Documentary Film Schools

Jun 06, 2018 Written by Ayushi Documentary film making Institutes


Documentary Film Schools

Documentaries have never been hotter or more commercially promising—whether you are looking for a career or are out to change the world. 

Documentary film has become the field where "all the cool kids are." From VICE and HBO to independent docs, viral videos, doc-style TV series, and now the virtual reality, documentary filmmakers have more venues and more stylistic opportunities than ever before. With this explosion of increased interest in the world of documentary filmmaking, more and more aspiring documentary filmmakers are looking to find the documentary filmmaking program that will best prepare them for this ever-expanding field. Students who are interested in learning how a documentary is made can join Documentary film school.

There are plenty of film schools in the country but not every college or university offers a documentary film program specifically. Some documentary film programs are intensive self-contained units independent of a larger college, and others may be a menu of documentary filmmaking courses within a film program at a liberal arts college where you will be required to take other classes to get a four-year degree. Still, other schools may organize documentary film courses under their television, journalism, or communications departments. Just as there are many different types of documentary films (like feature-length docs in theaters vs TV documentaries on the Discovery Channel vs short branded doc journalism that runs on 60 Minutes), there are also different types of documentary film schools.

These days, it’s fairly easy to find an excellent place to learn how to make narrative films.

Many of the best filmmaking programs present opportunities to learn a bit about non-fiction filmmaking, it is rare to find one that focuses solely on the craft. Student filmmakers are typically given free reign when it comes time to propose a thesis or end-of-term project, but their coursework up until that point is often biased.

Aspiring documentarians shouldn’t be pre-emptively disappointed, however. Plenty of documentary film schools just for them have cropped up over the last decade, some of the best in just the past couple of years.

Here is our guide to some of the best documentary film schools and documentary film programs:

If you’re interested in going to a documentary film school, it’s important to consider the approach of each school that you may be interested in researching. So we’ve organized the following documentary filmmaking programs into a three different categories: self-contained documentary units that you can take without enrolling at a college/university, and documentary film programs within larger film schools or schools that are primarily film schools, and documentary film programs or centre’s within liberal arts colleges (though there is some overlap between the last two categories with certain colleges).