If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Indiewire may receive an affiliate commission.
Graduating film students have a lot to be excited about. Even with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, the last year gave novice filmmakers lots of material to potentially pull from as they step into the world of moviemaking. And if you’re searching for the perfect graduation gift, you can find a bunch of gifting options for just about any budget. To help you out, we searched through the web and found a dozen of the best graduation gifts for students who have officially completed film school. Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a student director, screenwriter, cinematographer, videographer, or a graduate who simply loves movies, you can get pretty creative with gifting ideas. From movie-related novelty items to cameras and trivia games, our gift guide is filled with unique, and thoughtful gifts to add to your shopping cart.
Below, find 12 of the best graduation gifts for student filmmakers. For more gift ideas, see our picks for the best gifts for tech savvy grads, best cameras for any budget, and books first-time filmmakers should read.
Graduation is a great time to capture memories the old-fashioned way. Before social media, scrap books and photo albums got the job done. This handmade, dry mount scrapbook features 320 individual sheets so that you can keep your photos, and other memorabilia in one place. The scrapbook itself has a hard cover on the front and back with open/close binding rings and distress copper eyelets.
Another unique gift option: a film reel desk clock. The clock is made from a vintage metal metallic blue film reel, and it’s not very large ( 5 ¾” x 5”) so it won’t take up too much room. That said, it’s definitely a statement piece.
Choosing the right camera sometimes means finding that perfect balance of functionality that works for video and still photography. Enter the Sony A6400 — a multi-functional option that’s great for 4K recording, and comes equipped with 24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor (more than 84 perfect sensory), a lightning fast autofocus speed of 0.02 seconds, advanced real-time Eye-AF and real-time object tracking autofocus with wide 425-phase/425 contrast detection autofocus points, and three high-speed continuous shooting settings of up to 11 fps. It also features a 180-degree tillable LCD touchscreen with 921K-dots of high resolution, making video or photo selfie-style shooting super easy, and Touch Shutter, which instantly focuses on the subject and releases a shutter with just one touch.
Another fun gift that’s great for photographers, videographers, directors, filmmakers, producers, and more. The enamel pin gift set features four metal enamel gold pins in the shape of a cine camera, a timecode slate (glow-in-the dark), a microphone, and 4mm lights.
What’s not to love about a new smartwatch? The Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu GPS Smartwatch is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, and it has a bunch of features including five-day battery life in smartwatch mode, and up to six hours in GPS and music mode. It comes preloaded with 20 GPS and indoor sports apps such as yoga, running, swimming, and more. You can download songs to the watch (including playlists from Spotify and Amazon music), and connect it to wireless earbuds for phone-free listening. The watch also monitors your daily health including tracking your energy levels, respiration, menstrual cycle, sleep, stress, estimated heart rate, and more.
With summer on the horizon, it might be time to go on a little adventure! The Adventure Challenge camera set is a fun graduation gift and a cool way to make memories. It features 50 unique challenges, which means you could find yourself creating epic meals, popping a bottle of bubbly in the bathtub or chasing your friends around town. You simply choose a category together, scratch off your adventure, take a picture, and journal the experience. And when you finish, you’ll have a keepsake to look back on.
This is a great game for film nerds and novices alike. It includes 150 cards and multiple ways to play. Inside the box are five games sorted into categories from easiest to expert: Movie Geek, Film Nerd, and Cinephile. The objects of the game depends on what level you reach, but the main point is to pick cards to take turns answering the questions pulled from the card deck. The questions could be as simple as naming an actor who starred in a movie, or as complicated as the six-degrees of separation-style level where you’re tasked with connecting co-stars not only by the movies they appeared in together, but other films from their respective catalogs. If you have a good memory and tend to know the names of everyone in the film — not just the star — this game will certainly put you to the test.
For the grad who can’t get enough of a good trivia game, Things They Don’t Teach You in School compiles 400 fun facts, random factoids, and pieces of useless knowledge that’ll surely make game night more interesting. The trivia card game is designed for at least two players, ages 18+.
You can’t go wrong with a vintage camera. The Bauer C107XL Super 8 Camera has both manual and automatic zoom capabilities, split image focusing, macro focusing, backlight control, and more functions. Based on a number of positive customer reviews, these handheld cameras work perfectly and are in great condition.
This handmade, cognac-colored leather camera strap is versatile and distinct. It features an adjustable large strap for a comfortable fit, and you can personalize it, making it an extra-special graduation present.
When you want to block out the world, noise canceling headphones are a must-have. The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Headphones offers an immersive listening experience that lets you stream audio up to 30 feet from the paired Bluetooth device. You can use them to stream music, movies, videos, or talk on the phone, and they have a battery life of 24 hours on a single charge.
Perhaps one of the best cameras for an indie filmmaker, this compact cinema camera comes packed with professional features in a small, portable body. It has 4/3 image sensor with 4096 x 2160 resolution and an MFT lens mount. The professional specs also include 4K DKI video recording at 60 fps; 13-stop Dynamic Range; carbon fiber composite build; Black magic operating system; 5″ touchscreen LCD; and four built-in microphones. These feature-quality digital images produce precise skin tones, organic colors, and the MFT mount allows you to use super compact, lightweight, and affordable lenses, making it ultra portable. The conveniently placed back panel controls allow you to quickly change shooting speed with the high frame rate button, zoom into the image with the magnifying glass, access setup menus, and quickly play back shots for review. You’ll also get DaVinci Resolve Studio for editing, color correction, audio post, and VFX.