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Best Film Schools in the World

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Film studies and its related subject areas are incredibly popular, and are offered by many well-renowned film schools around the world. You might choose to study at a specific film school, or go for a film or related degree offered by a film department at a university. Either way, getting an education in film is a great foundation for any future career aspirations you may have.

You might want to attend a film school to improve your acting skills, define your creative vision as a director, or learn more about what goes on behind the scenes. These are all fantastic goals to have, and would be good reasons to pursue studies, but you might be surprised by how many well known directors and producers didn’t get a formal education in film. You can find out more about this in our ‘Are Film Degrees Worth It?‘ article.

Top International Film Schools

It is more complex to compare film schools by ranking, as some are departments within larger universities, and some are schools that only offer film degrees (and related subjects). This means that they are not all included in the most recognised rankings, such as QS Top Universities.

However, there are some film schools that are consistently mentioned as the top film schools around the world, in articles on QS, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, as well as having a reputation in the film and higher education worlds.

Below you will find the institutions that are mentioned again and again as the best film schools in the world.

Lodz Film SchoolLodz, Poland
National Film and Television SchoolBeaconsfield, UK
La FémisParis, France
Australian Film, Television and Radio SchoolSydney, Australia
Catalyst BerlinBerlin, Germany
London Film SchoolLondon, UK
Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, NYUNew York City, USA
Toronto Film SchoolToronto, Canada
Beijing Film AcademyBeijing, China
American Film InstituteLos Angeles, USA

Best Film Schools in Europe

Lodz Film School

Lodz Film School, which is officially called the Leon Schiller Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School, is located in the city of Lodz, the fourth largest city in Poland. The institution existed as two separate schools for actors and filmmakers until they merged in 1958. After this merge, the school became a hub for free thinkers and a liberal community, with students and staff members even speaking out against the strict Communist regime in Poland at the time.

Nowadays, the school continues to be well regarded in the film community, offering courses at bachelor’s and master’s level. Courses are taught in Polish and English, making studying there more accessible to international students. Degree titles include Direction of Photography, Acting, and Film and TV Production Organisation, among others.

La Fémis

La Fémis is a grande école and the film and television school of PSL Research University. It is located in Paris, the capital city of France. Founded in 1986, it has been headquartered at the Palais de Tokyo (until 1999) and at the old Rapid Film – Pathé Studios. The school often hosts famous alumni and other names in the industry for seminars and talks for students, allowing an insight into the professional world.

Most of the bachelor’s degrees involve at least one year of general education, introducing you to all aspects of the filmmaking process. You will then be allowed to choose a specialisation that interests you, taking your studies further and developing your knowledge. Master’s and research degrees are more specialised, and focus on improving a specific skill-set.

National Film and Television School (NFTS)

Founded in 1971, the National Film and Television School (NFTS) is located at Beaconsfield Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. The school is well known for its alumni, with graduates going on to work in the industry on projects such as Wallace and Gromit, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, among others.

NFTS delivers mainly postgraduate degrees, with a few diplomas, certificates and short courses on offer for those who are already working in the industry but wish to bolster their skills. Degree titles include Cinematography, Directing Animation, Editing, and Visual Effects (VFX).

Catalyst – Institute for Creative Arts and Technology

Located at the historic Funkhaus in Berlin, Germany, Catalyst is a creative arts and technology institution. It aims to foster an immersive and hands-on educational environment, and prepare you for your future career in the industry and beyond. Alongside offering film and production degrees, Catalyst also has a reputation for its music and audio production degrees.

All of the courses offered by Catalyst are taught in English, at bachelor’s and master’s level, as well as the short courses. Degree titles include Electronic Music Production and Performance, Film Production, Creative Production, and Screenwriting, among others.

London Film School (LFS)

London Film School was established in 1956 and was originally located on above a grocer’s shop in Electric Avenue, Brixton. It moved to its current location on Shelton Street, Covent Garden, in 1966. LFS has many well known alumni that have gone on to work in the industry in the UK and beyond.

London Film School offers 4 postgraduate degrees, 3 Master of Arts in Filmmaking, Screenwriting, and International Film Business, as well as one PhD in Film By Practice, and short courses for professionals.

Other Prominent Film Schools in Europe

Best Film Schools in North America

American Film Institute (AFI)

Based in Los Angeles, California, the American Film Institute is in the heart of Hollywood, meaning that there will be no limit to the inspiration and opportunities available to you. The institute was founded in 1967 as part of a national arts legislation to preserve the legacy of American film and to education the new generation of filmmakers. The original Board of Trustees included Gregory Peck, Francis Ford Coppola and Sidney Poitier, as well as others.

AFI offers an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree with various specialisations, including Cinematography, Directing, Editing, and Producing. Alongside this master’s degree, there are also non-degree short courses available to students and professionals alike, aiming to develop knowledge and skills.

Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, NYU

A department within the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Kanbar is named after Maurice Kanbar, who was an American entrepreneur known for his generosity to the film industry. Graduates from Kanbar have gone on to work on famous projects, in various roles.

Kanbar offers degrees at undergraduate and graduate level, and also has internal departments known as the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies and the Rita & Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing. The Institute boasts notable alumni and well known professors, such as Spike Lee, who will have plenty of knowledge to pass on to you.

Toronto Film School

A private institution in the city of Toronto, Toronto Film School is smaller, but still world recognised. It was founded in 2001, and has gone on to educate many students preparing them for their future careers, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

TFS offers a range of diploma programs, a BCA (Bachelor of Creative Arts) pathway program, most of which are also offered for online and distance learning. This would be perfect if you are an international student who wants to access the high quality education offered, but don’t want to travel or live away from home.

Other Prominent Film Schools in North America

Best Film Schools in Asia

Beijing Film Academy

Beijing Film Academy (BFA) was established in 1950 and went through several name changes before its current name was settled on in 1956. The academy is a public college, and is affiliated with and co-funded by the Beijing Municipal People’s Government and the Ministry of Education.

BFA has many alumni that have gone on to work in the industry, some of them in Chinese media, and some outside of China. The academy offers a range of courses within their departments, at associate, bachelor’s and master’s level. They also offer night courses and vocational courses.

Other Prominent Film Schools in Asia

  • Korean Academy of Film Arts (South Korea)
  • Film and Television Institute of India (India)
  • Whistling Woods International Film School (India)

Best Film Schools in the rest of the World

Australian Film, Television and Radio School

The Australian Film, Television and and Radio School, mostly styled as AFTRS, is based in Sydney, and is the country’s official national screen arts and broadcast school. It was founded in 1972, and first opened for students in 1973. Its first intake of 12 students included Gillian Armstrong (director of Little Women – 1994), Phillip Noyce (director of Salt – 2010), and Chris Noonan (director and writer of Babe – 1995).

Nowadays AFTRS takes students from all around the world, and offers programs at bachelor’s and master’s level, as well as a graduate diploma and some short courses. You can study a range of topics related to film, television and radio, all of which aim to prepare you for your future career.

Other Prominent Film Schools in the rest of the World

  • AFDA (South Africa)
  • Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica (Mexico)
  • Sam Spiegel Film and TV School (Israel)
  • Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)

As you can see, there are many interesting and globally renowned film schools for you to choose from as an international student. Why not start your journey towards a career in filmmaking today – the world truly is your oyster!

If you need more information about choosing where to go for your film studies, take a look at our article about how to choose a film school.

Take a look at the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in film on offer:

Bachelor’s Degrees in Film

Master’s Degrees in Film

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