THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER -- Learning to become a filmmaker used to be much simpler: All you needed was a 16mm camera, a few scraps of film stock and an inspirational teacher. But these days, film schools are considered useless unless they offer state-of-the-art augmented reality labs, high-end digital Steadicams and at least one course taught by James Franco — all of which makes applying to these institutions more confusing than ever before.
To help, The Hollywood Reporter presents its sixth annual ranking of the 25 best U.S. film schools (and a list of 15 of the best foreign film schools). As always, the magazine assembled the list by consulting with academic experts, industry professionals and scores of film school alumni.
San Francisco State University’s School of Cinema has made the list for the third year in a row, this year at No. 21.
“In 2014, it had 800 undergrad and graduate students; This year, enrollment has ballooned to 1,200. But its Master’s programs remain exclusive: Only 15 students are admitted each year for M.F.A.s and only 10 for M.A.s.
“‘My favorite experience at SFSU was walking around the city with a 16mm Bolex and only a loose idea of what I wanted to film,’ recalls Ethan Van der Ryn (’85), who went on to become sound editor for the Transformers and The Lord of the Rings franchises.
“Notable alumni: Steve Zaillian, producer; Jonas Rivera (Inside Out).”
Photo by Hannah Anderson