List of Free Online Film Courses and Learning Materials

See our list of top free online film courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.

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Info on Free Online Courses in Film

The courses and resources on this list are a mixture of those directly pertaining to film and others that deal with related areas of film, such as screenwriting and film philosophy. None of the following resources offer academic credit.

Free Filmmaking Courses

Tufts University

  • Producing Films for Social Change gives advice on how to make a documentary from start to finish. Topics include writing, editing, pitching a story and shooting a film about social issues. Users can view past student films, and a list of recommended books, journalism resources and news sites is included as well. In addition, an overview of the syllabus is provided, including class topics and optional assignments.

Columbia University

  • Filmmaker's Master Class with Milos Forman is only available to Columbia students, staff, or alumni. This e-seminar provides 3-5 hours of filmmaking advice from Oscar-winning director Milos Forman. The seminar is split into seven sections, with multiple chapters in each section. Students can learn about screen tests, readings, Forman's life and the filmmaker's thoughts on producers, cinematographers and actors. Textbooks aren't required, but there is a recommended reading list.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Cinematography and Film Production
  • Film and Cinema Studies
  • Photography

Free Film Studies Courses

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Film as Visual and Literary Mythmaking is designed for undergraduates and deals with the common mythological themes embedded in various films. This course lacks quizzes and exams, but it does include video lectures and optional writing assignments.
  • Philosophy of Film focuses on the study of film and art through a philosophical lens. Students can learn about the various difficulties associated with film technologies, such as reality versus appearance, communication, visual effects and alienation. Video lectures are included, and a list of recommended films is available as well.
  • Philosophy in Film and Other Media teaches students about the philosophical connections that exist between film, literature and opera. Students are given basic instructions for completing two optional essays, and a list of recommended films by directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Ingmar Bergman is provided. In addition, some readings can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg.

Film Studies for Free

  • Online Film and Media Studies Journals lists 127 open-access film journals that are available online. A list of open access e-books related to film is also included.

Free Screenwriting Courses

University College - Falmouth

  • Introduction to Screenwriting is a mini-course that includes four exercises. Students can practice summarizing plot lines, exploring the inner motivations of a story's characters and rewriting a story without dialogue.
  • Screenwriting Unit is a 10-session unit that focuses on the principles of screenwriting, character development, alternative media, script outlines and working as a professional screenwriter. Sessions include background readings, audio lectures, assignments and lists of recommended films.
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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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