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.
21. DePaul University
Students at DePaul's School of Cinema and Interactive Media get their hands on cameras from day one and own their films. Visiting artists include Werner Herzog and Beasts of the Southern Wild scribe Lucy Alibar. This year, the Chicago university teamed up with the city's Cinespace Film Studios, giving students access to 20,000 square feet of production space -- and contacts you can't buy. "With six networks shooting there this fall, not only are our students learning, they're making connections," says screenwriting chair Kristyn Benedyk. "They get hired right and left."
► Tuition: $33,390 undergraduate; $770 per credit graduate
► Notable Alumni: Gillian Anderson, John C. Reilly
22. Ithaca College
Ithaca might lack Cornell's Ivy League airs, but its Roy H. Park School of Communications can launch careers, especially in broadcasting. Its Televison-Radio department grads nab jobs at NBC News, ABC and ESPN. "It's one of the best film schools in the country," says Alanna Nash, who wrote the biography of alum Jessica Savitch, the late NBC News anchor whose life was dramatized in the film Up Close & Personal. The college's L.A. program arranges help from Disney CEO Robert Iger and producer Michael Nathanson (L.A. Confidential).
► Tuition: $38,400 undergraduate; $19,200 L.A. program; $757 per credit graduate
► Notable Alumni: David Boreanaz (Bones), director Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go)
23. Savannah College of Art and Design
SCAD both benefits from and boosts Georgia's film production industry, which increased 29 percent in 2012 to $3.1 billion. SCAD is also all over the rising Savannah Film Festival, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in November with guests like Stan Lee and the late James Gandolfini. SCAD's Atlanta program added an M.A. and MFA in film and TV, and in the 60,000-square-foot Digital Media Center, students shot a Newsroom-like comedy.
► Tuition: $32,950 undergraduate; $33,750 graduate
► Notable Alumni: Visual effects artists Nickson Fong (Control) and Steve LaVietes (Alice in Wonderland)
24. Ringling College of Art and Design
The 6-year-old Sarasota, Fla., film program attracts teachers like Christopher Nolan's cinematographer-turned-director Wally Pfister. "I was impressed by the skill levels and the sophistication of the questions asked," says Pfister. "This is clearly a program in its ascent." Adds director Werner Herzog, who advised Ringling on its directing program, "I like it because it originated from a circus, Ringling Bros. It's the best digital effects program in the country."
► Tuition: $35,490 undergraduate
► Notable Alumni: Editor-director Jason Letkiewicz (I'm Positive)
25. Colorado Film School
The new green-screen 3D studio, created by visual effects wizard Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Tree of Life) gives students at the Denver school a launchpad into the future of movies. The main studio resides in a 25,000-square-foot building packed with equipment for the school's many degrees, including directing, writing, producing, acting for the screen, postproduction and cinematography. Spike Lee and Avatar cinematographer Mauro Fiore are among the guest artist teachers.
► Tuition: $6,500 in-state; $9,000 for residents of Western states; $22,500 for those from non-Western states
► Notable Alumni: Postproduction technician Aaron Kroger (Total Recall)
(Additional reporting by Brandon Kirby and Rebecca Sun)