Introducing: The Underground Film School Guide
Obviously, there’s no such thing as an “underground film school.” So, what’s this resource page for then? It’s a listing of North American film programs that have what could be considered an “underground filmmaker” on the faculty. Defining faculty members as such takes a bit of a wonky definition of underground film, but I’m going by the one I came up with earlier this year. Plus, all of these faculty have their names featured prominently on this very website.
So, if you go to the page and click on each faculty name that appears on it, that will take you to their own index page on the Underground Film Journal — or, in blogging parlance, their “tag” page — so you can see what film festivals their work has screened at, which of their films have been embedded on this site, etc. Plus, most of these personal index pages are a bit enhanced with short bios, partial filmographies and other helpful links. Eventually, they should all have this info, but I’m still in the process of working on this project.
As of this writing, I’m still doing research and adding schools. Right now, there’s a good half-dozen or so listed so far, but I hope to add more soon.
Now, as I noted on the film school page and I’ll repeat here, I did study filmmaking at the Rochester Institute of Technology. (Class of ’92.) While I didn’t go into production after graduation, I’m extremely glad that I studied it in college, as opposed to going the history or media studies route. I think that’s what partly draws me to writing about the underground, that I understand what it takes to get a film made through sheer passion and no budget and limited resources.
Although the standard juvenile complaint against critics who write negatively about a film or filmmaker is “Ah, you’re just bitter because you went to film school and couldn’t hack it making films,” I think it’s a pretty good idea for anyone wanting to write about films to actually go out and make some, just to get a hands-on feel for how it’s done. It’s the converse side to the concept that anyone who wants to make films should seriously study the art form’s history.
The most interesting thing about putting together the Underground Film School Guide was reading the descriptions of each school’s offerings. Each one has a very different approach to formatting their curriculum and their specific concentrations.
I can only pull a little bit of info from each school to put onto the page. Anything longer would become a much larger project than I can afford to do right now. But, I still think each entry gives enough of a flavor of what each school teaches. Of course, any prospective student can click through to each school and read all they want, which I totally encourage.
Hopefully this Guide will be of some use, so please check it out and please let me know who or what else to add to it. I have some ideas already of some more schools to add, but I appreciate any suggestions.