USC No. 1 on The Hollywood Reporter's Second Annual List of the Top 25 Film Schools
As the film biz (and THR's coverage) inexorably goes global, foreign schools pop up more and higher on this list -- including La Femis in Paris, up five slots from 2011. Last year, the Paris-based school accepted 44 of more than 1,100 applicants for its four-year program. All instructors are industry pros. All students direct a short film. "It's the same for everyone, so each student can learn all of the different professions," says La Femis head Marc Nicolas. A TV degree program launches in 2013. Classes are taught in French.
TUITION Free for European Union members (for foreign students, $13,105)
DEGREES Screenwriter, director, producer, sound engineer, set designer, editor, distributor, theater director
NOTABLE ALUMNI Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool), Noemie Lvovsky (Camille Redouble)
Film Studies chair Jeanine Basinger, auteur of Wesleyan's program, has sent hundreds of students from Middletown, Conn., to Hollywood, including Joss Whedon and Michael Bay. This year, Benh Zeitlin and 27 other Wesleyan grads made Beasts of the Southern Wild, the Sundance and Cannes prize-winning Oscar contender. "In 2012, we cover all the bases -- we've got the art films and we have blockbusters covered with Joss' Captain America," says Basinger. "And we've also got Battleship and People Like Us -- we're the top of the flops! You have to have everything." This cultural trifecta explains Wesleyan zipping up from No. 9 to 7 on this list. Zeitlin has called Wesleyan a "boot camp where they really force you to examine every element of your script and every decision you're making as a director."
TUITION $59,402 (includes room and board)
DEGREES B.A. in film studies
NOTABLE ALUMNI Whedon, Bay, Miguel Arteta
California Institute of the Arts
CalArtians (as CalArts alums are known) are glad the L.A. Times called it the "Harvard Business School of animation." Grads have made films grossing $25 billion. Two of the five top-grossing films of 2012, Brave and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, were CalArtian-directed, and grad James Chinlund's production design gave The Avengers its billion-dollar look. But they wish people knew they make live-action films too, like the indie Only the Young.
DEGREES BFA, MFA in film, video and experimental animation; MFA in directing; BFA in character animation
NOTABLE ALUMNI John Lasseter, Brenda Chapman, Tim Burton, James Mangold
Emerson College, Visual & Media Arts School
Boston's Emerson College has a film, TV and media program so eminent that only one in six applicants gets in. But it's getting even more eminent, and so it zoomed from 18 to 9 on THR's list. For 25 years, Emerson has had an internship program in Los Angeles, but this month trustee and alum Vin Di Bona (America's Funniest Home Videos) kicked off the fund-raising campaign for Emerson's new $85 million campus tower on Sunset Boulevard. It opens in 2014, and the glamour can't be bad for current students' career prospects.
DEGREES B.A. and BFA in media production, B.A. in media studies, MFA in media art
NOTABLE ALUMNI Denis Leary, Doug Herzog, Seth Grahame-Smith, Norman Lear, Jay Leno
"Emerson's film program functions as a microcosm of Hollywood. Yes, there's theory and technical training, but there's also an emphasis on how to form lasting partnerships and will your project into being, how to get your script or film into the right hands. Above all, there's a sense of community, that we're the little film school that could, and that we've got each others' backs. And those things make a huge difference after graduation." -- Grahame-Smith, writer, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
Columbia University School of the Arts
Founded by Milos Forman and Frank Daniel, Columbia still looms large under new chair Ira Deutchman, Fine Line's founder. Alum Antonio Mendez Esparza won the Critics' Week Grand Prix in Cannes, Oscar nominee Lisa Cholodenko was elected to the Academy board of governors, and Mark Raso won a student Academy Award. Columbia has won 12 SAAs in the past 10 years, more than any other school, and produced a startling number of major women directors. And besides famous MFA filmmaking teachers like Eric Mendelsohn, winner of the University Teaching Award, there's Annette Insdorf's brilliant undergrad film studies program, with teachers James Schamus and Richard Pena, whose students also make great movies (Half Nelson, Murderball).
TUITION $49,448 MFA, $42,584 M.A. (not including fees)
DEGREES MFA in film; M.A. in film
NOTABLE ALUMNI Kathryn Bigelow, James Mangold, Simon Kinberg, Courtney Hunt (Frozen River), Nicole Holofcener
"I can't imagine having my present career without the wisdom, support and example of my former professors. The Columbia experience continues to give me the fortitude and passion to try again, to strive for the heights of my filmmaking idols (several of whom have taught at Columbia)." -- Greg Mottola, director, Superbad
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