For over a century, film has been a way for audiences to travel from their daily lives to experience other time periods, foreign lands, and unexpected world viewpoints. Now it’s time to jump out of that plush screening-room chair and let your passion for the silver screen physically transport you to pursue degrees at film schools around the world. From new plot-worthy personal adventures to an international knowledge of technical innovations, make some movie magic and cross-cultural connections to succeed in this competitive, global industry before you say “that’s a wrap” on your education!
Why Earn a Degree in Film Abroad
Movies are all about storytelling. The best movies engage and compel audiences to relate to a story that might be taking place in a similar circumstance to daily life, or that may be far, far away in time or space. Whether your interest in film puts you behind the camera or a history book or sitting in front of a blank page, an understanding of the global human condition and how people around the world experience stories on-screen will be an invaluable take-away from studying at international film schools.
While the United States may dominate with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, film schools in Germany have also been producing films since the 1890s, and in fact, Australia released the first feature film in 1906. Today, India’s Bollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood compete for the largest number of movie productions. Zooming your camera angle in on these foreign film markets will illuminate diverse approaches to all aspects of the filmmaking process, ultimately widening your lens to new opportunities and creative ideas as you apply your degree after graduation.
Technology has led to amazing revolutions in what we see and hear once the cinema lights dim down, but more importantly, it has created an interconnected film community that spans borders and time zones. Directors in Los Angeles can be in constant communication with editors in Prague and distributors in China, all on the same film! With a film degree overseas, you will gain the flexibility and international network to efficiently and effectively turn a screenplay into a box-office sensation.
A love of motion pictures is universal, but hone your search for international film schools in destinations that can provide you with access to insight about a thriving film industry and a structured program of study that will prepare you to earn a place on the red carpet upon graduation. Here are GoAbroad’s top picks for the places with the best international film schools:
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to know that programs at numerous prestigious film schools in England offer rigorous and scholarly environments in which to master the craft of filmmaking. Plus, where else can you learn firsthand about the movie magic of international blockbuster series, like Harry Potter or James Bond? Brits have been writing some of the world’s most captivating stories for centuries. There’s no doubt that England’s enchanting influence will spark your film career with story-writing inspiration from Shakespeare or Austen and the savvy directorial legacies of Alfred Hitchcock or Christopher Nolan.
Just like a Mini Cooper zipping around Venice (“The Italian Job”), explore the many films schools in Italy to get the job done! After basking in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and eating all the pasta, pizza, and gelato you can, your degree abroad will be most memorable because of the small, yet strong Italian film community that takes pride in its up-and-coming directors and dubbing industry. Also, if you stick around in the summer for a beach trip, make sure to swim up to the canals of Venice for the oldest film festival and the prize awards of the Venetian Golden Lion.
Head down under to get your film degree and learn from one of the most versatile and production-intensive film industries as a student in Australia. Whether you choose a program in Sydney, Melbourne, or the Gold Coast, Aussies have a technical expertise that will be invaluable for those who seek a film degree jobs behind the camera. With cavernous film studios and the natural beauty of the outback for cinematographic daydreaming, you’ll be sure to learn loads and fall in love with the exciting movie-making world of Australia.
As the film reel spins through your educational career, there’s a undergraduate, graduate, or PhD opportunity for every new real-world scene or plot twist at international schools around the world. While the name of the degree may vary from country to country, the main decision you will need to make is between focusing on the theory of filmmaking or to dive in with a more applied approach.
For every movie that comes out in theaters, there has to be a critic to determine whether the stars deserve stars and where it fits into film history (they probably attended top international film schools, too!). In many countries, these more theoretical degrees are designated as a Bachelor or Master of Arts (B.A. or M.A.) in film. While studying for a B.A. or M.A., you’ll gain an overarching picture of the global film industry in whatever destination you choose in addition to an introduction to the technical parts of filmmaking. Be sure to take advantage of any extra workshops and discussions with local professionals to maximize your time abroad, network for film degree jobs, and find your international movie muse.
If you already have a knack for the technical side of the cinematic arts, search for a Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts (B.F.A. or M.F.A.) program that will allow you to embrace your specialty and gain professional experience. Studying and assisting with sound editing in Edinburgh or explosive special effects in Singapore is an exciting start to adding real-world experience onto your growing resume. An M.F.A. is considered the highest professional degree in film, so if you’re committed to a life of fame and spotlights, choosing this program will certify you as a movie mogul anywhere in the world.
Benefits & Challenges
Big Star, Smaller Galaxy. Choosing to attend top international film schools is a great opportunity to diversify your perspective on one of the world’s most universal and beloved art forms. As a motivated student far from the competitive hubs of Los Angeles and New York, you’ll be able to shine and gain the experience to take the film world by storm, whether you move to the United States or continue to study or work overseas. In one of the smaller filmmaking centers around the world, you’ll be able to immerse and get involved with projects in a meaningful way.
Creating Your Network. In the film industry, it’s all about who you know. Getting your film degree abroad means you’ll start to develop your industry connections in a different country, which may present the challenge of having to “break in” all over again when returning home. Although this may feel like twice the work, the unique experience that you’ll gain through your studies overseas will provide you with a refreshing perspective that stands out when returning home and give you an important head start in this globalized industry.
Choosing the challenge of earning your film degree abroad is a bold and forward-thinking way to become the next innovative entertainment professional to captivate and engage audiences in 2-D, 3-D, and 4-D. With the next step in your educational career, seize the opportunity to develop your skills with the goal of inspiring and uniting people across cultures as you tell the world’s most influential stories. Scene 1. Take 1. Lights, Camera, Action!