UNCSA’s film school has been recognized by two leading film and television industry publications. The Hollywood Reporter (THR) ranked the school at #10 on its list of the 25 best film schools in America (up from #11 in 2021), and MovieMaker magazine included UNCSA in its list of top film schools in the United States and Canada, citing the school for its “outstanding training of producers”.
THR noted that the schools on its list “offer the best chance of navigating the changing terrain of Hollywood” and cited Dean Deborah LaVine and the recently launched Anthology Production Lab that focuses on developing episodic series. The magazine also noted that TV writer and producer Emily Spivey (“Wine Country,” “Last Man on Earth,” “Saturday Night Live”) will be teaching Acting for Animators this fall. Spivey will teach workshops that also include Comedy Sketch.
MovieMaker magazine praised UNCSA’s Creative Production program, writing that “storytelling meets entrepreneurship in UNCSA’s MFA in Creative Producing program…(the program) teaches students all aspects of story development process from concept to draft, with workshops to familiarize with the script-to-screen process. Students also learn about copyright as it relates to film acquisitions, writing business plans, distribution, and exhibition.
Led by Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies Lauren Vilchik, the two-year MFA in Creative Production guides students in balancing artistic instincts with the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace, using small class sizes and a one-on-one mentoring for a personalized program that adapts to individual voices and backgrounds. The program is designed to fit the schedules of working professionals, and most students can work while earning their degrees.
“I am once again thrilled to see UNCSA getting the recognition it deserves from these respected industry publications,” said Dean LaVine. “I am particularly pleased to see our excellent graduate programs being noticed, as well as the diversification of our curriculum. In today’s ever-changing landscape, it’s more important than ever to prepare students for a range of work – and to do so in a way that positions them financially stronger as they graduate. . I am proud that UNCSA is able to fund all student thesis films and provide world-class training from our experienced faculty at less than half the tuition of peer-to-peer programs.
THR mentioned notable alumni Craig Zobel (BFA ’99), Emmy-nominated director of “Mare of Easttown,” and Danny McBride (BFA ’99), writer/producer of “Halloween” and “The Righteous Gemstones.” MovieMaker cited alumni Jeff Nichols (BFA ’91), writer/director of “Loving” and “Mud,” and Brett Haley (BFA ’05), writer/director of “Hearts Beat Loud” and “The Hero.”
In compiling its annual list, THR “consults with knowledgeable industry players, considers the changes schools have made from year to year, and reviews the alma maters of past year’s award season winners. , film festival breakthroughs and box office stars”.
MovieMaker editors write that they’ve made sure their list “includes not only institutions with a proven track record of training Oscar-winning filmmakers, but also those far from New York and Los Angeles where you can learn filmmaking from some of the best, at reasonable costs.”
About UNCSA Film School
Consistently recognized as one of the top training programs for filmmakers in the nation, the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts has produced some of today’s most creative storytellers, including Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Zach Seivers, Brett Haley, Rebecca Green, Jody Hill, Jeff Nichols, Vera Herbert, Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz, Zoë White, Spencer Beighley and Craig Zobel.
The School of Film’s award-winning faculty have decades of real-world experience and a passion for mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in concentrations that include animation, cinematography, directing, film music composition, image editing and sound design, production, production design and visual effects, and screenwriting.
The film school’s Media + Emerging Technology Lab (METL) is dedicated to exploring and producing immersive storytelling content. Partnerships with the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem and the Sundance Film Festival provide essential networking and screening opportunities, as well as annual trips to Los Angeles and New York. Under Dean LaVine, the School of Film connects students with filmmakers around the world through partnerships with RISEBA University in Riga, Latvia; IFS Köln in Cologne, Germany; and Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in Potsdam, Germany. New program offerings in episodic series and comedy sketch writing broaden the scope of training and make students employable in a wide range of work.
Film School students make more than 130 films a year with all the equipment and funding provided by the university, and the tuition is less than half that of other preeminent film schools. UNCSA presents thesis films both in-person and online (for a limited time), expanding audiences worldwide.
Several film alumni are nominated for Emmy Awards, including Will files (BFA’02), nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing and Outstanding Sound Mixing for the “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” episode of Netflix’s “Stranger Things”; Michael Frein (BFA ’97), nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing in a Comedy or Drama Series (Half Hour) and Animation for HBO’s “Barry” episode, “From Now On”; Akira Fukasawa (BFA ’16), nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) for the “Sanctified” episode of Netflix’s “Ozark”; Jane Rizzo (BFA ’98), nominated for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series for the “Chiantishire” episode of HBO’s “Succession”; ” and Nathaniel Park (BFA ’05), nominated for Outstanding Main Title Design for his work as a team editor for Apple TV+’s “Pachinko.”