Film Schools In California Los Angeles

Last Updated on January 14, 2022

The Los Angeles area is a Hollywood hotspot for both the film industry and aspiring filmmakers. Many Film Schools in California offer degrees on how to become a filmmaker, editor or cinematographer. With the right program, you will be well equipped with the skills you need to work in post-production and be able to provide top notch quality that contributes to long lasting careers.

There are an extensive number of cheapest colleges in kentucky out of state, postgraduate, and graduate degrees. You can find universities that offer tuition-free education, as well as international universities that are less expensive.

You can get more information on the best film schools in the world, los angeles film school notable alumni, and los angeles film school tuition on Collegelearners.

A Thorough Review of the Best Film Schools in Los Angeles 2021 »  SchoolinfoGists

Best Film Schools In Los Angeles

SchoolTuitionAdmission PercentageGraduation RatePoints
New York Film Academy$33,834100%69%7
Chapman University$57, 21455.65%81%7
Loyola Marymount University$52,97747%80%6
University of California Los Angeles$13,24912.4%92%6
American Film Institute$59,95150%n/a3
Art Center of Design$46,48657%69%7
California Institute of the Arts$53,46625.28%61%6
University of Southern California$60,27511%92%5
Los Angeles Film School$33,100n/a55%4
California State – Northridge$7,01758%55%9

Below is our list of the top 10 best film schools in Los Angeles for 2021

The Best Film Schools in Los Angeles

10. American Film Institute

Los Angeles, California 

School Profile

Tuition Fees: $59, 951
Points: 3

The American Film Institute (AFI) was founded in 1969. This film school has a reputation for attracting older professionals and students who have no interest in traditional campus life. AFI uses hands-on collaboration as its primary teaching tool.

The programs offered at AFI are at the masters’ level; however, students without an undergraduate degree can still apply to the programs. Those without a bachelor’s degree will receive a Certificate of Completion after their studies rather than a master’s degree.

81% of AFI graduates enter the field after graduation, which is a pretty impressive placement rate. The school also boasts that alumni have won 34 Best Oscar nominations since its inception. AFI alumni from the six disciplines have been nominated for an Academy Award every year for the past decade. Alumni from this school include Darren Aronofsky, Edward Zwick, David Lynch, and Terrence Malic. The six disciplines at AFI are:

  • Cinematography
  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Producing
  • Production design
  • Screenwriting

9. Los Angeles Film School

Hollywood, California

School Profile

Tuition Fees: $33,100
Points: 4

The Los Angeles Film School was founded in 1999 and is situated in the famous RCA Building on Sunset Boulevard. This school offers a less traditional school environment, which is perfect if you are self-motivated. The Los Angeles Film School gives students direct, hands-on experience in audio production, film, and music.

This school also offers online degrees in Digital Film Making, Entertainment Business, Graphic Design, Music Production, and animation. Notable Alumni include Kyle Newachuk, Brandon Trost, and Hannah Lux Davis. The programs offered by the Los Angeles Film School include the following:

  • Animation – visual effects
  • Animation – game art
  • Audio Production
  • Entertainment Business
  • Film – production
  • Film – cinematography
  • Film – directing
  • Film – producing
  • Music Production

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

School Profile

Tuition: $60,275
Points: 5

According to, the University of Southern California (USC) ranks #1 in the country for Best Colleges in Film and Photography. USC is one of the most challenging schools to get accepted into, with an acceptance rate of 11%. This school has a wide variety of programs for students looking to build a career in the Los Angeles film industry.

The adage, you get what you pay for, applies to USC. With the film school receiving a $200 million endowment, it can afford to provide the best and latest technology to its students. Notable alumni include Ron Howard, Judd Apatow, Miranda Cosgrove, and George Lucas. Programs offered by USC include:

  • Division of cinema & media studies
  • Film & television production
  • John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts
  • Interactive media & games
  • Media arts + practice
  • Peter Stark Producing program
  • John Wells Division of Writing for screen & television
  • John H. Mitchell Business of Cinematic Arts

7. California Institute of the Arts

Valencia, California

School Profile

Tuition: $53,466
Points: 6

This school ranks ninth in’s listing of the Best Colleges for Film & Photography. The most popular majors at this institution are cinematography and video production, studio arts, and acting. The California Institute of the Arts is recognized globally for being a school that provides diverse opportunities for emerging filmmakers.

You’re not just a number at the California Institute of the Arts. This school provides each student with their own faculty member, assigned to be an academic advisor and mentor. Famous alumni from this institution include Tim Burton, John Lasseter, and James Mangold. Programs offered by the school include:

  • Film directing
  • Film & Video
  • Experimental animation
  • Character animation

6. University of California Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

School Profile

Tuition: $13,249
Points: 6

The University of California, Los Angeles is another school with a competitive acceptance rate, where only 12.4% of applicants are accepted. UCLA’s School of Theater has produced some of the film industry’s most significant contributions, including Francis Ford Coppola, creator of the Godfather Trilogy. UCLA’s film program is closely linked with its theater and acting programs, allowing for great collaborations.

UCLA offers programs at all levels, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in the school’s Film, Television, and Digital Media department. Notable UCLA alumni include Jack Black, Francis Ford Coppola, Rob Reiner, and Tim Robbins. The programs they offer include:

  • Animation
  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Documentary
  • Producing
  • Screenwriting
  • Cinema & media studies
Los Angeles Film School - Santa Monica College

5. Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, California

School Profile

Tuition: $52,977
Points: 6

Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is ranked #12 on’s list of the Best Colleges for Film and Photography. Although this school isn’t considered top-tier, it is firmly positioned as one of the world’s best schools.

LMU has the Incubator Lab, which operates in partnership with Film Independent as a nonprofit arts organization. LMU and Incubator Lab created this collaboration to help emerging filmmakers, providing mentorship and free access to industry studios.

Well-known alumni from LMU include Scott Eastwood and Barbara Broccoli. LMU has a surprising number of minors, majors, and graduate programs for film students to choose from depending on what they’re seeking. The programs they offer include:

  • Animation
  • Film & television production
  • Film, television & media studies
  • Recording arts
  • Screenwriting

4. Art Center of Design

Pasadena, California

School Profile

Tuition: $46,486
Points: 7

The Art Center of Design is primarily a school of the arts, so you will find the film curriculum less developed than others on this list. This school combines access to world-class equipment with expert guidance. One of the school’s core principles is that learning happens when creating. Students have the opportunities to shoot, edit, and film as many projects as they can during their studies.

Famous alumni from the Center include Zack Snyder and Michael Bay. This school provides courses in all aspects of storytelling, whether for the small screen or the big screen. The Art Center of Design offers three tracks of study; they are:

  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Editing

3. New York Film Academy

Burbank, California

School Profile

Tuition: $33,834
Points: 7

Initially based in New York, the Film Academy has a substantial presence on its Los Angeles campus. This school is located in North Hollywood, which is within walking distance of Universal Studios. The teaching approach is learning by doing, hands-on method. This film school has a lot in common with its rival, the American Film Institute, which is also on this list.

This school originally started as a dedicated film school; however, it has expanded its offering to cover other available disciplines to visual storytellers. Noteworthy alumni from this school include Naya Rivera, Issa Rae, Paul Dano, and Damon Wayans. There are a wide variety of programs offered by the New York Film Academy include:

  • Film school
  • Acting school
  • Photography school
  • Producing school
  • 3D Animation & visual effects school
  • Documentary school
  • Screenwriting school
  • Digital editing school
  • Cinematography school

2. Chapman University

Orange, California

School Profile

Tuition: $57,214
Points: 7

Chapman University is #25 on’s list of the Best Colleges for Film and Photography in the United States. Its cinematography and video production major is the second most popular specialization at the school, with 160 graduates, with Business majors having the largest number of graduates at 366. The school offers students the ability to pursue either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

This university is looking to increase its student body diversity. They are doing this by actively recruiting students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. The school is also launching a scholarship fund that will provide up to 10 full scholarships per year for underrepresented young men and women from the local community.

Famous alumni from this school include Matt and Ross Duffer and Carlos Lopez Estrada. The university offers programs in the following areas:

  • Film production
  • Film studies
  • Broadcast journalism and Documentary
  • Screen acting
  • Screenwriting
  • Television writing & production
  • Creative Producing

1. California State University – Northridge

Northridge, California

School Profile

Tuition: $7,017
Points: 9

This film school is ranked number 1 on this list for many reasons! They scored top points in all of the categories used in this list’s ranking. Our list isn’t the only one that rates California State University Northridge’s (CSUN) program highly; Variety Magazine includes the program in a list of the top 30 film programs globally. The Hollywood Reporter has it in their list of top 25 American film schools.

CSUN is recognized internationally for its reputation for producing talented and dedicated entertainment professionals who recognize hard work value. That’s the kind of reputation you want supporting you after graduation when you’re looking for work! Famous alumni from CSUN include Paul Hunter, Darren Grant, and Dale Launer. Programs offered by CSUN include:

  • Emerging media production
  • Entertainment media management
  • Film production
  • Media theory & criticism
  • Screenwriting
  • Television production – Documentary
  • Television production – narrative

los angeles film school tuition

Largest Programs Costs and Completion Time

The largest program at Los Angeles Film School is Music Technology and its 2021 tuition & fees are $33,100. For reference, the average tuition for the Music Technology program of all trade schools in the United States is $15,000.The next table shows the largest program information including tuition, books and supplies costs, program length, and average completion time. The average values are computed based on the data from trade schools’ information for the corresponding vocational program.

Program NameTuition & FeesBooks & SuppliesProgram LengthsAvg. Completion Time
Music Technology$33,100$5,20060 Hours20 Months
National Average$15,0001,200 Hours12.00 Months
Film/Video and Photographic Arts (other)$56,900$13,500120 Hours36 Months
National Average$17,995600 Hours8.00 Months
Cinematography and Film/Video Production$80,750$5,900120 Hours36 Months
National Average$18,625822 Hours10.00 Months
Music Technology$32,000$4,70060 Hours18 Months
National Average$15,0001,200 Hours12.00 Months
Music Theory and Composition$63,750$5,700120 Hours36 Months
National Average
Graphic Design$56,900$4,800120 Hours36 Months
National Average$9,500541 Hours11.00 Months

los angeles film school notable alumni

Noteworthy alumni

Several alumni of The Los Angeles Film School have gone on to have notable careers in the entertainment industry, including David Eischen, of techno band Transoverload, Kyle Newacheck, director and co-creator of the television series Workaholics;[58] Ari Levine, who is a member of the writing and producing team for musician Bruno Mars;[59] Martin Pensa, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work editing the film Dallas Buyers Club;[60][61] Brandon Trost, who has served as cinematographer on several films including That Awkward Moment and This is the End;[62][63] Jaycen Joshua, who is a Grammy Award-winning sound mixer;[64] and Brian Taylor, co-writer and co-director of CrankCrank: High Voltage and Gamer.[22]

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