Find your inner Scorsese at one of these international film schools
These 10 institutions boast famous alumni and creative coursework.
Hollywood may be the center of the filmmaking universe, but learning to make movies is an international enterprise, with top-notch cinema schools teaching the next generation of directors, writers and craftspeople the ropes of the business. These are some of the best – and they have the award-winning alumni to prove it.
American Film Institute Conservatory, Los Angeles
Actress Natalie Portman and director Darren Aronofsky attend the 'Black Swan' premiere during the Venice Film Festival in 2010. (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Budding screenwriters, directors, cinematographers, editors and production designers can get hands-on movie making experience in this two-year Master of Fine Arts program in the heart of Hollywood. The nearly 5000 graduates include cinema royalty like Oscar-nominated directors Terrence Malick (“The Thin Red Line”), David Lynch (“The Elephant Man’), and Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (“Saving Private Ryan”) and “Entourage” writer-producer Doug Ellin.
The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University
Bearing the name of the producer of “Forrest Gump” (and the president of the New York Giants) who endowed it last year, this prestigious school in Israel offers such courses as production, cinema history, scriptwriting, and digital media. Famous grads include “Homeland,” “Tyrant” and “Dig” creator Gideon Raff, Hagai Levi, co-creator of “The Affair” and “In Treatment,” and Ari Folman, whose documentary “Waltz With Bashir” was nominated for an Oscar.
National Film & Television School, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, U.K.
This English institution has been turning out über-successful alumni in all disciplines since 1971, and they have the awards to prove it. Just this year alone, 50 NFTS grads received Oscar nominations, including cinematographer Roger Deakins (“Sicario”), producer/animator Nick Park (“Shaun the Sheep”) and sound mixer Stuart Wilson (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).
Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Moore Park, NSW, Australia
The #1 film school Down Under, it offers multi-disciplinary courses that have produced top talent in their fields like director Gillian Armstrong (“Little Women”), editor Margaret Sixel, nominated for an Academy Award this year for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter Jane Campion, now a guest lecturer.
Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, Czech Republic
Named the best film school in Europe by “The Hollywood Reporter,” FAMU offers several programs in English, including summer workshops, a one-year Academy Program, Special Productions, or MFA program Cinema in Digital Media. It has its own production/post-production facility and counts Milos Forman (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”) and Angnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa”) among its alumni.
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
A leading institution in the visual arts, RISD’s film/video/animation program attracts top talent, including the likes of Seth MacFarlane (“Ted” and "Family Guy"), Gus Van Zant (“Milk”), and Martha Coolidge ("Valley Girl”) who got bachelor of fine arts degrees there, and multi-hyphenate James Franco, who was awarded an MFA in 2012.
Film Academy Baden-Wurttemberg, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Known for its Institute for Animation and Visual Effects but offering courses in all areas of filmmaking, this school has exchange arrangements with others in the United States, including Columbia University and UCLA, where it organizes workshops and internships with Hollywood production companies. It also partners on a master class in film production with prestigious French film school La Fémis, alma mater to directors Louis Malle (“My Dinner with Andre”) and Alain Resnais (“Hiroshima Mon Amour”).
New York University Tisch School of the Arts
Three thousand miles east of Hollywood is this renowned Manhattan film school, which offers graduate and undergraduate programs in all aspects of filmmaking. It boasts a roster of illustrious alumni including A-list directors Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Ang Lee and Joel Coen. Some alumni of its graduate acting program include Kristen Bell, Billy Crudup, Debra Messing and Michael C. Hall.
Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos, Mexico City, Mexico
Students at the oldest film school in Latin America produce nearly 100 short films a year and many of them go on to international success. These include Alfonso Cuarón, director of “Gravity,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and “Y Tu Mama También” and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, an Oscar winner for “Gravity” and “Birdman” and nominated this year for “The Revenant.”
Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rome, Italy
Established back in 1935, this venerable government-run film school located near the fabled Cinecitta Studios is the oldest in Western Europe. It offers classes in screenwriting, set and production design, costuming, cinematography, sound engineering, editing, acting and producing. It has produced such illustrious alumni as directors Michelangelo Antonioni (“Blow Up”) and Gabriele Muccino (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), cinematographers Vittorio Storaro (“Apocalypse Now”) and Nestor Almendros, Oscar winner for “Days of Heaven.”
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