You searched for:

Start over

Narrow Search

Best Film School 

sma-mpcbanner.jpg

Columbia College

colum.edu

The gleaming new Media Production Center at 1600 S. State is the jewel in the crown for Columbia College, by some measures the largest film school in the U.S., with 4,200 students in its School of Media Arts, which also includes TV and interactive media. Jeanne Gang (creator of the Aqua Tower on Columbus Drive) designed the $21 million, 35,500-square-foot center to facilitate collaboration across media disciplines, with two shooting stages, a motion-capture studio, animation suites, and shops for building props and costumes. Once almost strictly a commuter school, Columbia now shares downtown dorm space with Roosevelt and DePaul, offering a residential experience for students from Chicago and elsewhere. Alumni include Oscar-winning cinematographers Janusz Kaminski (Schindler’s List) and Mauro Fiore (Avatar), director George Tillman and producer Bob Teitel (Notorious), comedians Bob Odenkirk and Andy Richter, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, HBO Films president Len Amato, and rapper/actor Common.

Other local schools do give Columbia a run for its money. Project Bluelight allows students in DePaul’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media to collaborate on film and TV productions under the guidance of industry professionals. This summer they’re making the TV comedy pilot The King. And SAIC may have a better record than Columbia at producing auteurs. At this year’s Cannes Film Festival SAIC alums Apichatpong Weerasethakul (MFA 1998) won the Palm d’Or and Hong Sang-soo (MFA 1989) took the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section. Meanwhile, the for-profit Flashpoint Academy, launched in 2007 by venture capitalists Ric Landry and Howard Tullman, partnered in April with Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises to become Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, anteing a New York counter to Columbia’s Hollywood ties. Flashpoint’s tuition is $25,000 per year for a two-year associate’s degree program, so students can enter the workforce faster and save in total cost by bypassing some general education requirements.

But at $18,500 a year, Columbia is a bargain compared to other private four-year schools: DePaul is $28,000 a year, the School of the Art Institute $35,500. With deep technical resources, industry connections, and a pragmatic approach, Columbia gives you the most film-school bang for your tuition buck.

Critics' Picks

Best Pop-Up Vintage Shop

2132 W. Fulton St. 312-226-2221
Tie between Revision Home and An Orange Moon continue

Best Neighborhood Garage Sale

Newgard Ave. between Devon Ave. and Pratt Blvd.
Newgard Neighbors Sale continue

Best Thrift Store

610 E. North Ave. 630-337-1467
Jubilee Furniture Co. in Carol Stream, Illinois continue

Best Rock 'n' Roll Garden Designer

Julia Adams, SummerSweet Garden Design continue

Best Place to Get a Vintage Hairstyle

4755 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-506-7870
Tigerlilie Salon continue

Best Place to Buy Size 16 Jeans

2048 N. Damen Ave. 773-772-7429
Vive la Femme continue

Best Place to Swap Black T-shirts With Dudes

2221 N. Western Ave. 773-486-8888
Dudes Black T-Shirt Swap continue

Best Mall

900 N. Michigan Ave. 312-423-1568
900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan, Chicago continue

Best Place to Buy 78 RPM Records

3126 N. Broadway 773-404-5080
Jazz Record Mart continue

Best Art Sale

1957 Sheridan Rd. 847-432-1888
Recycled Art Sale at the Art Center, Highland Park, Illinois continue

Best Cheap Tickets for Great Seats for Broadway in Chicago

24 W. Randolph St. 800-775-2000
Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre continue

Best Last-Minute Theater Tickets

205 E. Randolph St. 312-334-7777
Harris Theater for Music and Dance continue

Best Film School

28 N. Clark 312-332-0707
Columbia College continue

Best Dance School Everyone Thinks of as a Music School

4544 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-728-6000
Old Town School of Folk Music continue

Best Dance Class

1439 W. Wellington Ave. 773-512-7384
House Dance at Breakdance Chicago continue

Best Place to Buy a Restored Schwinn Cruiser

Mike Mitchell restores Chicago-made Schwinn models from the 1960s and ’70s and resells them at Randolph Street’s Chicago Antique Market and out of his garage in Oak Park, Illinois. continue

Best Pharmacy

845 N. Michigan Ave. 312-280-1220
Carnegie Sargent's Pharmacy & Health Center continue
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)