- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
With Netflix’s Top 10 littered with true crime and documentaries breaking Sundance sales records, nonfiction films have never been more in demand. While narrative filmmaking remains the more popular subject of study, several universities offer robust programs for aspiring documentarians.
Stanford’s MFA in documentary film and video production has garnered more Student Academy Awards in the documentary category than any other college or university. Admitting only eight students a year, the program culminates in a short thesis film, with past student works going on to screen at major festivals like SXSW and on such broadcasters as PBS. Also offering an MFA program is Northwestern, where Oscar nominee Joshua Oppenheimer (Act of Killing) oversaw a master class. The emphasis at the Illinois institution is on docs, but elective courses can be taken in stop-motion animation and special-effects cinematography to enhance nonfiction production value.
Duke’s MFA in experimental and documentary arts is born out of a three-decade history that began at the school’s Center for Documentary Photography. Current visiting artists include Jon-Sesrie Goff, who was the first museum specialist in film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History. Also at Duke is the Center for Documentary Studies, which offers classes to undergraduate students, who can earn a certificate in documentary studies by taking classes like “Small Town, USA,” which outlines the theory and practice of documentary photography in a small-town context.
USC may be best known for its famed School of Cinematic Arts, but a visual anthropology degree is offered under its Dornsife College of Arts and Letters. Founded by acclaimed anthropologist and Oscar winner Barbara Myerhoff (Number Our Days), the full-time program only lasts a year and also is open to undergraduates.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day