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Best Film Schools for International Students

Do you dream about directing, producing, creating animation or special effects for the movies? Well, the filmmaking industry is large and only expanding, which means professionals in this field are not going to be out of jobs.
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If you feel that this is a career for you, then aim for the best film schools located in the top movie-making capitals of the world. Such a degree will allow you to learn from the best, open doors to the industry, and ensure a head start in your career. 

A lot of schools that teach future filmmakers are located in Hollywood, the United States. Canada boasts a lot of movies made every year across the country, as well as international film festivals and famous film schools. Europe and the UK in particular also offer a great number of renowned schools in this field. 

Film schools typically offer a wider range of disciplines related to directing, screenwriting, editing, producing, animation, production design, and all sorts of video storytelling. There are several types of degrees available. Undergraduate programs such as the BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) are mostly offered by large universities. There are also art schools and academies where you can take specialized postgraduate programs such as MFA (Master of Fine Arts) or even MPhil/Ph.D. Along with a full academic degree, there are plenty of options for those looking for one- or two-year programs. 

Let’s have a look at some of the world’s best film schools. 

American Film Institute (AFI)

Located in the hills above Hollywood, the AFI Conservatory has a severe selection process and is famous not only in the United States but in many parts of the world. The institute offers access to professional studios, networks, and post-production facilities. Over two years, students complete four to ten films together with their classmates. Guest lecturers include Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola, Barry Jenkins, Brian Grazer, and Ari Aster. David Lynch himself said he would give up everything “in a heartbeat” to attend the school.

The school offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in six disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design, and Screenwriting. Graduates finish with either a Master of Fine Arts Degree or Certificate of Completion

Tuition fee including production materials is $63,575 for 2021-2022 and $65,800 for 2022-2023.

International students may be eligible for the following types of financial aid:

  • AFI Scholarships. Applicants must submit the AFI Scholarship application by February 1, 2022, to be considered for AFI merit and need-based scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to first-year Fellows and are renewable in the second year provided you maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Loans. There are Private Student Loans (several US-based education loans that require the support of a US cosigner are available to international students) and International Student Loans.
  • Outside Scholarships. Private scholarship funding opportunities may be available in your home country or from private organizations. 

London Film School

Named as TOP FILM SCHOOL 2019 by Variety, London Film School is located in the heart of London and operates as a busy working studio that produces around 180 films each year. Students that seek a degree in filmmaking gain credits through a minimum of ten exercise films and a graduation work. The school boasts a large number of international students: over 60% are from outside the UK, representing more than 30 countries. 

London Film School offers graduate programs in Filmmaking, Screenwriting, and International Film Business that unites the School with the University of Exeter’s Film department and Business School.

Tuition fees for international students are as follows: 

MA in Filmmaking — £60,083 for the whole two-year program (around $80,749);

MA in Screenwriting — £14,826 for the whole one-year program (around $19,925).

International students may be eligible for Outside Scholarships.

USC School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California

The first university in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in filmmaking, the USC School of Cinematic Arts is located in the heart of Hollywood and enables students to experience a unique interdisciplinary learning approach. Writers take courses in directing and work with actors to better understand how written words actually sound and play. Directors take courses in the history of cinema so that they understand on whose shoulders they are standing. Cinema & Media Studies provides in-depth knowledge of media that will allow students to become renowned media scholars.

The school offers the following undergraduate and graduate programs: 

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production;

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production; 

Master of Arts in Cinema & Media Studies;

Masters of Fine Arts in Animation & Digital Arts;

Masters of Fine Arts in Film & Television Production; 

Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Film & Television;

Masters of Fine Arts in Peter Stark Producing Program;

Masters of Fine Arts in Interactive Media; 

Masters of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts. 

The tuition fee for undergraduate programs is $59,260. For graduate programs, prices vary from $36,415 to $53,391 depending on the program.

International students may be eligible for the following types of financial aid:

  • SCA scholarships. All applicants are encouraged to apply for SCA scholarships as part of the Slide Room application for admission. Information provided for the scholarship application has no impact on admission consideration and is reviewed by a separate committee. 
  • CSS Profile to be considered for a need-based scholarship. You can apply and sign up for a CSS Profile on the College Board website. If you already have a profile for the SAT, PSAT, or any other College Board exam, you can use that profile to apply and sign up for a CSS. 
  • Education loans for international students
  • Outside scholarships.

Toronto Film School

Ranked as the top film school by the QS World University Rankings, Toronto Film School is located in the home of a 2-billion-dollar film and entertainment industry with over 260 films made in the city alone. 

The school offers six 18-month accelerated diploma programs such as in Film Production, Graphic Design & Interactive Media, Video Game Design & Animation, Video Game Design & Development, Writing for Film & TV, Acting for Film, TV, and Theatre. These diploma programs are designed for those who want to get practical experience and start their career as soon as possible. If you are willing to pursue a degree, Yorkville University offers an online Bachelor of Creative Arts to complete in 15 months after you finish the diploma program in the creative arts. 

The tuition fee for international students is CAD 53,619 (around $41,891) for the whole course.

International students may be eligible for the following types of financial aid:

  • Private education loans for international students,
  • Outside scholarships.

CalArts

Conceived by Walt Disney, the school aims to bring out visionary creative talent. CalArts offers more than 70 degrees in visual, performing, media, and literary arts. The School of Film/Video is considered one of the world’s top places to study and practice the art of the moving image. Students work in all modes of moving image and sound-based artwork, including story- and character-based work in live-action and animated cinema; essayistic, socio-political and observational documentary projects in live-action, animation, installation and hybrid forms; and poetic, lyrical, structural and other modes of experimentation with the materials and forms of the moving image.

The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation, Experimental Animation, Film and Video, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation, Film and Video, and Film Directing.

The tuition fee is $52,850 a year. 

International students may be eligible for the following types of financial aid:

  • CalArts Institutional, Endowed & Annually Funded Scholarships that are awarded to students holistically based on both need and merit;
  • Education loans for international students;
  • Outside scholarships.

National Film and Television School 

The National Film and Television School is the UK's only film school with its own film and television facilities. It is consistently the only UK film school to be listed in the Hollywood Reporter’s top international film schools list and has been described by Guardian as the ‘World’s Best Film School’.

The school offers a variety of specialized graduate degrees, including 17 master's programs, ranging from Composing for Films and Television, Directing Documentary, VFX (visual effects) to Creative Business, as well as diplomas, certificate awards, and plenty of short courses.

The tuition fee for graduate programs is £24,900 a year (around $33,466).

International students may be eligible for outside scholarships.

Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, Tisch School of the Arts

Many professionals working in the film industry, including the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, editor of Pulp Fiction, and producer of Breaking Bad, have graduated from Kanbar Institute located in the heart of artistic Greenwich village in New York. 

Throughout the studies, students write, direct, and produce multiple movies, shooting and crewing in each other's projects. 

The school offers both an undergraduate film and television program and a three-year graduate program. 

Tuition fees vary from $62,000 to $68,000 a year. Film Production students also have to pay laboratory and equipment insurance fees.

International students may be eligible for the following types of financial aid:

  • Scholarships of New York University
  • CSS Profile to be considered for a need-based scholarship. You can apply and sign up for a CSS Profile on the College Board website. If you already have a profile for the SAT, PSAT, or any other College Board exam, you can use that profile to apply and sign up for a CSS. 
  • Education loans for international students
  • Outside scholarships.

Vancouver Film School

The Vancouver Film School was founded on the philosophy that one year of concentrated work that combines industry-led theory and hands-on production, equips students with the necessary skills to create a professional-level portfolio or reel. 

VFS offers 15 signature post-secondary programs, including Film Production, Writing, Sound Design, Makeup Design, and Acting, as well as numerous programs in Animation and Game Design. All of them lead to a diploma in these fields.  

Tuition fee for international students is CAD 53,750 (around $42,000).

International students may be eligible for the following types of financial aid:

  • Education loans for international students,
  • Outside scholarships.
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