. Their responses, weighed with the help of educational insiders, resulted in a less Hollywood-centric list. Below were some of the Chicago schools that made the cut. To read the complete list of top film schools in the states, visit

14. Northwestern University
Northwestern, which ranked No. 8 on THR‘s Top 25 Drama Schools list, is renowned for a long line of acting alums from Charlton Heston to Zach Braff (who has returned to teach workshops). But its School of Communication also emphasizes writing. The school’s Mee-Ow improv group has proved a training ground for such Saturday Night Live players as Louis-Dreyfus and Seth Meyers.
Tuition $46,836 undergraduate; $36,900 MFA
Notable Alumni Anna Gunn, Warren Beatty, producer Ken Kamins (the Hobbit films)

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

17. DePaul University
DePaul’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media, headquartered in Chicago’s Loop, “is a very sexy film school,” says Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh, who starts teaching there this fall. Says actor alum David Dastmalchian (Prisoners). Recent visitors have included Paula Wagner and Andy and Lana Wachowski. Adjuncts are paid a relatively high $5,000 to $10,000 per class.
Tuition $33,390 undergraduate; $18,840 graduate
Notable Alumni Producer Amanda Pflieger (Animals)

20. Columbia College Chicago
Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago claims to be the largest U.S. film school, with about 1,800 BA, BFA and MFA students. That tally increases the odds its graduates will surface in Hollywood. About 200 students a year are admitted into the undergraduate Advanced Practicum program, which has turned out director Collin Schiffli and the rest of the team behind South by Southwest special jury award winner Animals.
Tuition $22,884 undergraduate; $1,077 per credit MFA
Notable Alumni TV and film producer Robert Teitel, director George Tillman Jr., documentary producer Diane Weyermann

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