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August 6, 2013/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



(Winston-Salem) The Hollywood Reporter (THR) has ranked the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) among the top 25 film schools in the country. In its Aug. 9 issue, released online July 31, the renowned entertainment industry publication ranked UNCSA at No. 12.

“We are pleased to be on the list,” said Film Dean Susan Ruskin, whose appointment this Spring was applauded by leaders in the film and television industry, including Matthew Weiner (producer of TV’s “Mad Men” and the film YOU ARE HERE); Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures; and director, producer and writer Andy Fickman (PARENTAL GUIDANCE, YOU AGAIN, RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN).

UNCSA ranked behind schools including the University of Southern California, American Film Institute, New York University, University of California Los Angeles, and Columbia University.

“These schools are very diverse in what they offer, so it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges,” Ruskin said. “But we are in very good company.”

Film Dean Susan Ruskin

Ruskin noted that UNCSA’s tuition is a much better value than other top schools. In-state undergraduate students at UNCSA pay $8,000 per year, compared to an average of $37,000 for the other schools who offer undergraduate degrees, with the median at $43,000. Out-of-state undergraduates at UNCSA pay $21,000 compared to an average of $42,000 and a median of $43,000 at the other schools.

UNCSA’s in-state graduate students pay $9,000 per year, compared to an average of $34,000 and median of $36,000 among the top schools that offer graduate programs. Out-of-state graduate students pay $22,000 per year at UNCSA, compared to an average and median of $37,000. Figures include tuition and fees, excluding room and board, books, supplies and health insurance.

“And our tuition includes the cost of making a film each year,” Ruskin added. “We are the only school on the list that completely finances our student films. The money our students save can be put toward financing their first ventures as professional filmmakers.”

UNCSA student body president Joseph Blankinship, a fourth-year Film student in the cinematography concentration, said value was an important factor in his decision to attend UNCSA, but it wasn’t what captured his attention. “The accomplished faculty, sophisticated equipment, state-of-the-art facilities, and excellent alumni hire rates caught my eye,” he said.  “Coming here was really one of the easier decisions I've made, and this year’s ranking reaffirms my choice.” 

In its ranking, THR noted that UNCSA’s Film School marks its 20th anniversary this year; that 35 alumni were represented at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; and that within two years of graduating, writer Vera Herbert sold her first feature film, DON’T MAKE ME GO, to Big Beach, and her first television pilot, Blink, to THE CW. It quotes alumnus Jeff Nichols, director of MUD, and mentions notable alumni Travis Beacham, writer of PACIFIC RIM, and David Gordon Green, director of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS.

In compiling the list, THR consulted industry insiders, executives, filmmakers and film school graduates.  Participants were asked to rate each program based on alumni, cost, facilities, industry access and strength of faculty. Also, for this year’s ranking, an online ballot of potential nominees, which could be filled out and submitted anonymously, was sent to members of the Writers Guild of America West, American Cinema Editors and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. More than 600 ballots were returned, and the results weighed heavily in the ranking, THR said.

I am proud that we’re ranked among other historically elite film programs,” Blankinship said. “Recognition from Hollywood always creates a great buzz on campus, but we can’t get too caught up in it. After all, we are back to making films in less than a month!”


As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.