If film is your passion, there is no shortage of learning institutions in Philly. Whether you just want to learn more as a hobby or to advance your career, there is a wide variety of courses available from both large universities and smaller schools. Filmmaking courses can be taken towards a Master or Bachelor degree from many schools, and there is also the option for a certificate. What type of degree you may need will depend on your own situation and preference, but some of the best specialty schools for film are right here in Philadelphia.
The Art Institute of Philadelphia
1622 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Art Institute of Philadelphia may be a smaller school, but it is still nationally recognized. Since it specializes in art, a creative type who also has interests in other areas beyond film will find this school to be a good choice. The Art Institute offers bachelor degrees in Media and Filmmaking. Students can take courses on filmmaking and design, audio production and visual effects, among other courses. A degree from here can be useful in the film industry or as a tangential job working in web design or video game production.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Film School
128 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1805 and is highly ranked amongst students. Students talk about the beauty of the campus, the competitiveness of the school and the discounts available to students for other Philadelphia art attractions. Students can take a wide variety of art classes in filmmaking, direction and design as well as other fine art classes. This school also has an attached museum and is arguably one of the best in the city. The Pennsylvania Academy even puts on an independent film festival each year in the early summer, and one famous past attendee is filmmaker David Lynch.
The Philadelphia Film Academy
2019 S. Juniper St., 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19148
The Philadelphia Film Academy is another school exclusively focused on the art of making film. There is the option to complete a certificate program in film making and animation for those who want to enhance their career or for those who are just starting out. The school also offers many weekend courses for people who have other responsibilities. Classes range from 15 weeks to one year. The college-level, full-immersion classes teach directing, editing, producing, cinematography and screenwriting. One of the benefits of this school is that it tailors your classes so you can focus on exactly what you’re interested in.
Philadelphia Film Connection
1735 Market St., Suite 3750
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Philadelphia Film Connection is a smaller specialty school established in 1982 that only focuses on courses for the budding filmmaker. These courses include film theory, film history, filmmaking, screenwriting and editing, amongst others. Students have opportunities to build a network, make a screenplay and begin shooting sequences to take to an agent to pitch. Film Connection has schools across the country and will fly you to Los Angeles as part of your academic experience. This is a mentor-driven program and described as ‘real world’ training. Rather than just working in classrooms, students work with other filmmakers and professionals in an internship type of learning.
Department of Film and Media Arts
2020 N. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Temple University is a nationally recognized school and the largest school on this list, with plenty of film opportunities for students in the Philadelphia area. Temple offers a wide variety of film-related courses as well as degrees in filmmaking and media production. It also offers dual credits for life experiences. You can get a bachelors or masters in film from Temple in two different film programs. Bill Cosby went to Temple, and although he didn’t study film at the university, the school has “America’s Dad’s” seal of approval.
Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.