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The Oscars: Colleges for Future Filmmakers

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 @ 04:16 PM

Academy Awards presenters this year came from some impressive programs 

Oscars BlogSunday night, stars flocked to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet and see who would win the most highly-acclaimed awards in Hollywood: the Oscars. Stars like Christoph Waltz and Jennifer Lawrence were amongst those who received the coveted award, and this year, the Academy chose to celebrate the future of filmmaking by choosing six students to present the awards. The contest winners were narrowed down from over 1,100 essays and film submissions answering the question “How will you contribute to the future of movies?” With this opportunity, these young artists are already on the path to stardom and an Academy Award of their own. 

Here are the schools where each Oscar presenter currently studies filmmaking to prepare for a future in Hollywood!  

University of Texas-Austin, Austin, Texas

Located in the culture-rich city of Austin, Texas, UT-Austin has one of the most comprehensive media and film programs in the nation. Their Department of Radio-Television-Film offers a B.S. degree that includes courses in all three disciplines to create a well-rounded foundation for all students. The department encourages students to take on internships in big-budget production companies as well as smaller film businesses, and to study abroad, with university approved programs in cities like Sydney, Prague, and Hong Kong. 

With a student body of over 48,000 students, UT-Austin is one of the largest universities in the nation and is the flagship school of the University of Texas system. This research-intensive school boasts seven museums and 17 libraries and strong research programs in computer science, engineering, and physical sciences. Texas Longhorn athletics draw in big crowds, with particular success in football and baseball.  

DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

DePaul University partners with the Academy of Motion Pictures’ Internship Grants Program that “assists in fostering educational opportunities for students at accredited educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations who might not otherwise be able to participate in a motion picture production-focused internship due to financial limitations.” Students in DePaul’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media can earn degrees in animation and digital cinema, and concentrate in cinema production, screenwriting, television production, and sound amongst others. Along with core courses that develop a liberal arts education, DePaul prepares students for a variety of roles in the film, media, and design industries. 

DePaul is a large private university and its main campus is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Founded as a Roman Catholic university in 1898, DePaul has one of the oldest business schools in the nation and was one of the first Catholic universities to admit female students to a co-education environment. Diversity, both racially and socioeconomically, is a longstanding commitment made by DePaul and has been one of the school’s core values since its inception. 

University of California-Los Angele, Los Angeles, California

In the heart of the film capital, UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television is home to some of world’s premier film programs. 105 Oscars, 278 Emmys, and 79 Golden Globes have been awarded to TFT graduates for writing, acting, directing, and more. UCLA’s programs in Film, Television, and Digital Media open doors for students in Los Angeles’ film industry through balanced curricula, hands-on experience, and exposure to internships. The B.A. in Film, students can choose from concentrations such as documentary filmmaking, narrative film production, and animation. 

UCLA is a highly selective public university and the second oldest school in the University of California system. Located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, UCLA has received more freshman applicants of any public school in the United States for over a decade, with over 61,000 for the fall of 2011. Because of its location, UCLA has been the set of many movies including ­Legally Blonde, Old School, and The Nutty Professor

Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Located in downtown Chicago, Columbia College’s Department of Film and Video offers concentrations in audio, cinematography, critical studies, directing, documentary, editing, producing, screenwriting and animation (traditional or computer). Following the completion of the school’s foundation courses, Columbia College allows students to design their own concentration in conjunction with the department’s faculty so that they may best prepare for their future career in film and their professional goals. With a hands-on intensive approach, the department stresses collaboration through a project-based and student-centered curriculum. Small class sizes, a comprehensive learning experience, and access to Chicago’s cultural resources give students a versatile experience and deep knowledge of film. 

Columbia College is one of the largest art schools in the country with an undergraduate population of around 12,000 students. The college has three schools; the School of Fine and Performing Arts, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Media Arts. The school offers a semester in Los Angeles program where students engage in intensive coursework in television, entertainment, and media management. In addition to their many programs in art and film, Columbia College has one of the few programs in cultural studies in the country, as well as an esteemed and progressive education department. 

Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts

Emerson’s Department of Visual and Media Arts provides undergraduates with training in concentrations from writing for film and television, to sound design/audio post production. In addition to their comprehensive B.A. in Media Production, they also offer a B.F.A. in Media Production and a B.A. in Media Studies. By combining a liberal arts foundation with a variety of hands-on courses that cover a number of topics, students become what Emerson calls “complete artists” with knowledge of projects from writing to post-production. With graduates like MTV Networks President Doug Herzog and actor Denis Leary, Emerson prepares students for multiple professions in media and production, as well as an extensive alumni network in the industry. 

Emerson College is a small liberal arts college located in Boston, and is devoted exclusively to communication and performing arts within a liberal arts framework. The main campus is located in Boston’s theater district, and the school also has campuses Los Angeles and the Netherlands. Home to the American Comedy Archives, Emerson has a longstanding tradition in the writing, performance, and preservation of comedy. 

SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, New York

In addition to their Department of Theater and Dance, SUNY Potsdam also offers a minor in film studies through their Department of English and Communication. A mixture of communications, composition, and literature courses allow students to earn a minor that will help prepare them for a career in screenwriting and filmmaking. In addition, SUNY Potsdam’s minors in design and production as well as technical theater equip students with behind-the-scenes skills and knowledge that will come in handy if they’re striving to break out in the entertainment industry. 

SUNY Potsdam was founded as St. Lawrence Academy in 1816, making it one of the oldest colleges in the United States. The school is especially known for its teacher education program, with strong concentrations in math and music education, that was founded in 1834. The “Potsdam Miracle” refers to the tenure of professor Dr. Clarence Stephens who revitalized the school’s mathematics program, making it one of the largest in the country, through reforms in the department’s teaching style.   

All of these schools and programs prepare students for careers in a variety of television, film, media, and production professions. The six contest winners who had the opportunity to present the winning Oscars are well on their way to being on the receiving end of that award, and these comprehensive programs can prepare students who hope to make it in this competitive industry. 

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