Best Film Schools in America

Great moviemakers don’t just spring up overnight. It takes superior instruction and resources to help film students reach their potential and to go on to become great directors, cinematographers and lighting specialists. Fortunately, some of the best film schools in the world are here in the good ol USA. Here are some of the top film schools in the country and some of their notable alumni.


  • USC: Since 1929 USC’s School of Cinematic Arts has been cranking out graduates like Judd Apatow, John August, Susan Downey, Kevin Feige, Doug Liman, Shonda Rhimes, Bryan Singer, George Lucas and John Wells to name just a few. The school is a well respected leader in the world of academia.


  • American Film Institute (AFI): Notable among its graduates is Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, and Terrence Malick. Its alumni are proud winners of such prominent events as the Cannes and Venice film festivals.


  • New York University: Graduates of this well respected school include Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and M. Night Shyamalan and Ang Lee. The school is considered by many to be “the best film school east of the Hudson.”


  • UCLA: Frank Marshall, Justin Lin, Dustin Lance Black, Francis Ford Coppola are just a few of this school’s graduates. Adding to the prestige of the university is the fact that the School of Theater, Film and Television has an acceptance rate of only 2% of the applicants who apply to go there.


  • Columbia University: This school’s notable alumni include Nicole Holofcener, James Mangold, and James Ponsoldt. This school has a better acceptance rate that UCLA at 21% but it is no less respected in the industry and among academia. Its School of Arts has turned out film scholars, writers, theatre practitioners, and visual and sound artists and many other who have made great contributions to the world of film and theatre.


  • California Institute of the Arts (CalArts): This school’s alumni include John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Kirby Dick, Tim Burton, Brenda Chapman (the first woman to win an Oscar for an animated feature). Its School of Theatre includes Design and Production courses including Costume Design, Lighting Design, Producing (MFA), Stage Management, Production Management (MFA), Scene Design, Sound Design, and Video for Performance (MFA), etc.


Yes, it takes more than potential alone to become a great moviemaker. It also takes careful guidance and the right instruction and resources. Fortunately, these film schools will continue to produce some of the greatest artists in the world of film, stage and TV. Similarly, we at Ratpac Dimmers will continue to provide the hardware necessary also in creating memorable theatre and movie moments.