DePaul University Newsline > Sections > DeBuzz > DePaul rises t​o 16th in Hollywood list of top American film schools

DePaul rises t​o 16th in Hollywood list of top American film schools

DePaul students filming outdoors wearing masks
DePaul School of Cinematic Arts students Gillian Hadding, Cole Nalbandian and Jeffrey Silva film "The Trail of Stars." The Hollywood Reporter ranked DePaul 16th in its annual list of Top 25 American Film Schools. (Photo by Diego Vigueras)

Good news out of Los Angeles is buoying film students here in Chicago: DePaul's School of Cinematic Arts has once again been named a Top 25 American Film School for 2021, according to a new ranking by the Hollywood Reporter. A bellwether of excellence in the film, television and entertainment industry, the ranking places DePaul 16th, rising from the 24th spot last year.

"America's top film programs sought to prepare the next generation of filmmakers for an industry that looks vastly different from the one that existed 18 months ago," note the Reporter's editors. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, DePaul students masked up and drew inspiration from the pandemic to keep their educations moving forward and the creativity flowing.

"Real-world opportunities have always been central to our program, and this year our students and faculty alike found ways to innovate and thrive," says Gary Novak, director of the School of Cinematic Arts. Students have been back working with cameras and equipment from "the cage" at DePaul's Loop Campus and using the city and campus as sets and inspiration.

DePaul's programs in film, television, animation and screenwriting have strong ties to the industry in Chicago and beyond. State-of-the-art facilities at DePaul Cinespace Studios give students access to professional equipment and soundstages. Faculty are achieving at the highest levels in their fields, from screenwriting to animation and production. DePaul is also the only university offering degrees in comedy filmmaking in collaboration with The Second City.

For years, L.A. Quarter has given students the chance to work and connect with leaders in the industry. This year, the Hollywood Reporter highlights the addition of DePaul's new creative producing MFA program, which will be fully based in Los Angeles and led by producer Tim Peternel of the films "Spun" and "Buffalo 66."

Alumna Alexis Auditore is now director of physical production at Marvel Studios. Auditore tells the Reporter her favorite class was Novak's screenwriting course: "I was able to turn years of haphazard writing into something with structure."

Alumnus Chaz Bottoms, creator of the Cartoon Network series "Battu," also gets a shout-out in the listing. Bottoms, who graduated with a BFA in 2017, is a director, animator, writer and owner of CBA Studios, a boutique animation studio based in Los Angeles that strives to represent diversity on-screen and behind the scenes. Bottoms told the Chicago Sun-Times that his latest project is an homage to "the hustle of the people that are from Chicago" and a "love letter to the city's creatives who live there."

Read more at the Hollywood Reporter.​​