By David Heller, FSU News
The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts has jumped six spots to No. 13 in national rankings compiled by one of the entertainment industry’s top publications. Among public universities, FSU ranked No. 4.
In its annual list of Top 25 American film schools, The Hollywood Reporter highlighted the FSU film school’s emphasis on experiential learning and its fast-growing group of successful alumni including Academy Award winners Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski and Jonathan King.
“We are so proud of our film school family, especially our great alums who are out there working in every aspect of the movie business,” said Reb Braddock, dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts. “They are the real reason why The Hollywood Reporter continues to recognize FSU as a force in our industry.”
Each year, the magazine ranks the nation’s best film schools on measures of success such as their reputation among film professionals, the quality of faculty, facilities and filmmaking equipment, as well as the achievements of their graduates.
Jenkins, who won an Oscar for “Moonlight” in 2017, has earned international acclaim for his work, including 2018’s “If Beale Street Could Talk,” along with his close group of FSU film school friends who have continued to work together during their careers.
Jenkins, a 2003 FSU graduate, has reunited FSU alumni for projects, including producer Romanski (‘04), cinematographer James Laxton (‘03) and editors Joi McMillon (‘03) and Nat Sanders (‘02).
The Hollywood Reporter also spotlighted successful FSU film school alumna Lauren Miller Rogen as another reason the FSU College of Motion Picture Arts is on the rise.
“Rogen, writer and director of Netflix’s ‘Like Father,’ credits the school with teaching her pretty much everything she knows,” the article stated. “By graduation, she says, ‘not only had I written, directed and produced four short films — on which I didn’t spend a single dime of my own money — I had crewed on more than 50 short films as a DP (director of photography), production designer, gaffer, editor and even boom operator.”
Developing expertise in virtually every role on a film set is a fundamental credo of the FSU film school. Braddock emphasizes that philosophy for students — learning all elements of filmmaking — because he believes it helps them tell a better story.
“You have to become a renaissance filmmaker to be a great filmmaker,” Braddock said during an interview for a 2019 profile of his career. “You need to know how the whole machine works.”
It has been a tried-and-true philosophy at the FSU film school over the past 30 years and as these latest rankings prove, it has helped turn Florida State’s College of Motion Picture Arts into one of the best film schools in the United States.
The list of film school students earning elite honors is growing.
This year Alex McFry and William Stead were invited to screen their films at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2018, Nicholas Markart and Tyler Knutt received the same opportunity at Cannes. Shae Demandt, an animation and digital arts major, won a Student Academy Award and became one of only 19 student filmmakers from around the world to earn that honor last year.
As for FSU alumni, that list is getting longer too. In addition to Oscar winners Jenkins, Romanski and King, other successful graduates include Marvel Studios executive producer Stephen Broussard, who worked on “Iron Man 3,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “The Incredible Hulk”; Wes Ball, director of the “Maze Runner” movies; Allison Carter, producer of “Zola,” “American Honey” and “The Dinner”; and Ali Bell, executive producer of “Baywatch” and “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.”
This is the eighth year The Hollywood Reporter has ranked the nation’s best film schools.