School of Theatre, Film & Television Ranked No. 7 Among Public Universities in The Wrap's Top 50 Film Schools

a drive-in movie screen

The School of Theatre, Film & Television's 2021 "I Dream in Widescreen" event, the annual showcase of undergraduate thesis films.

Julius Schlosburg

The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film & Television is No. 7 among public universities and No. 25 overall on The Wrap's sixth annual list of the Top 50 Film Schools, released Tuesday. The overall ranking is up one spot from last year.

The rankings are based on an anonymous poll of more than 1,200 entertainment industry insiders, educators, deans, filmmakers and film pundits, along with experts tasked with evaluating each school.

This year, the School of Theatre, Film & Television's enrollment jumped 42%, and student films completed during the COVID-19 pandemic earned more than 30 invitations from film festivals including BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest and the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York.

In a first for the school, a student-made film was acquired for national distribution. Class of 2020 filmmaker Faye Ruiz's thesis short "The Lights Are On, No One's Home" was acquired for national distribution through Dedza Films/Kino Lorber.

"I'm incredibly proud of our TFTV family and this standout year for student, faculty and alumni achievements despite the ongoing pandemic," said Andy Belser, director of the School of Theatre, Film & Television in the College of Fine Arts. "It's gratifying to receive this industry recognition as our film program, with its longstanding focus on mentoring diverse voices, continues its rise and produces alumni who excel across the industry." 

The school's bachelor of arts and bachelor of fine arts degree programs offer a number of hands-on opportunities, helping students land jobs across the industry. Students and graduates are mentored by working faculty and diverse, multigenerational alumni and creative leaders.

Elisa Gonzalez, who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in film and television this year, has been selected by producer Frida Torresblanco to join her company Braven Films, and said the school was instrumental in helping her get the opportunity.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Braven Films after graduation. I wouldn't have gotten this incredible opportunity without the support of the TFTV faculty," Gonzalez said. "The School of Theatre, Film & Television at The University of Arizona has been integral to my personal and professional development. I'm so proud to be part of the TFTV community."

Alumni of the School of Theatre, Film and Television have seen a number of successes in 2021.

  • Robbie Hyne, class of 2015, became story editor on DC superhero television series "Stargirl." 
  • Scott Silver, class of 2019, was named vice president of visual effects at Fox Searchlight.
  • Christina Oh, class of 2009, earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination for producing the film "Minari."
  • Tyler Gillett, class of 2004, wrapped filming on "Scream," the latest film of the multimedia franchise.
  • Paul Pennolino, class of 1985, was nominated for an Emmy for directing "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver." 
  • Netflix's feature division, run by 1991 graduate Scott Stuber, scored the most Oscar nominations of the season.

Faculty in the school also had a busy year.

  • Associate professor Michael Mulcahy wrapped a horror short called "A Dutiful Spouse," which will debut at the Loft Film Festival later this month.
  • Faculty members Jacob Bricca and Lisa Molomot's "Missing in Brooks County" will debut on PBS/Independent Lens after an award-winning festival run that brought renewed attention to the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. 
  • Professor Beverly Seckinger launched the Human Rights Practice Program, an interdisciplinary graduate certificate program designed to bring together aspiring human rights workers and documentary filmmakers.

version of this story originally appeared on the School of Theatre, Film & Television Website.

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