DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > The Hollywood Reporter ranks DePaul University among best film schools in U.S. for 2023

The Hollywood Reporter ranks DePaul University among best film schools in U.S. for 2023

School of Cinematic Arts rises to 14th spot

School of Cinematic Arts Students on set with a camera smiling
Students creating films at DePaul Cinespace Studios have access to the same equipment professional filmmakers use. (DePaul University/Jim Slife)
Future filmmakers are flocking to Chicago, and DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts continues to rise in the rankings. The Hollywood Reporter has named DePaul one of the best film schools in the country, rising to 14th place, up one spot from last year. 

“This is a testament to the excellence of our faculty and staff, our facilities, and most of all our alumni,” said Gary Novak, filmmaker and director of the School of Cinematic Arts.

Some 1,600 undergraduates and more than 200 graduate students are pursuing filmmaking degrees within the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media, including degrees with concentrations in directing, screenwriting, comedy filmmaking and more. Film and TV is now the top major declared by first year students at DePaul.

Alumni filmmakers are also earning national and international accolades. Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan’s 2022 film “The Headhunter’s Daughter” was awarded a grand jury prize that year, and he was a 2023 artist in residence at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

Linh Tran and award winners
Filmmaker Linh Tran, front right, celebrates with her cast and co-creators, from left, Quin Chi, Sam Straley and Jewells Santos in Park City, Utah, after their film won top honors (and the blue-green "Sparky" statue) at the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival. (Photo by @laurentakespix)
This year, alumna Linh Tran won the top prize at the Slamdance Film Festival for “Waiting for the Light to Change,” which she produced as a student in DePaul’s Indie Studio. 

“I can't say enough how thankful I am for the cast and crew behind this film and the support provided to us by DePaul University, as well as for the people who watched it and gave it a chance," says Tran, who earned her MFA in film and television directing in 2020. The film was recently picked up for distribution and is slated for release this fall.

State-of-the-art facilities at DePaul Cinespace Studios give students access to professional equipment and sound stages. An LED wall powered by gaming technology offers students opportunities to engage with virtual production and the future of filmmaking.

And while the program is anchored in Chicago, it also has deep connections in Los Angeles. Year-round, DePaul students participate in LA Quarter, where they are guaranteed internships or real-world experience while networking with professionals in the field. A master’s degree in creative producing, based in LA, is designed to help students catapult forward in their careers.

“My boss from The Jim Henson Company got me in the door at Disney, which led to where I am now,” says Alex Otto, who graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television. Otto is now an assistant writer on the Disney Junior show, “Firebuds.” 

Students and faculty also give back to the community, running summer filmmaking programs for youth in CHA housing. This year, several young filmmakers had their red carpet dreams come true during a visit to the Cannes Film Festival, thanks to support from DePaul faculty and friends.

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