Best Film Schools in Virginia (2020) – Review

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Film school is said to be a waste of time by some people, but those who actually go to it know what’s really up. 

It can lead to job opportunities such as film editing, directing, producing, cinematography, etc. based on your expertise and skills. 

In this article, we have reviewed the best film schools in Virginia. So if you’re also looking for one here, have a look at our top picks. 

Job Outlook in Virginia After Film School

Film school is already not a popular enough principle, with people mostly thinking it to be a waste of time and not worth it. They think that the more practical fields of work are better. As it is, the outlook of jobs regarding film school graduates is not that great in Virginia, as they are very limited, with jobs such as cinematographers, directors, and producers available in small amounts. 

But it is not all bad because as a film school graduate, your main objective is to make movies and visually communicate through media with people, which is something that can be done anywhere.

As of 2018, according to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, the annual median income of film school graduates is $71,680, with people who work in public relations and advertising is slightly ahead of the game with an annual median income of $89,330. This is followed by producers and directors in film and video industries with an income of $84,770. For camera operators, it is $54,570, and for video editors, it is $62,330.

It is expected that jobs in film will increase between 5% and 14% from 2018 to 2028, which is a good sign.

Quick Take - Best Film Schools in Virginia

Before we dive into our review, here are the best film schools in Virginia:

  1. Liberty University 
  2. George Mason University
  3. Virginia Commonwealth University

List of the Top Film Schools in Virginia

Now that we have discussed a little about the job outlook for film school graduates in Virginia, let’s get into our picks of the top film schools and the programs they provide.

Best Overall:
Liberty University

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $22,584 per year
  • Type of degree: 4 years, Bachelor’s Degree - Film Production and Content Development, 4 years, Bachelor’s Degree - Cinematic Arts 
  • Number of students: 110,000
  • Student:Teacher ratio: 18:1

Our Review of the Program

This program is known for its amazing approach towards filmmaking and for engaging its students theoretically and practically in the art of contemporary filmmaking.

The director, Stephen Schultze, takes a unique approach to fulfill his vision for film education. He emphasizes on not just theory and classwork, but practical filmmaking techniques as well. This is why the students are encouraged to work on professional movie sets in different positions. All this leads to them gaining experience, which is useful for their careers.

This course provides students specifically with skills that lead to the creation of an amazing film that can meet the international standards of distribution. You also get professional-level equipment and training to make all your filmmaking dreams come true.

In addition to all this, the department hosts speakers and successful professionals all year round, which enhances the student’s knowledge and helps them understand things from a professional’s perspective and point of view.

School Info

  • Average Local Tuition Cost: $12,462 per year
  • Average Domestic Tuition Cost: $35,922 per year
  • Type of degree: 2 Years, Multidisciplinary Film Program – Graduate Degree.
  • Number of students: 35,960
  • Student:Teacher ratio: 17:1

Our Review of the Program

The film program at George Mason University is known as the first interdisciplinary film program in Virginia. The school is also one of the few that offers an undergraduate degree with a specific focus on producing.

The courses provided by the school give the students a better understanding of filmmaking and a greater knowledge about its concepts and theories, as well as what is practically required to make stories with depth, sophistication, and maturity.

They are five areas of concentrations: Directing, Producing, Cinematography (Production), Editing and Sound (Post-Production), and Screenwriting. Along with these, classes are also offered in Film and Media Studies, English, Communication, Theatre, Game Design, and Art for building a broader base.

The University is ranked 27 nationwide in accordance with film schools. It has 120+ student productions per year and 140+ student screenings in national and international film festivals. They have Hans Charles, an Emmy-nominated cinematographer, as an assistant professor. There is a lot of diversity, as 46% of students are of color, and 49% are women and non-binary. This makes it a great environment to learn in and build a greater worldview.

School Info

  • Average Local Tuition Cost: $14,493 per year
  • Average Domestic Tuition Cost: $35,834 per year
  • Type of degree: 4 Years, Bachelors of Fine Arts – Photography and Film.
  • Number of students: 31,242
  • Student:Teacher ratio: 18:1
Our Review of the Program

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a BFA program with two majors, Filmmaking and Photography. This provides great opportunities for students in learning and skill acquiring.

In Filmmaking, each student graduates with a few works under their belt and experience in a few different professional fields related to it. They gain a better understanding of practically applying theories in films such as directing, producing, editing, etc. A clear emphasis is put on independent and artisanal filmmaking in areas of experimental media, fiction, and documentary.

The students graduate with a Thesis Capstone Film, which is developed over the entire course of their senior year and then publicly presented in a screening.

After completion, students will be able to: 

  • Recall theories about independent filmmaking

  • Show proficiency in the usage of different types of filmmaking tools and equipment
  • Effectively communicate visually, in writing and express different ideas and stories for all kinds of people
  • Take modern issues and translate them through the context of film and media

It shows that it offers students a chance to become professionals with a great visual sense and understanding of filmmaking theories and principles.

School Info

  • Average Local Tuition Cost: $5,610 per year
  • Average Domestic Tuition Cost: $11,618 per year
  • Type of degree: 2 Years, Associate in Fine Arts – Cinema
  • Number of students: 76,868
  • Student:Teacher ratio: 26:1

Our Review of the Program

Northern Virginia Community College offers an Associate in Fine Arts, with a concentration on cinema. It is a program specifically designed for people who want to continue in the field of visual arts, such as those who want a bachelor’s degree in visual arts with majors such as cinema, media production, or film.

This program consists of subjects such as:

  • Film Production
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Film Appreciation
  • College Composition
  • Screenwriting
  • Acting
  • Portfolio Design
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Art of Film
  • Digital Film Editing and Post-Production
  • Directing

There are electives offered, too, including Art, English literature, Physical and Life Sciences, etc. The total credit hours required to receive your degree are 68.

This is a great program that offers you the base knowledge required to get into filmmaking, as well as helps you to move onto bigger things such as professional directing, producing, and editing.

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $18,380 per year
  • Type of degree: 4 Years, B.A in Cinema-Television, 2 years, M.A in Film – Television, 2 Years, MFA in Film – Television 
  • Number of students: 8,630
  • Student:Teacher ratio: 19:1

Our Review of the Program

Regent University filmmaking students are known for making films that are timeless in their stories and values, which makes them equivalent to the old classics in many ways. But they also take on contemporary subjects and are able to successfully communicate them to their audience visually, leaving an impact.

They offer over one million dollars’ worth of standard equipment used in the actual filmmaking industry, highly experienced faculty, and up to 100 different annual film projects to choose from, which is amazing. They are consistently evolving and improving their teaching methods, helping their students understand concepts and theories as well as how to apply them practically.

This allows their students to finish their MFA program in just two years, which is great as it has been listed as one of the top ten film schools in the country.

Best Film Schools in Virginia Comparison Table

Below, we have compiled some basic information regarding the schools on this list, to help compare and understand which one is best suited according to your budget and preferences.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 4-years, Bachelor’s Degree - Film Production and Content Development, 4-years, Bachelor’s Degree - Cinematic Arts.
  • $22,584 per year
  • Number of students: 110,000
LEARN MORE →Read Customer Reviews
  • 2-Years, Multidisciplinary Film Program – Graduate Degree.
  • $12,462 per year
  • Number of students: 35,960
LEARN MORE →Read Customer Reviews
  • 4-Years, Bachelors of Fine Arts – Photography and Film.
  • $14,493 per year
  • Number of students: 31,242
LEARN MORE →Read Customer Reviews
  • 2-Years, Associate in Fine Arts – Cinema
  • $5,610 per year
  • Number of students: 76,868
LEARN MORE →Read Customer Reviews
  • 4-Years, B.A in Cinema-Television, 2-years, M.A in Film – Television, 2 Years, MFA in Film – Television.
  • $18,380 per year
  • Number of students: 8,630
LEARN MORE →Read Customer Reviews

Conclusion

All of the schools on this list are our own personal picks. The data compiled about them has been done through meticulous research and reviews of students. We hope that this is helpful for anyone looking to get into film schools or interested in such programs.

Other Film School Reviews 

Looking for film schools in other areas? Here are a few other reviews:

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