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School of Film/Video

Dean’s Welcome

Leighton Pierce

The School of Film/Video is one of the world’s foremost colleges for the study and practice of the art of the moving image. As a community, we are devoted to filmmaking as a personal, independent art. 

The school supports an expansive range of film and media production: dramatic narrative, documentary, essay film, experimental live-action, character-based story animation, experimental animation, interactive media, live projection performance, installation, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

We offer four programs, each with its own specialized curriculum. Yet all four share a strong ethos in combining rigorous practical training with theoretical inquiry, hands-on production with bold aesthetic exploration. 

The Program in Film and Video serves as a dynamic laboratory setting for creating new forms of experimental, documentary, narrative and installation work utilizing both film and digital video. Our internationally renowned animation programs—Character Animation and Experimental Animation—give students an excellent foundation in both technique and creative thinking, preparing them to produce work at the forefront of commercial and personal animated film, as well as in related fields from gaming to graphic novels. The Film Directing Program focuses on developing innovative approaches to independent narrative cinema and honing a distinct directorial voice. In each program, we encourage all students to push the boundaries of their chosen media. As a result, graduates of the School of Film/Video have distinguished themselves in every area of independent and commercial filmmaking. Their work has been represented extensively at major festivals and museums around the world as much as it has been in the film, television, animation and gaming industries.

The richness of the CalArts experience is based on four general components. The first is a body of self-motivated, intellectually curious students ready to find new forms and expressions. The second is an outstanding faculty of professional artists and technicians who share their artistry and knowledge with passion and generosity. Third is an extensive inventory of production facilities and equipment, while fourth is the unique cross-pollination of the different disciplines essential to CalArts.  

The combination of the four elements generates a lively and stimulating creative learning environment—one that allows every student to expand his or her cultural experience and, in the process, develop into a better artist, with a well-informed, highly articulated personal vision. 

The School of Film/Video stands as the only American film school to have been honored with a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The sweeping three-month, 29-program survey, entitled Tomorrowland: CalArts in Moving Pictures, covered decades of innovative film, video and animation made by artists at the Institute. Today, our students and faculty are adding to this rich legacy as they put forward their original work with the daring, independence and insight that are the hallmarks of this school.

Last edited by rsdavid on Oct 08, 2015
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