The Hollywood Reporter Unveils the Top 25 Film Schools of 2013
USC boasts a new Interactive Media Building; AFI counters it's got James L. Brooks as its new artistic director. In its third annual ranking, THR surveys the nation's top institutions as they compete to turn out Oscar winners.
16. Syracuse University
Students who want to work in European cinema should consider a detour through Syracuse, N.Y. "We're the only U.S. film school among the 15 schools in the International Filmmaking Academy," says Syracuse professor and IFA vp Owen Shapiro. The academy's president is Italian producer-director Gian Vittorio Baldi. And at its annual workshop in Bologna, Italy, in July, the master teachers were directors Abbas Kiarostami and Bernardo Bertolucci -- two Syracuse interns are currently working with Bertolucci. IFA schools include Rome's National Film School. Syracuse also has a junior-year program at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts. At the 10th Syracuse International Film Festival in October, expect guests as eminent as past visitors Ed Harris, Edward James Olmos, Moshe Mizrahi, Thomas Newman and Albert Maysles.
► Tuition: $40,000 undergrad; $23,292 graduate
► Notable Alumni: Producer Thom Oliphant, director Jong-chan Yoon (My Paparotti)
17. Florida State University
FSU's College of Motion Picture Arts was disappointed when Digital Domain, the VFX house that partnered with FSU for the West Palm Beach Digital Domain Institute, filed Chapter 11 last year. "At the end of the day, that journey made FSU's film school an even cooler place for our students," says dean Frank Patterson. Key Digital Domain players joined FSU full time to lead its new Animation and Digital Arts program, including Hugo VFX artist Jonathan Stone and Disney veteran Chuck Williams. Big-name guests like director Kirby Dick visit the Tallahassee campus, and Tribeca Enterprises chief creative officer Geoffrey Gilmore is a distinguished lecturer at FSU.
► Tuition: $ 25,896 undergraduate ($86,117 out-of-state)
► Notable Alumni: Marvel senior vp production and development Stephen Broussard, Participant Media executive vp production Jonathan King
18. Wesleyan University
Wesleyan might not be as well known as industry mainstays USC and UCLA, but the school, located in Middletown, Conn., is revered in liberal arts circles. And the industry sure recognizes the prominent names that have graduated from the program created by film professor and historian Jeanine Basinger. "Our alumni have the big blockbusters like [X-Men Origins:] Wolverine, written by David Benioff, and Star Trek Into Darkness, written by Alex Kurtzman," Basinger says. "But also they make the small indies at the other end, like Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild." Marc Shmuger, the former Universal co-chairman, is a Wesleyan alum who bridges both worlds: He recently produced Alex Gibney's doc We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. Says Basinger: "We don't conform to a style, we reflect the liberal arts tradition -- our graduates are everywhere."
► Tuition: $46,674 undergraduate
► Notable Alumni: Matthew Weiner, Joss Whedon
19. Rhode Island School of Design
Animation shares equal billing with film and video in the Film/Animation/Video department, so it's no wonder that graduates such as Seth MacFarlane have gone on to dominate the genre in TV and film animation. Based in Providence, R.I., RISD's art-school setting means that experimentation is encouraged.
► Tuition: $42,622 undergraduate
► Notable Alumni: Cinematographer Robert Richardson (Hugo), director Gus Van Sant
20. Stanford University
Jan Krawitz, director of Stanford's MFA program in Documentary Film & Video, was recently interviewed by PBS' POV series in a piece titled "Should Aspiring Documentary Filmmakers Go to Film School?" The answer was pretty much: Sure, if you can get into Stanford. Eight students per class have three principal professors, including Krawitz. Since 1984, 24 Student Academy Awards for documentaries have gone to Stanford-trained talents, who learn how to write proposals, do preproduction, research, shoot, record sound, edit, hawk their work and chat up Errol Morris at Telluride. During the course of the two-year program, students emerge with three films, plus a fourth they co-direct and credits on other students' projects.
► Tuition: $40,050 graduate
► Notable Alumni: Actual Films producers Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk