Independent Film Production Certificate Programs in Illinois

Jul 19, 2019

Essential Information

Future independent film producers might consider pursuing a program in film or video production. Only 1 school offers a certificate program in this field in Illinois, but 4 additional schools offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in film production. Students in such programs have access to resources such as cameras, lighting equipment, editing rooms, and studio space for use in the development of student films. Some programs require the production of a final film project prior to graduation, while others include an internship or on-location study opportunity in major film cities like Los Angeles.

College of DuPage

The College of DuPage (COD) is a community college located in Glen Ellyn; it offers the only film production certificate program in Illinois. COD boasts a film studio, control room, green room and professional quality digital cameras. The 45-credit certificate program prepares students for careers in film production, as well as television, video, animation and audio production. Some of the required hands-on learning experiences cover editing and audio for motion pictures, film pre-production and motion picture direction.

The college also has an associate's degree program in motion picture and television with a concentration in film and video production. Required coursework in this program includes film and motion picture production, aesthetics, cinematography and screenwriting for short film. Students also might be able to participate in internships in the Chicago area, which is being more frequently used for films and motion pictures. COD has articulation agreements with Columbia College - Chicago and DePaul University for students interested in continuing their studies in a bachelor's program in film production.

Columbia College - Chicago

Columbia College in Chicago is a fine arts and media school situated next to Grant Park. The school has bachelor's and master's degree programs in film production. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) program in Cinema Art & Science is a 45-credit film-making major tailored for students who are considering postgraduate work in the field. Course will cover areas such as animation, sound for cinema, producing, post-production, directing, and cinematography.

The 2-year intensive Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in creative producing educates students about film production operations through coursework along with a semester spent working on a real film studio lot in Los Angeles. Students also have the chance to produce short and feature films throughout their graduate studies.

DePaul University

Located in downtown Chicago is DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the U.S. This school offers 2 undergraduate and 2 graduate programs in cinema that utilize state-of-the-art green screen and editing studios, digital equipment and control rooms. The BA program in digital cinema includes a track in cinema production that covers screenwriting, film structure, digital production, documentary production and visual design. The Bachelor of Science (BS) program in digital cinema emphasizes technologies used in film production, such as 3-D animation and special effects. Students in the bachelor's degree programs might have the chance to work with professionals through Project Bluelight or participate in the production of a student-run independent short film.

Those interested in advanced film production studies might be interested in the Master of Science (MS) program in cinema production. Exceptional students in the MS program can apply for the university's selective MFA program in cinema, which emphasizes the creative aspects of film production with some courses in pre- and post-production, short motion picture writing and short motion picture direction.

Governors State University

Governors State University in University Park, about 35 miles south of Chicago, has an interdisciplinary MFA program in independent film and digital imaging. The program combines studies from media communications and digital art imaging. Required courses consist of digital film production, digital photography and independent film survey. Students can expect to complete a master's thesis project and an internship as well. Some electives are available in audio production, production editing, cinematography, film direction and advanced film production.

Greenville College

The small town of Greenville is roughly 50 miles northeast of St. Louis and is home to Greenville College. The school's BS program in digital media includes a track in video and film that prepares graduates for roles in production management, production design and media production. Some of the core curriculum involves the study of light, sound and motion, studio production and digital photography. Students also participate in an internship and develop a professional portfolio during the program. Participants have access to the school's high-tech features, such as digital cameras, lighting, sound equipment and green screens.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Independent Film Production Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
College of DuPage 2-year; public; large suburb Certificate in Motion Picture and Television,
Associate of Applied Science in Motion Picture/Television
$4,080 in-district; $9,690 in-state; $11,790 out-of-state (undergraduate figures)*
Columbia College - Chicago 4-year; private, not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Arts Cinema Art and Science - Producing,
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Producing
$27,176 (undergraduate figures)*
DePaul University 4-year; private, not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Arts in Digital Cinema - Cinema Production,
Bachelor of Science in Digital Cinema,
Master of Science in Cinema Production,
Master of Fine Arts in Cinema
$39,975 (undergraduate figures)*
Governors State University 4-year; public; fringe rural Master of Fine Arts in Independent Film and Digital Imaging $12,196 in-state; $21,586 out-of-state (graduate figures)*
Greenville College 4-year; private, not-for-profit; distant town Bachelor of Science in Digital Media - Video and Film $27,130 (undergraduate figures)*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

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