52 Credit Hours
Bring Your Creative Vision to Life
Columbia's two-year MFA in Film and Video - Cinema Directing is dedicated to developing storytellers by cultivating the leadership role of the director and fostering the individual director's personal style and vision. The program focuses on character-driven narratives and asks the director to create work that is diverse, authentic, invokes the human experience, and connects with their audience. Student directors model professional practices in a highly collaborative filmmaking environment.
the program teaches authorship by asking the student filmmaker to create work that is authentic, diverse, and invokes the human experienceCommitted individuals with a strong creative vision, a collaborative spirit, and the desire to express their narrative stories through film or video will thrive in this exciting and rigorous program.
Content, Technique, and Practical Experience
Under the guidance of a dedicated faculty of working professionals, film scholars, and independent filmmakers, students engage in a comprehensive curriculum that centers on directing, but also includes writing, film production, theory, and history. The MFA in Film and Video - Cinema Directing provides students with a strong base in the craft of filmmaking which allows them to expand their sense of aesthetic possibilities and further develop their individual voice as a director. The technical skills required to support a student's creative passion can be developed during the course of his or her studies; prior filmmaking experience is not required.
a careful balance of narrative development, film theory, and technique in the classroom is reinforced by practical filmmaking experience
This careful balance of narrative development, film theory, and technique in the classroom is reinforced by practical filmmaking experience. Students make a few short films before developing their thesis project, a short film (maximum 10 minutes) directed by the student in collaboration with a producer.
Students who wish to immerse themselves in the art and community of filmmaking have the advantage at Columbia—as part of the nation's largest film and video program, they pursue their work in collaboration with a diverse group of actors, writers, composers, and creative producers who have expertise in multiple modes of presentation. Film and Video - Cinema Directing MFA students can also recruit crew for specialized positions from a talented pool of undergraduate cinematographers, sound engineers, editors, post-production specialists, and animators. The lively cultural landscape of Chicago—a city renowned for being "film-friendly"—provides the backdrop for study in this creative college environment.
Cross-disciplinary collaboration is supported by innovative facilities such as the College’s new 35,000 square foot Media Production Center which features two sound stages, a motion-capture studio, production shop, and animation lab. Students also have access to the vast resources of their department, which include an inventory of professional motion picture and video equipment, several lighting and directing stages, and digital editing suites.
the program emphasizes professional interactions and exposure within the larger film industry
Connect to the Industry
In addition to the development of a strong on-campus network, the program emphasizes professional interactions and exposure within the larger film industry. A dedicated Internship and Industry Relations Coordinator works closely with the Chicago Film Office to place interested students in internships on a variety of productions in Chicago.
Students also have opportunities to show their work on the festival circuit. In addition to the College’s own Big Screen Film Festival, graduate student and alumni films are often official selections at prominent festival such as: Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Short Film Corner, Tribeca International Film Festival, London Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest and Chicago International Film Festival.