Looking for the best Best film schools in Illinois but do not know where to start form? Don’t worry! Here, we have researched and created a list of the “Best film schools in Illinois” that will give you value for money.
Hollywood is the biggest movie industries in the world and has produced brilliant talents over the years in terms of writers, producers, actors and actresses, videographers and so on.
The likes of Johnny Depp, ScarlettJohansson, LeonardoDiCaprio, JenniferLawrence, AngelinaJolie, Dwayne Johnson, Will Smith and so many talents are all Hollywood products.
Hollywood presence has become an avenue for many Americans to gain their dream of working in the entertainment industry.
A film school is an educational institution that focuses on filmmaking subjects such as production, theory, digital media production, and screenwriting. Most film school curricula include film history classes as well as hands-on technical training.
So, if you live in Illinois and you are dreaming of becoming a star on television you need to attend a good film school well equipped with material and human resources to bring out your creativity.
- 10 Best film schools in Illinois
- 1. Northwestern’s School of Communication
- 2. University of Illinois
- 3. DePaul: School of Cinematic Arts
- 4. School of Art Institute Chicago
- 5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- 6. Columbia College Chicago
- 7. Southern Illinois University
- 8. Judson University
- 9. Lewis University
- 10. University of Chicago
- How to Apply to Film School
10 Best film schools in Illinois
Choosing the right Illinois film school can make your educational and career goals a reality. Check out this guide below to learn about Illinois film schools and how you can learn from acclaimed programs.
1. Northwestern’s School of Communication
Northwestern’s School of Communication has a film programme that offers a BA in Film and Television. The school also offers an MFA in Screenwriting.
The programme is designed to give students a strong foundation in the art and craft of screenwriting, directing, producing and cinematography. Students learn about the history of cinema, but also about storytelling in other media such as literature and theatre.
The curriculum includes courses in script analysis, visual storytelling, production theory and practice, editing, sound design, lighting and directing actors. Students also have the opportunity to work with industry professionals on their projects as part of their coursework.
Northwestern has an impressive alumni network that includes many notable filmmakers like Alexander Payne (Sideways) and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up). Its graduates have gone on to work at major companies like Disney/ABC Television Group, Universal Pictures, Hulu and Netflix.
The tuition fee for an undergraduate student at Northwestern University is $50,000 per year, while the fees for a graduate student are $46,700 per year.
2. University of Illinois
The University of Illinois is a public research university in Chicago, Illinois. It is the largest university in the state and is one of only two public universities in Illinois that feature a medical school.
The University of Illinois at Chicago has a film program that was founded in 1966. The program enjoys a national reputation for its production and screenwriting courses, as well as its emphasis on industry connections and professional experience. The university’s School of Theatre, Television, Radio and Dance offers a bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Interactive Media Studies. Students can choose to concentrate on film studies or interactive media studies.
Students who wish to pursue graduate-level education may apply directly into the Master of Fine Arts program or they may apply into the Master of Arts Program with no intention of going on to earn a second master’s degree but rather to complete their coursework requirements in two years while working full-time at their chosen career path (i.e., acting on Broadway).
The Master of Fine Arts program requires 30 hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree. While applicants must have completed an undergraduate major in visual art like photography or drawing/painting before entering the MFA program, students from all majors are welcome if they have outstanding portfolios that show potential for success.
Tuition Fees: Undergraduate students pay $13,834 per year for tuition fees (in-state students) and $23,834 per year for out-of-state students. Graduate students pay $15,840 for tuition fees per year.
3. DePaul: School of Cinematic Arts
DePaul: School of Cinematic Arts has a great Film programme that’s perfect for those who want to become film directors. The course covers all of the technical aspects of filmmaking and also teaches students how to write scripts, produce films and market them.
DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts offers students the opportunity to study in Chicago with some of the best professionals in the industry. It is one of only five schools in America where students can complete a BA in Cinema Production degree program. The school has been around since 1919, so they know what they are doing! There are several different pathways that you can choose from depending on your interests and goals.
The curriculum is designed to give students real world experience by working together on projects that would be seen by the public. Students will learn how to write scripts, produce films and market them too! This is an excellent program if you want to work in film production or as a director when you graduate from university!
Tuition fees for graduate degrees at DePaul: School of Cinematic Arts range from $32,000 to $63,000 per year depending on residency status (part-time or full-time).
4. School of Art Institute Chicago
The School of Art Institute of Chicago offers a five-year program leading to a BA in Film and Video. The program has been ranked as one of the top three programs in the country by Filmmaker Magazine and is widely regarded as one of the best film schools in Illinois.
The School of Art Institute Chicago (SAIC) is an independent, accredited college of art and design located in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to its undergraduate degree programs, SAIC also offers master’s degrees in fine arts (MFA), art education, and arts administration.
The film programme at SAIC is a five-year integrated BFA/MFA degree program that focuses on both theory and practice. Students are encouraged to explore their interests through internships with local production companies and agencies, including such prestigious organizations as WTTW-Channel 11 and Kartemquin Films.
The school also has strong ties to industry professionals from around the world who come to offer guest lectures and help students find internships during their time at SAIC.
Notable alumni include director J5qqohn Singleton; producer Albert Berger; actor John Cusack; actor Vincent D’Onofrio; actor Peter Gallagher; actress Joan Allen and director Steve James.
The tuition fee for international students who wish to study at School of Art Institute Chicago is approximately $35000 per semester (10 months). This fee covers all your expenses except accommodation costs (if you don’t live on campus).
5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a BFA degree in film and media arts. The programme is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, Theatre and Dance (NASMT).
The Department of Cinema & Media Studies at UIUC was founded in 1969. In 2010, it was renamed the Department of Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS). The department offers courses that focus on the history and theory behind major films and genres.
The School of Art + Design at UIUC offers a BFA degree in filmmaking. Students can choose from several specialisations including animation, documentary production, screenwriting, directing, post-production and more.
Students learn how to use both analogue and digital technologies to produce their own films. They also gain an understanding of how these processes contribute to the overall production process in terms of budgeting, scheduling and managing crews.
The cost of attendance for Illinois residents living on campus is $21,890 per year; non-residents pay $36,923 per year. Room and board costs $10,490 annually for both resident and non-resident students.
6. Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago is one of the largest colleges in the United States, with some 1,600 students enrolled. The school offers a range of courses in film and media arts, with more than 40 majors and 80 minors. It also has an extensive list of extracurricular activities available to its students, including student clubs and organizations.
The school’s film programme offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film & Video Production or Cinematography. The curriculum includes courses in directing, lighting, sound recording and editing as well as producing and business management. Students can also choose from electives such as Digital Filmmaking I & II and Advanced Screenwriting.
The school offers two different types of degrees: the BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree and the BA (Bachelor’s Degree). While both degrees offer similar majors and minors, they differ slightly in their academic requirements. For example, while both degrees allow you to major in Film & Video Production or Cinematography, only the BFA degree allows you to specialize in Acting for Film & Video Production or Directing for Film & Video Production.
The tuition fee for Columbia College Chicago is $29,000 per year. Columbia College Chicago also has an open admissions policy, which means that all applicants are accepted regardless of their academic record or financial need.
7. Southern Illinois University
The Southern Illinois University is one of the most famous film schools in the state. This is because it offers an undergraduate programme in filmmaking, which is a rarity when it comes to colleges and universities. The programme is a four-year bachelor’s degree and students can choose from two specialisations: Film Production or Screenwriting.
The courses are taught by experienced industry professionals who have worked on films such as The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins and Iron Man.
The curriculum covers all aspects of filmmaking from screenwriting to directing, production to editing and cinematography. Students also get hands-on experience through internships with local film companies that include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., Disney and HBO Sports.
Tuition at SIU is $9,300 per year for residents of Illinois and $21,500 for non-residents of Illinois. The tuition includes fees but does not include room and board. Room and board costs approximately $11,000 per year at SIU.
8. Judson University
Judson University is a private Christian liberal arts college in Elgin, Illinois. It was founded in 1858 as the Elgin Female College by the United Church of Christ and became a four-year institution in 1959.
It offers associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees and masters degrees on its main campus in Elgin, as well as online.
The film programme at Judson University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Courses include digital media production, film history, digital cinema production, animation and more.
The film department at Judson University has an extensive array of facilities available to students. They include two sound stages with high definition video cameras and lighting rigs, two edit suites with Final Cut Pro editing software and high definition video monitors; a green screen studio with chromakey lighting equipment; two motion capture studios; a motion capture suit; three green screen rooms; a Foley stage; a full-size radio station studio with CD players and microphones; an editing room with audio mixing board and effects processors etc.; collaboration spaces for group work; a large theater style classroom that seats up to 120 people comfortably.
Undergraduate tuition at Judson University is $35,000 per year for residents of Illinois or Wisconsin and $43,000 per year for out-of-state residents. Students who are residents of Michigan or Indiana will pay $36,000 per year and those who are residents of Iowa or Missouri will pay $39,500 per year.
9. Lewis University
Lewis University’s film programme is a four-year undergraduate degree that offers students the opportunity to study film and television production. The programme focuses on hands-on learning in all aspects of filmmaking, including directing, producing, cinematography and screenwriting.
The Film Studies programme at Lewis is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills in their analysis of film as an art form and communication medium. It also provides a foundation for further study in film studies or related areas such as business or law.
The Film Studies degree includes courses in film theory, history and criticism; the history of American cinema; the international cinema; experimental cinema; documentary filmmaking; and aesthetics as well as other topics relevant to understanding modern media culture.
Tuition for undergraduate students is $20,890 per year for Illinois residents and $21,990 per year for non-residents.
10. University of Chicago
The University of Chicago has a small but growing film programme. The department offers degrees in film and media studies, cinema, and international studies.
The cinema degree is a BA or MA in Cinema and Media Studies. It involves courses in film history and theory, production, screenwriting and editing, acting for the camera, directing for the camera, acting on stage/film, directing for theatre/film. Students can also study abroad at one of the school’s partner institutions in Europe or Asia.
The international studies degree is designed for students who want to combine skills in cultural analysis with deep knowledge of other countries and regions around the world. Students can choose from an array of specializations such as cinema history and theory; global media; comparative contemporary cultures; or transnational migration studies.
Tuition for the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago is $69,000 per year. The part-time program costs $35,000 annually. Tuition for first-year undergraduates who live on campus is $50,290 per year; those who commute pay $41,834 annually.
How to Apply to Film School
- You must effectively express yourself. Communication is key. Students who can communicate clearly and compellingly are sought after by film schools. Learn the art of storytelling. Learn the technical aspects of language and grammar. You don’t have to be a screenwriting expert.
- Develop a well-rounded personality. You’ll need more than just raw talent. It’s easy to believe that your academic credentials have nothing to do with your creativity or aptitude for a career in filmmaking. And you may be partially correct. Nonetheless, grades are important. Your academic performance will be a factor in whether you make the cut, especially since spaces in prestigious film schools are limited and competitive.
- Try your hand at being on the other side of the camera. Sign up for acting classes. It may not be required for admission to school, but it will broaden your horizons.
- You must speak for yourself. Film schools are interested in hearing your voice. You’ve lived a full life and have something to say. You will bring your own distinct perspective to the film school that is fortunate to have you. That’s precisely what film schools want to see. What distinguishes you from other applicants? What is your story?
As you should have expected, getting trained in a top-notch film and cinematography school in America is not cheap, so set aside money for your tuition, lodging, food, and equipment.
To ensure that you are getting quality value for your money, choose schools that can boast of industry-standard training facilities.
Make inquiries and get the latest news and updates by visiting the official websites of these film schools.