Top 10 Film Schools in the World

Top 10 Film Schools in the World

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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Sep 15, 2023 20:42 IST
Top Ten Film Schools In The World

The global film industry is a booming and competitive field. In order to succeed in this industry, one must be skilled in the various essential tools that are necessary to be successful. This includes learning how to use camera equipment, editing software, and much more. For a successful career in the global film industry, candidates must learn the essential tools and gain cutting-edge skills necessary to succeed in this competitive field. Various qualifications in film studies include diplomas, certificates, and degrees such as BA, MA, BFA, MFA, and Ph.D./M.Phil. Below are some of the best film schools in the world to study film making along with an overview of the programs they offer:

American Film Institute

Located in the film-making capital of the world, Hollywood, the American Film Institute or AFI is one of the most famous schools in the world. The AFI was established to preserve America's cinematic heritage. This organization is dedicated to moving image art and culture and encouraging the growth of an international film community. AFI’s filmmaking programs are offered by the AFI Conservatory boasting alumni with major industry awards including the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards. The AFI Conservatory does not offer typical degrees or diplomas but a highly structured Masters of Fine Arts program in six disciplines - Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Applicants normally must hold an undergraduate degree but if you do not possess one you can apply as an Associate Fellow and go on to receive a Certificate of Completion. Students get an opportunity to learn from the masters in the industry through small class sizes and have access to cutting-edge equipment, facilities, faculty and alumni network, mentors and production coordinators. The estimated tuition fee is around $57000 a year.

Check: Top film schools in Canada

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New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

One of the world’s best-known schools for pursuing cinematic, performing and emerging media arts, NYU Tisch School of the Arts is a major training platform for artists and filmmakers. NYU Tisch School of the Arts has a long-standing commitment to artistic innovation and experimentation. The school is well renowned for its degree programs in film, theatre, dance, creative writing, comedy and other performing arts. The school offers a wide range of programs to suit one’s passion from BA to PhD. You can learn acting, dance, design, animation, games, film performance, film, writing for musical theatre, stage, screen & television, recorded music, photography, preservation, interactive media, and also public policy. After a stint with New York’s cultural life, you can study away at one of the school’s campuses in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai or at the other global academic centres in London, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Florence, Paris, Washington D.C., Accra, and Berlin. NYU Tisch is one of the most competitive film schools for enrollment. The admission requirements vary with each department and program.  Interested applicants must check the school website for up-to-date information. Also read: Pick your Film-Making College in the US


Los Angeles Film School

If you are fresh from high school and aspire to a career in the film industry and do not possess a relevant background and work experience, consider the Los Angeles Film School. A top-ranking school for film studies, the LA Film School is considered one of the best for those starting out their careers in this industry. The school offers associate and bachelor degrees in Film, Animation, Entertainment Business, Audio Production, Music Production, and Animation. The Los Angeles Film School is one of the most affordable schools in LA. It charges a modest annual fee and offers all students a full scholarship for their third year. Admission to the school is through an audition process and students must be 18 years or older for entry. The school aims to provide education that meets the demands of today's industry, with classes in camera operation, sound engineering, lighting, editing, etc. In addition to the programs offered on their Hollywood campus, the school offers online programs in Digital Filmmaking, Entertainment Business, Graphic Design, Music Production, and Animation. One of the school’s facilities includes the historic RCA Building which is known for being a recording place for artists including Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones. The estimated annual tuition fees including books, tech kit, and other fees may range from $32,500 to $87,000 for both domestic and international students.

Vancouver Film School

Located in Vancouver, Canada, Vancouver Film School or VFS is a leading school for entertainment arts. Such is the film school’s reputation that the Government of Shanghai selected VFS to rebuild the nation’s creative industry. The school offers post-secondary programs of one-year duration in areas including Film Production, Makeup Design for Film & Television, Acting for Film & Television, 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Digital Design, Classical Animation, Foundation Visual Art & Design, Game Design, Entertainment Business Management, Sound Design for Visual Media, and Writing for Film & Television. VFS also runs a four-month Acting Essentials course and a 6-month Digital Character Animation program. You are expected to be a high school graduate or at least 19 years of age to apply to VFS. Students at VFS learn all aspects of film-making: camera, sound, lighting, editing and screenwriting.

Concordia University

Concordia University’s The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema is the largest, university-based centre for the study of film animation, film production and film studies in Canada. There are more than 45 programs and degree offerings at the school which span from its academic division to its commercial division. With a student population of over 2000 MMHSC students and over 500 international students from 75 countries. It is one of the nine departments of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the university which offers world-leading programs in visual, performing, cinematic, design, digital, and therapeutic arts. Programs offered by the prestigious Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema include a BFA with majors in areas of Film Animation, Film Production and Film Studies,  an MFA in Cinematic Arts, and an MA and PhD in Film Studies. In addition to film studies, the faculty of arts offers plenty of degree programs in disciplines such as Contemporary Dance, Jazz Studies, Studio Art and many more. Visit the website to browse through the many programs and choose one of your interest.

London Film School

Enhance your skills deeply in filmmaking at the centre of the European Film industry by pursuing a graduate degree from the London Film School or LFS. London Film School is consistently ranked as the best school in Europe for filmmaking and is the top film school in the world. Founded in 1935, LFS has established itself as a global powerhouse for filmmaking education, attracting students from all over the world to live and study at its campus in central London. The school offers a range of graduate degrees that explore every aspect of film production, from screenwriting, LFS is a non-profit organization, one of three UK graduate schools in the UK ScreenSkills Film Academy Network, accredited as a centre of excellence and a global film conservatoire with over 60 per cent students from more than 30 countries. LFS offers MA, PhD and part-time workshops programmes focused on craft excellence, aesthetic achievement, creative collaboration, and artistic freedom. Areas of study include MA Film Making, MA in Screenwriting, MA in International Film Business and a PhD. Film by Practice and many short-term professional development courses. Some of the school’s alumni include cinematographer Roger Pratt (HARRY POTTER) and editor Mark Goldblatt (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES).

National Film and Television School (NFTS), London

Featured as one of the top 15 International film schools by The Hollywood Reporter, 2018 ranking, the National Film and Television School (NFTS)  film, television and games school based in England. NFTS student community makes over a hundred films a year as part of the course curriculum which is higher than any other UK film school. In the last six years, NFTS student films have been nominated three times for an Oscar. The wide variety of programs offered by NFTS includes MA courses in Cinematography, Film Studies Programming and Curation, and Sound Design to name a few, Diploma courses in Directing Commercials, Sports Production among others and Certificate courses in areas such as Character Animation and Producing Your First Feature to name just a few. Interested applicants must go through program-specific application requirements as many Diploma and Certificate courses are not open to international students. The estimated cost to pursue one of the MA degrees is around €30,000 (Euro) a year for international applicants with scholarship options for deserving ones.

Sydney Film School, Australia 

Australia is a popular study-abroad destination, and those interested to pursue film studies in Australia can consider the popular Sydney Film School (SFS) which was founded 14 years ago. It is a private film school offering two 1- year courses - Diploma of Screen and Media, and Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media. The Sydney Film School has been running for 14 years and offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in film studies. The school helps students develop their skills in the fields of writing, directing, cinematography and editing. The Diploma program is an introductory program designed for candidates with no experience and covers all aspects of film making. The Advanced Diploma is designed for deeper studies and offers a specialization such as Production, and Cinematography among others for skill enhancement. The estimated tuition fee for international students is around $19,000. International students are also eligible for scholarships through the Endeavour Awards for participating countries and pursue their studies in SFS.

City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media

For students looking for study options in Asia, the School of Creative Media of the City University of Hong Kong could just be the ideal choice. It is a highly respected media-based university with a wide range of programmes to choose from, including Digital Media and Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, and Film and Television Production. It is the region’s first such institution and offers interdisciplinary training programs across many areas such as computer science, fine arts, visual design, creative writing, cultural studies, and digital technology. The school offers BA and BSc in Creative Media, BAS New Media, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Media and Ph.D./MPhil programmes. Programmes are integrated with study abroad exchange programmes and internships enabling students to gain industry experience. Admissions are rigorous and may include written tests, interviews, and portfolio submissions to assess the applicant’s fit into the school. Applicants must check the requirements on the school website before applying.

Lodz Film School

One of the oldest film schools in the world, Poland’s Lodz Film School is a one-stop solution for candidates seeking knowledge in film art, television, photography, and acting. Lodz Film School is one of the oldest film schools in the world. The school has been around for a long and has a reputation for producing some of the world's most influential movie directors. Also known as the Polish National Film School in Lodz or Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television, and Theatre, the school has four departments – Film and Television Directing, Direction of Photography and Television Production, Acting and Film Art Organization. The school typically offers consolidated Masters's programs lasting for 4- 5 years in areas such as Direction, Screenwriting and Acting. Tuition fees can range from 2000 to 6000 Euro per semester for Masters studies. The school also offers various part-time programs and PhD studies in film, television and theatre specializations.  As a foreign student without Polish language knowledge, you have to join a Polish language class since the language of instruction is entirely Polish. Graduates from Lodz are placed across the global film industry as academy award and BAFTA award-winning directors, photographers, animators, cinematographers, production managers and actors among others. Visit their website and browse through all the program-specific information before applying.

In addition to the above, aspiring filmmakers can also consider these reputed schools around the globe:

  • Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Australia 
  • Film and Television Institute of India, India
  • Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague
  • Screen Academy Scotland, UK 
  • York University, Canada
  • USC School of Cinematic Arts, USA
  • Biola University, USA
  • New York Film Academy, USA
  • Boston University, USA
  • Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), South Korea
  • Beijing Film Academy, China

Read More: Pick your Film-Making College in the US


Q. Is a career in film industry worth the time and efforts?

A. How well would you perform or grow in the film industry will all depend upon your interests, objectives, and expectations. Being an extremely competitive field, it is imperative to possess out-of-the-box skills or talent if one wishes to mark his spot. One needs to have perseverance and need to dedicate a lot of time and effort in order to find success here. One has to be passionate with regard to filmmaking and should be ready to work hard through difficult challenges. Due to the prevailing stiff competition, you need to build a good network and connections to move ahead.

Q. Will I earn well in the film industry?

A. Your earnings in the film industry will depend upon various factors such as your experience level, kind of profile, position, and success obtained. Some of the high-salaried roles include that of directors, producers, and actors. People who are a part of the crew team or support staff may obtain comparatively lower salaries. Also, the compensation may also be based on the movie's success, earnings at the box office and critical acclaim. There is no guarantee that an actor will always earn big bucks. If you're not well-reviewed or liked by the audience, your market value will decrease and so will your earnings.

Q. Which is the best country to study film courses?

A. No country can be technically termed as 'the best' for studying film courses as film education's quality is different in every institution and country. But there are a few nations which are renowned for their film institutes and programmes such as Canada, France, the US, the UK, Germany, etc. Excellent programmes are offered at New York University, UCLA, and the University of Southern California for all those who wish to study in the US. Those targeting the UK can enrol themselves at London Film School, the National Film and Television School, etc. The Louis Lumière College and the La Fémis are among the best film institutes.  

Q. Which is the toughest film school to get into in the world?

A. There are many great film institutes across the globe and how tough would it be to get into them would depend upon various factors such as the location of the institute, programme's reputation, selectivity, alumni etc. Some of the tough nuts to crack are Beijing Film Academy (BFA), China, La Fémis, Paris, France, American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory, Los Angeles, USA, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, USA, University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts and the like.

Q. Is it expensive to study in a film school?

A. How much money would you have to shell out for pursuing a film-related course highly depends upon where the institute is located, its reputation, and programme chosen. Usually, studying in a film institute can be quite costly as these organisations invest quite well in facilities, specialised equipment, and faculty needed to impart lessons to students which are skill-centric. Students are therefore recommended to do their research well and compare different film institutes, their pros and cons, before finalising one.  
About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio



Hi, how are the job opportunities for film making in London after completing studies.

Reply to Ashish Vidyarthi

Swameeka Medhi

4 years ago

Hi Ashish, job opportunities otherwise are plenty however for Indian students it is not easy obtaining a work permit. However, in this field we see many Indians in good positions. You have to check with the institute for solid projects and internships with employers after which you may land up a jo