Columbia College Chicago - Cinema and Television Directing (MFA) Reviews & Admissions Statistics

3.50 star(s) 3.5 Stars (2 Reviews)
As a candidate in the Cinema Directing, MFA program, you'll learn to craft character-driven narratives, work with producers, and create diverse...
School Website
https://www.colum.edu/academics/programs/cinema-directing.html
Degrees Offered
  1. 2 Year MFA
Concentrations
  1. Directing
Tuition Range
$20k to $30k

Film School details

Application Fee
$60
GRE Required?
  1. No
Portfolio Required?
  1. Yes
As a candidate in the Cinema Directing, MFA program, you'll learn to craft character-driven narratives, work with producers, and create diverse and authentic films grounded in the human experience. You’ll take on intensive study in writing and, throughout the program, direct your own scripts as well as those written by other directors. Over the course of the program, you'll work closely with a Creative Producing student to develop two major films: one that is director-driven and one that is producer-driven. You'll have creative control over some films, and you'll learn work-for-hire on others. Having experience in both the independent film model and the industry model will make you better equipped to make an impact in the field no matter which path you choose upon graduation.
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Latest Film School Reviews

A waste of time, money, and respect
Reviewed by: Current Student
Degree: MA/MFA
Concentration: Film & TV Directing
Pros
  • Affordable tuition (with scholarship)
Cons
  • False advertising re: length of program, coursework, expenses
  • Consistent miscommunication re: school policy
  • Severely limited resources for grad students
  • Demotivating/confrontational faculty & staff
  • Zero financial support for film productions
The general attitude towards MFA film students at Columbia is antagonistic and confrontational. A lot of incoming students have no prior filmmaking knowledge, but some like myself have at least a couple years of professional experience. Yet all of us are treated as completely inept, naive, or even dangerous. In our first semester, the (now-ex) department chair sat us all down in an auditorium and told us we're not even here to make films. "You're making exercises, I don't know why you keep calling them films." What an incredibly demotivating atmosphere at 1104 S Wabash. I didn't realize I was spending thousands of dollars a semester for exercise school.

I was part of the first cohort to resume in-person learning for Columbia's MFA Directing program. This made us "guinea pigs" (the same ex-dept chair's words) in a supposedly restructured curriculum that aimed to create a sweeping blanket of introductory film knowledge. 1 sound class. 1 lighting class. Film theory 101. This strict curriculum also prevents grad students from being "qualified" to use any of the school's facilities in sound, lighting, cinematography etc. A former peer hoping to become a cinematographer was told directly "You came to the wrong place." They dropped out after the first semester. Instead of being equipped with hands-on knowledge and skills for our films, you are forced to seek out undergraduates who are trained in specific programs to use equipment/facilities, and MAYBE they'll work with you if they're not already swamped with their own work.

Undergraduates are given priority over everything, including equipment, facilities, even time/attention from the faculty. There's one networking mixer each semester and that's it. You're on your own. It makes total sense that the school doesn't want inexperienced students damaging expensive equipment or something, but at least give eager students the opportunity to learn about these things, or better yet, why not INCLUDE specified electives in the grad curriculum so we aren't discouraged from achieving our goals? Seriously. I am a 30 year old man who has been gaslit and talked down to like a child for the last 2.5 years for WANTING TO LEARN MORE.

If I could do it all over again, I certainly would not come to Columbia College Chicago and would absolutely re-think putting personal savings into graduate school for an MFA film degree at all. It is simply not necessary to find work in the film industry. If you're considering grad film schools, you should know exactly why you are entering a particular MFA program (location, facilities, networking) or you will likely end your time here frustrated and unfulfilled. I've left this school feeling far less inclined to even participate in the film industry than when I began, with only a couple "exercises" to show for it :(
Affordability
4.00 star(s)
Alumni Network
3.00 star(s)
Campus
2.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
2.00 star(s)
Coursework
2.00 star(s)
Facilities & Equipment
1.00 star(s)
Professors
3.00 star(s)
Scholarships
4.00 star(s)
fin_cinema does not recommend this film school!
One member found this helpful.
Last edited:
a great decision
Reviewed by: Current Student
Degree: MA/MFA
Concentration: Cinema and Television Directing
Pros
  • Complete program, value, great professors, always stuff to do, responsiveness
Cons
  • Covid times not the schools fault
Columbia College Chicago is not only one of America's best film schools it is also one of the most affordable. The program is advertised as 2 years online but can be as long as you want it to be. They respect storytelling above all else and are extremely supportive. The communication with the head of the program is also really strong and if somebody doesn't have an answer for you they will quickly direct you to the right place. I have yet to step foot on campus because of covid but my learning has not been hindered. Once again the affordability is king for CCC if you look at The Hollywood Reporter best film school list CCC is a fraction of the cost compared to the other top film schools. I cant imagine you get a better education elsewhere and if you do it's not by a wide enough margin to make up the cost difference. Trying to find the right grad school is a near impossible task with the amount of options available, I am lucky I my place and if you attend I'm sure you'll feel the same.
Affordability
5.00 star(s)
Alumni Network
5.00 star(s)
Coursework
5.00 star(s)
Facilities & Equipment
5.00 star(s)
Professors
5.00 star(s)
Scholarships
4.00 star(s)
Jcromwell recommends this film school
2 members found this helpful.
Last edited by a moderator:
frosty_red_raider
frosty_red_raider
Thanks for this honest review! It's super helpful!
monstergirl
monstergirl
Hello, so what is the total cost (including room and board) of the program?

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Film School information

Category
Illinois
Added by
FilmSchool.org
Views
6,933
Watchers
3
Reviews
2
Last update
Rating
3.50 star(s) 2 ratings

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