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DePaul ranks among Variety's top 30 film schools in North America

Three students with a camera listen to Dana Kupper
School of Cinematic Arts students learn alongside experienced filmmakers at DePaul, including documentary cinematographer Dana Kupper. (Image courtesy of the College of Computing and Digital Media)
This spr​ing, Variety listed DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts as one of the 30 Top Film Schools in North America. Variety, a source of showbiz news for over a century, cited the program’s stellar facilities, experienced faculty and hands-on filmmaking experiences as factors in its ranking.

The School of Cinematic Arts offers undergraduate and graduate film degrees with concentrations ranging from editing and sound design to screenwriting, creative producing and directing. The ranking gives a nod to DePaul’s filmmaking facilities, which contain industry-leading technology for students, including professional soundstages, green screen cycloramas, editing suites and mixing studios, and access to DePaul Cinespace Studios.

“Our students are taught by award-winning faculty and have access to state-of-the-art equipment and professional sound stages at our 32,000-sq.-ft. facility,” Gary Novak, director of the program, tells Variety. “And over 200 alumni are currently working on the shows that shoot at Cinespace.”

DePaul students take part in top-notch immersion activities and gain real-world experience alongside industry professionals. A recent example includes “FANNIE,” a short film portraying civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer that was produced in 2021 at DePaul Cinespace Studios with help from DePaul students, alumni and staff. The short film starred Oscar-nominated actress Aunjanue Ellis.

Alumni working in the industry have helped boost the program’s reputation for success. Earlier in 2022, the Sundance Film Festival honored DePaul alumnus Don Joseph Raphael Eblahan with a top prize for the short film “The Headhunter’s Daughter.” Variety also cites DePaul’s knack for comedy and its partnership with The Second City, which offers DePaul students an opportunity to earn degrees in Comedy Filmmaking.

Chicago-based DePaul film students can experience Hollywood, too. The program’s LA Quarter promotes participation among students in the nation’s entertainment capital. The program opens doorways to internships with studios and agencies, and time spent in Los Angeles provides students with professional connections and the chance to network.

This ranking by Variety comes on the heels of accolades for the Animation program, also within the School of Cinematic Arts, which ranked among the nation’s top 10% of programs in Animation Career Review. Students’ access to technology, industry connections and successful alumni were cited as benefits in that placement as well.

Konner Gross is a student intern in University Marketing & Communications.