The Top 15 International Film Schools

6:00 AM 8/16/2018

by THR staff

The likes of Roland Emmerich and James Bond regular Giancarlo Giannini got their cinematic education abroad at schools from Munich to Rome.

  • Academy for Performing Arts School of Film and Television

    One of the first official film schools in Hong Kong, the academy has helped to launch the careers of the second new wave of Hong Kong cinema in recent years, including Jevons Au, who co-directed back-to-back award winners Ten Years and Trivisa, as well as Roy Chow, who apprenticed for Ang Lee before making his debut feature, Murderer, in 2009.

  • Australian Film, Television and Radio School

    Highly regarded for its industry practitioner lecturers, the Sydney school's alumni include Phillip Noyce, Cate Shortland (recently chosen to direct Marvel's Black Widow), Warwick Thornton (director of Sweet Country) and Masters 2017 graduate Eryk Lenartowicz, whose short film Dots was an official selection at Cannes in 2018, as well as Oscar winners Jane Campion (best screenplay for The Piano) David White (sound editing for Mad Max: Fury Road) and Margaret Sixel (editing Mad Max: Fury Road).

  • Busan Asian Film School

    Operated by the Busan Film Commission, the school &mdash launched in 2016 in the South Korean port city known for hosting Asia’s largest film festival — offers six-month-long training courses for producers, nurtures Asian filmmakers and promotes regional co-productions. Last year’s lecture program featured well-established regional names such as Bhutanese actor-turned-producer Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk, one of the producers of Brad Pitt’s Seven Years in Tibet.

  • Beijing Film Academy

    The USC of the East, China's most prestigious film school is the alma mater of many of the biggest names in the Sino movie business, from art house stars like Jia Zhangke to industry veterans such as Zhang Yimou and Zhao Wei. In addition to its core Chinese offerings, BFA now has an undergraduate film production program taught entirely in English and open to international students. 

  • Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica

    When the Mexico City school was founded in 1975, Oscar-nominated director Luis Bunuel was named honorary president. More than four decades later the school continues to produce talent; in June, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited five CCC alumni to join its ranks of voting members, including acclaimed documentarians Everardo Gonzalez (Devil's Freedom) and Tatiana Huezo (The Tiniest Place). 

  • Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia

    Founded in 1935, the Experimental Center of Cinematography gave birth to the generation that created Italian Neorealism with Michelangelo Antonioni among its most famous alumni. Today, the storied school features acting workshops with James Bond regular Giancarlo Giannini and partners with Rome Film Fest and the National Film Library to restore classic films. 

  • The Film Academy

    One of Europe's most acclaimed and accomplished institutions, the Film Academy in Vienna likes to keep it exclusive, only admitting 15-20 new students every year. The lucky few can enjoy one of the most intimate learning experiences around, with a student-to-professor ratio of 4-to-1, with Oscar winner Michael Haneke (Amour, The White Ribbon) among the faculty. 

  • Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography

    Moscow’s Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, known by its Russian abbreviation VGIK, is the country’s oldest and best-known film school. While courses are taught in Russian, VGIK recently launched an undergraduate preparatory course for international students — Russian as a foreign language and an introduction to filmmaking — to help prepare international students for the school's regular classes.

  • Hochschule fur Film and Fernsehen

    Germany's No. 1 film university offers solid training in every aspect of the industry, with an alumni roster that reads like a who's who of German big screen talent, from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich to Toni Erdmann helmer Maren Ade and the late, great producer Bernd Eichinger (The Name of the Rose).  

  • La Femis

    It boasts plenty of distinguished French alumni (including Alain Resnais and Francois Ozon) but La Femis has gotten some bad press lately for its elitist image, thanks to Claire Simon’s critical 2017 documentary The Graduation that looked at how the school hosts just 40 slots for 1,200 candidates. In response, the school is heavily promoting its summer program for underprivileged youths as well as the fact that 52 percent of its students are female (up from just 38 percent a decade ago).

  • Lodz Film School

    Founded in 1948, Poland's national film school is one of the oldest in the world. An hour and a half's drive from Warsaw, Lodz numbers three Oscar winners among its alumni: Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Zbigniew Rybczynski. Holders of honorary doctorates include Martin Scorsese and renowned cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.

  • National Film and Television School

    The past 12 months NFTS got a new director (Jon Wardle), named Ex Machina director Alex Garland an associate director, and opened the doors on two new facilities as part of its $26 million expansion. Denis Villeneuve, David Fincher, Colin Trevorrow, Kenneth Branagh and Taika Waititi were among those giving masterclasses over the past year, while the school was able to — finally — celebrate its alumnus Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049) winning the Oscar evaded him over 12 previous nominations.

  • RTA School of Media at Ryerson University

    Ellen Wong, Jenny on Netflix's GLOW, and New Girl's Hannah Simone attended this prestigious Toronto institution, which includes programs for media production, sport media and new media, as well as a Los Angeles bootcamp that prepares grads for the entertainment industry grind. 

  • The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School

    The Jerusalem school boasts not only alums like 2014 Academy Award nominees for best live-action short Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun, director Talya Lavie (Zero Motivation) and Nadav Lapid, whose film The Kindergarten Teacher was recently adapted in the U.S. and picked up by Netflix at Sundance, but also its International Film Lab, a development platform with films going on to festivals like Cannes.

  • Universidad del Cine

    Created in 1991 by Argentina's renowned 1960s auteur Manuel Antín, Fundación Universidad del Cine has played a key role in ushering in a new generation of acclaimed Argentine filmmakers, including Damián Szifron, whose Wild Tales from 2014 won best film and director at the Argentinian Academy Awards. 

    A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.