FSU film school ranks as one of the best in the nation 


Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts was ranked No. 15 among the nation’s top film schools by one of the entertainment industry’s premier publications.

“We are always proud when The Hollywood Reporter recognizes our excellence, and it’s particularly gratifying to have jumped three spots to No. 15 this year,” said Reb Braddock, dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts. “Credit always goes to our excellent faculty, and of course our highly talented and hard-working alumni, who continue to make FSU’s mark on the industry.”

Each year, the magazine ranks the nation’s best film schools on measures of success, such as their reputation among film professionals, the quality of faculty, facilities and filmmaking equipment, as well as the achievements of their graduates.

In this year’s list of Top 25 American Film Schools, The Hollywood Reporter highlighted FSU’s commitment to facilities and a tight-knit alumni network.

The FSU Film School has one of the finest production facilities in the world, devoted exclusively to motion picture education. From writers’ rooms and sound stages to post-production suites, animation labs and screening rooms, the school functions as an industry-grade production studio.

Faculty member Mark Vargo, ASC, teaches cinematography to masters students. (FSU College of Motion Picture Arts)

The Film School’s Torchlight Center is designed to bridge education to the industry by providing facilities, production and post-production equipment and student support. It has supported the production of projects like “Rachel,” a new feature film by Professor Victor Nunez, the feature documentary “Courtroom 3H” by directing Professor Antonio Mendez Esparza, and two documentaries by producing Professor Valerie Scoon “Invisible History: Middle Florida’s Hidden Roots” and “Daring Women Doctors: 19th Century Physicians,” both of which have aired on PBS.

“Our newest soundstage at our new Torchlight facility features a 70-foot-long by 16-foot-tall virtual production volume,” Braddock said. “We are currently offering coursework in the craft and art of virtual production.”

The Hollywood Reporter highlighted a quote by FSU alumnus Matt Lopez, the writer behind the Andy Garcia-led “Father of the Bride” remake.

“FSU doesn’t just teach the technical aspects of filmmaking, as many other programs do,” Lopez said. “Students are steeped in the traditions of world cinema, from Kubrick to Kurosawa.”

Last year, the Film School initiated a Diverse Voices in Cinema Grant, an Equity Scholarship, annual faculty and staff workshop initiatives and annual diversity events.

“These initiatives are continuing our efforts to promote a feeling of inclusion for students from all backgrounds,” Braddock said.

Tuition includes core production costs of all students’ films, including, but not limited to, industry-standard camera/sound equipment, lights and electric, production vehicles, catering/craft service, a professional post-production facility and entry fees/expenses for finished student work into film festivals.

The list of film school students earning elite honors is also growing.

This year, Taylor Ross, Chase Davis, Costa Karalis and Jack Owen were invited to screen their films at the Cannes Film Festival. Last year Alex McFry and William Stead received the same opportunity at Cannes. In 2019, Shae Demandt, an animation and digital arts major, won a Student Academy Award and became one of only 19 student filmmakers from around the world that year to earn that honor. Last year Skyler Theis and Will O’Neal were semi-finalists in the Student Oscar Documentary competition, and this year, a student documentary directed by Ryan Joiner and Landon Watford was a semi-finalist in the same competition. There were less than one hundred semi-finalists out of nearly 1,500 entries this year.

As for FSU alumni, that list is getting longer, too. In addition to Oscar winners Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski and Jonathan King, other successful graduates include Marvel Studios executive producer Stephen Broussard, who worked on “Iron Man 3,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “The Incredible Hulk”; Melissa Carter, showrunner of Stargirl and Queen Sugar, currently executive-producing the series The Cleaning Lady; Wes Ball, director of the “Maze Runner” movies; who is working on two new projects; Allison Carter, producer of “Zola,” “American Honey” and “The Dinner”; and Ali Bell, executive producer of “Baywatch” and “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.”

For more information about the College of Motion Picture Arts, visit https://film.fsu.edu.