You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

The Top 25 Film Schools In The World (Lists)

The Top 25 Film Schools In The World (Lists)

The hopeful auteur’s dilemma – to go to film school, or not go to film school? That is the question. You say you’re currently weighing those options? Maybe this list will assist.

It’s The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural list ranking the 25 best film schools in the entire world (though it’s heavily North American).

They claim that “in compiling this list, we consulted industry insiders, execs, filmmakers and film school grads. We asked participants to rate each program based on the following categories: Alumni / Cost / Facilities / Industry Access / Strength of Faculty.

So did your school (whether currently attending, or an alumni) make the cut?

Here are your top 5, according to The Hollywood Reporter; here’s a hint, they’re expensive! And it’s partly for that reason that many continue to question whether a film school education is worth the cost – specifically a top-flight film school education, like those on this list, with annual tuition costs topping $40,000 in some cases. What happens when you’re done? Obviously it depends on what path you choose; after all, not everyone wants to be a film director:

1. American Film Institute

TUITION $38,416 for first year; $37,112 for second year (plus $8,033 for thesis)

NOTABLE ALUMNI Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), David Lynch (Blue Velvet), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)

2. University of Southern California

TUITION $42,000 (plus room and board)

NOTABLE ALUMNI George Lucas (Star Wars), Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), Jon Landau (Avatar)

3. Beijing Film Academy

TUITION Program fees range from $1,240 to $1,550 for local students; international students pay $6,665 to $7,905 per year for film programs. Partial and full scholarships are available based on need and merit and are awarded on an individual basis.

NOTABLE ALUMNI Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), Tian Zhuangzhuang (The Blue Kite)

4. New York University Tisch School of the Arts

TUITION $45,674

NOTABLE ALUMNI Todd Phillips (The Hangover), Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men), Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich)

5. University of California Los Angeles

TUITION B.A.: $12,842 (California resident), $35,720 (non-resident); MFA: $22,208 (California resident), $34,453 (non-resident); M.A. or Ph.D.: $13,549 (California resident), $28,651 (non-resident)

NOTABLE ALUMNI Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking), Alexander Payne (Sideways)

“The key is having a point of view — which is very much the UCLA approach. You could say UCLA filmmakers try to bring an indie attitude even to studio pictures. We always try to find some kind of subjectivity.” — Justin Lin, director, Fast Five

The remaining 20, plus longer write-ups of each, can be found HERE.

This Article is related to: Uncategorized



Shut the fuck up Quentin!..loser!


Film school is overrated. Spielberg, Tarantino and James Cameron are probably the best filmmakers in the world and they didn’t go to film school. The directors from the golden age of Hollywood like Welles, Ford, Capra, Hitchcock and Wilder, and in later years Kubrick, didn’t go to film school and have made some of the best films ever. In the end, you drop 183 grand when you could use that money to shoot a feature film.


Great link Mecca.


Under NYU they don’t mention alum Spike Lee, Martin Scorese or Ang Lee?!!!



under the notable graduate category for each school it was disappointing to know that few if any filmmakers who are Black were under the list of notables.


Oh in case many of you have not heard Filmmaker Magazine has a “25 New Faces of Independent list” featuring many emerging filmmakers like; Alrick Brown (Kinyarwanda), Yance Ford, Damon Russell, Sheldon Candis and many more.

I just thought I throw that in here.

Adam Scott Thompson

Who taught the first directors how to direct?


@ Jeremiah

I know exactly what you mean when I took a good look at this list I wasn’t surprised one bit that people of color where not added to this list.

I have compiled a short list of non-white filmmakers in Hollywood and the school they attended. I missed a lot of names but this is what I have gathered so far.

Spike Lee (NYU Tisch School of the Arts)
John Singleton (USC)
Kasi Lemmons (The New School)
Julie Dash (CCNY Leonard Davis Centre for the Arts & American Film Institute)
Stanley Nelson (CCNY Leonard Davis Centre)
Gina Prince-Blythewood (UCLA)
Charles Burnett (UCLA)
Euzhan Palcy (Sorbonne, Louis Lumiere College Paris, France)


Surprised to see UNC. Surprised not to see UIUC.


Predictable list of prestigious/famous/insanely competitive schools.

I did my undergrad at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and am currently a grad student at University of Kansas, both of which are excellent, affordable, loaded with professors who care about both their own work and that of their students… and not on the list.


Where’s the School of Hard Knocks??? :-)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *