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Australian Film, Television and Radio School
This Sydney-based school benefits from a deep pool of industry lecturers and close ties with the Australian film community. Notable alumni include Black Widow director Cate Shortland and a slew of Oscar winners and nominees, including Jane Campion (The Piano), writer-director Chris Noonan (Babe) and David White (sound editing for Mad Max: Fury Road). The school has developed and implemented a “COVIDSafe Plan” that sets out a return to on-campus learning, with protocols being revised on a weekly basis in accordance with local public health circumstances and government advice.
Beijing Film Academy
The USC of the Middle Kingdom, China’s most prestigious film school offers its graduates a wealth of industry ties in what has become the world’s largest theatrical film market. BFA now has an undergraduate film production program taught in English, but foreign students remain unable to enter China because of strict immigration controls implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica
Founded in 1975, Mexico’s most prestigious film school counts as alums The Irishman cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto as well as Elisa Miller, the only Mexican woman to take home the short film Palme d’Or in Cannes, for 2007’s Watch It Rain. Last year, the CCC achieved gender parity, and it is holding workshops to reduce the environmental impact of its student filmmaking.
Centro Sperimentale De Cinematografia
Italy’s National School of Cinema offers a wide array of three-year courses across all film disciplines for anyone who speaks Italian (but with only six places per class). The past year has seen the school open up another branch, this time in the southern Basilicata region.
The Madrid school this year bolstered its syllabus with a new master’s program in color and digital grading, bringing in professors including Hollywood colorist Walter Volpatto (Dunkirk, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). During 2021, the facility also launched the first ECAM Series Market, in which students from its TV scriptwriting master’s course present their final projects to Spanish industry professionals.
Austria’s leading film school just added another acclaimed filmmaker — 2021 Cannes Jury member Jessica Hausner (Little Joe) — to its impressive faculty, which already includes Oscar winner Michael Haneke. The Vienna-based school prides itself on helping would-be auteurs develop their own vision “in complete freedom and without economic restraints.”
Hochschule für Fernsehen
Munich’s storied academy is a one-stop shop for all things cinema, with degrees in directing, producing, cinematography, screenwriting and VFX. The school offers courses in English and German and is tuition-free for anyone who can get past its notoriously tough admissions board.
France’s state film school was among those celebrating Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or in Cannes in July. The Titane director — who graduated in scriptwriting from the Parisian college in 2008 — was one of 150 former students credited in films selected for the delayed 2021 festival, including Vincent Cardona, who shared the top prize in the Directors’ Fortnight category for his debut feature, Magnetic Beats.
Lodz Film School
The history of Polish cinema — from Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski through to the current generation, including Malgorzata Szumowska (Never Gonna Snow Again) and Jan Komasa (Corpus Christi) — was written at the Lodz Film School. Instruction is in Polish, but non-fluent students who pass the entrance exam can enroll in a yearlong Polish-language course before beginning their studies.
London Film School
Despite the pandemic, production hasn’t stopped at the U.K.’s oldest film school, which will celebrate its 65th birthday in October. Since March 2020, 58 graduate films have been made with only one shoot halting because of the lockdown. Among its recent alumni is Daina O. Pusic, who is developing her debut feature, Tuesday, with A24, lining up Julia Louis-Dreyfus to star.
National Film and Television School
The U.K.’s most renowned film and TV college celebrated its 50th anniversary this year with a new partnership with the Pinewood Group and an honorary fellowship bestowed to Sam Mendes at its in-person graduation ceremony. The school continued its noted Masterclass program with filmmakers including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Russell T. Davies and Paul Greengrass.
National Film School of Denmark
Denmark’s premier film school racked up a pair of Oscars — for best international film and best sound editing, respectively — with wins by former alumni Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and Mikkel E.G. Nielsen (Sound of Metal). Nielsen gave a shoutout to the Copenhagen academy, which remains among the world’s best. International applicants take note: Danish fluency is a must, and the school charges a tuition fee of $30,000 for non-EU residents.
Prague Film School
An English-language film school in the heart of the country’s capital, Prague offers a cultural mix of European art house with an American indie approach to filmmaking. What sets the Czech school apart is its intimacy: A maximum of 100 students are accepted per year.
RTA School of Media at Ryerson University
RTA Ryerson will launch a dual Master of Arts and MBA program in the fall for business-minded students looking to become showrunners, tech entrepreneurs or broadcast executives. And a new program called “RTA in LA” offers students two weeks in Los Angeles for lectures and workshops with U.S. industry pros.
Arguably the world’s leading school for training in cinema and TV tech professions, Zurich’s SAE offers 18-month and two-year bachelor’s programs in audio engineering, cross-media production, digital film production, VFX and 3D animation. Graduates include Oscar-winning sound mixers Niv Adiri (Gravity) and Billy Butler, lead modeler at BAFTA and Oscar-winning VFX house Framestore (The Suicide Squad).
Sam Spiegel Film and TV School
Israel’s top film school has come through COVID largely unscathed and is planning a major upgrade next year, with a move to a new home as part of the Arts Campus in central Jerusalem. The new campus will feature three state-of-the-art cinemas to be run by students and open to the general public.
Stockholm Film School
Filmmaker Anders Rune (Aerobics — A Love Story) took over as Stockholm Film School director in late 2020, overseeing the storied institution that has produced a who’s who of Swedish filmmaking talent. During the pandemic, the school put together a free online festival, My Darling Quarantine, of 31 student films produced over the years, to entertain homebound audiences worldwide.
University of British Columbia
Launched in 1969, UBC’s film school, dubbed “the USC of the North,” offers BFA and diploma programs in everything from documentary filmmaking to alternative cinema, screenwriting and digital media. Besides production and edit facilities, UBC also offers NBC Studio, a convertible classroom space with a greenscreen and lighting grid.
Vancouver Film School
VFS returns in the fall to on-campus learning for its 15 post-secondary programs, including film, animation, video game and VFX production. Director Kevin Smith, the school’s creative ambassador, is set to welcome students back with a live, in-person event Sept. 23. The school also recently launched a “Creature Animation” class for students interested in specializing in genre fare.
Victoria University of Wellington
Offering a wealth of cutting-edge practical experience at its Miramar Creative Center, Victoria University of Wellington sits in close proximity to the facilities of Peter Jackson’s moviemaking empire, spanning the Weta Group, Park Road Post and Stone Street Studios. As with many countries that have emphasized a COVID-19 elimination strategy over aggressive vaccination, it remains unclear when international students will be able to study in person in New Zealand, with the government making no guarantees about the reopening of borders.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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