The United States is the best destination for international students who want to become the next Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, or Tom Hanks.
So, you’ve always loved films. You used to memorize entire movies by watching them again and again, you know everything about the filmmakers involved, and wish to carry that passion forward by attending one of the top film schools in the USA.
But you are not sure where to go? You want to make sure you’re attending one of the best film schools in the country, one that fits your definitive needs, wants, and specifications.
Well, we are here to rundown a handy list of some of the best film schools in the USA
University of Southern California – Los Angeles
Constantly witnessed as one of the top film schools of all time, chances are that if you have a favorite American filmmaker, they probably graduated from here such as John Carpenter, Ryan Coogler, Robert Zemeckis, the list goes on and on. Steven Spielberg got rejected from the film school, eventually got an honorary degree, and became a trustee.
Arguably the best film school in California, a state known for being full of great film schools it features brand-new facilities, innovative programs focusing on animation and VR, and some of the best and highly paid professors in the country. Though it’s not cheap, a typical undergraduate year will cost you close to $60,000 but it seems like you get plenty of bang for your buck, with USC as an unparalleled national film and television school.
New York University – New York
Scrutinized the east coast version of USC, New York University exhibits a similarly high-profile list of attendees, including Vince Gilligan, Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin, Joker director Todd Phillips, and Mahershala Ali.
It is notable how diverse the successful graduates from NYU are, with award-winning female filmmakers Reed Morano, Dee Rees, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison all having walked the hallowed NYU halls.
Also, NYU is just as expensive as USC. Still, NYU is one of the best film schools in New York and certainly one of the best film schools in the USA.
University of California Los Angeles – Los Angeles
While seen as slightly less renowned than USC, UCLA is unquestionably one of the best film schools in California.
It exhibits plenty of starry alumni incorporating Steven Spielberg’s producing partner, Frank Marshall, and Alexander Payne with several high profile sales and cutting-edge facilities. But perhaps the best, most appealing aspect of UCLA is the price, in-state applicants can attend for a little over $15,000 a year, which is a fraction of what most top tier film schools will set you back.
Columbia University – New York
Attending Columbia University is everyone’s dream. The campus on Manhattan’s extremely lovely Upper West City is absolutely stunning, made even more so by the recent addition of the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a facility that incorporates a brand new, 150-seat theater and the school’s new, technologically advanced post-production facility.
The filmmakers who have attended the school are enough to inspire anybody including Kathryn Bigelow, Frozen filmmaker and Walt Disney Animation Studios bigwig Jennifer Lee, Lisa Cholodenko, and Deborah Chow, who was recently tapped to direct the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series for Disney+.
University of Texas, Austin – Austin
Another technologically-minded campus, with some truly ultramodern facilities incorporating one of the biggest green screen stages outside of Hollywood and a healthy dose of “we can do that too” attitude, befitting a city with a booming film industry and list of notable Texas film personalities.
Easily one of the best film schools in Texas, UT is also recognized for a graduate-level program that pairs students with established showrunners, in a shot to fashion an entire season of television. It gets even better if you live in Texas, with the undergraduate program costing around $11,000 a year.
California Institute of the Arts – Valencia
If you want to work in animation, there’s really only one school you should attend and absolutely only one you ever dream about, CAL Arts.
Founded in 1961 by Walt Disney, it has been largely used as a farm school since, with several fabulous industry professionals incorporating Brenda Chapman, Tim Burton, Henry Selick, John Musker, and Brad Bird, who named his production company after the storied A113 classroom having attended classes here.
Why these alumni prosper is because of how all-around and practical their education at CAL Arts really is. And unlike most schools, chances are you’ll get prepared before graduating, which will at least let you get a jump on those troublesome student loans USA.
The American Film Institute, Los Angeles
If you want diversification in your film school AFI boasts a 50/50 of male and female students studying the craft. Popular Alumni like Rachel Morrison, Sam Esmail, and Mimi Leder lead the way and show how many different professions are available after graduation. To get you there, the professors help clear up your perception and give you a real taste of what to expect within the industry.
The main advantage is the hands-on experience you get with professors who are working professionals. You get to learn a lot while working with them.