Australia’s Top Film Schools + What You Should Know

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Congrats, you want to be a filmmaker! Is film school your next logical move toward success? There are two schools (pardon the pun) of thought. The first champions the idea that a focused environment, a range of experiences, and collaborating with peers and industry pros opens doors in an industry in which competition is fierce. 

The other camp says that on-set experience is ultimately the best “film school” one can attend—especially because it comes without the burden of student loans and the rigidity of institutional training. Self-discipline and proactivity, however, aren’t everyone’s strong suit. Director and producer Alan Poul is an advocate of this method—and he has seven Emmy nominations to show for it. He advises aspiring filmmakers to find at least one mentor to fill in the gaps that film school would otherwise cover.  

But if you think you’re game for the academic approach, here are some Aussie film schools to consider—all of them members of the prestigious International Association of Film and Television Schools (Centre International de Liaison des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision—CILECT). Each program meets the highest standards of education, research, and training. 

(Please note: Fees were correct at time of writing, but may change)

Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS)

The Breakdown: Founded in 1972, AFTRS is considered Australia’s leading film school; it’s regularly featured on the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of top institutions worldwide. Expect to enter the ranks of those who’ve bagged Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmys, BAFTAs, and AACTAs, all while enjoying AFTRS’s vast array of top-notch purpose-built facilities. 

Duration: Three years, full-time

Qualification: Bachelor of Arts, Screen: Production

Location: Sydney, NSW

Tuition fees: For domestic students: about AUD 14,880 per year. Australian citizens may be eligible for FEE-HELP. Information on scholarships can be found here

Notable alumni: Jane Campion (director of “The Power of the Dog,” “Top of the Lake”), Phillip Noyce (director of “The Giver,” “Salt”), Tony Ayres (creator of “Clickbait,” “Stateless”)

Application process: Submit online. Offers are based on merit selection and do not require a minimum ATAR; however, applicants must complete all three application tasks to be considered. 

Griffith Film School (GFS)

The Breakdown: Founded in 2004, GFS is another program that offers unlimited access to world-class facilities. Students have a choice of electives they can take to accompany their major, including editing, producing, cinematography, directing, and production design. The school is located in the booming Queensland film and television center, and students benefit from interactions with artists-in-residence from around the country and worldwide. GFS’s degrees are accredited by Griffith University.

Duration: Three years full-time or six years part-time

Qualification: Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production

Location: Brisbane, QLD 

Tuition fees: For domestic students: about AUD 14,000 (CSP student contribution amount) per year. Australian citizens may be eligible for HECS-HELP. For international students: about AUD 31,000 per year. Information on scholarships can be found here

Notable alumni: Angie Fielder (producer of “Dirt Music”, “Lion”), Joe Brumm (creator of “Bluey,”), Peter and Michael Spierig (directors of “Winchester” and “Daybreakers”)

Application process: Domestic students should submit online through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). International students should submit online through Griffith’s international e-portal. Domestic students must meet an Indicative ATAR of 79. International students must meet an IELTS requirement of 6.5. 

Swinburne School of Film and Television (SSFT)

The Breakdown: Founded in 1966, SSFT has been declared “the finest film/video production school in the world” by Hunter Todd, the founder of WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. All undergrads take part in a work-integrated learning program. This can be a professional placement, internship, or industry-linked project. SSFT’s degrees are accredited by the Swinburne University of Technology.

Duration: Three years full-time or part-time equivalent 

Qualification: Bachelor of Screen Production

Location: Melbourne, VIC

Tuition fees: For domestic students: about AUD 14,630 (CSP student contribution amount) per year. Australian citizens may be eligible for HECS-HELP. For international students: about AUD 37,700 per year. Information on scholarships can be found here

Notable alumni: Jason Raftopoulos (director of “West of Sunshine”), Mark Hartley (director of “Not Quite Hollywood”), Takumi Kawakami (director of “Paper Crane”)

Application process: Domestic students should submit online through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC). International students should submit online through Swinburne’s international e-portal. If you’d like to discuss your options in more detail, you can also book a one-on-one appointment with a Future Student Advisor. Domestic students must meet an Indicative ATAR of 60. International students must meet an IELTS requirement of 6.0. 

University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

The Breakdown: Founded in 1986, UTS celebrates the work of its final-year students with an annual showcase that regularly attracts the attention of industry pros. This, paired with the show reel built over the course of the degree, gives graduates a wealth of high-quality material to take with them into the real world. Students are also able to add a second major to their degree, including journalism, creative Writing, digital and social media, strategic communication, or social and political Science. 

Duration: Three years, full-time

Qualification: Bachelor of Communication (Media Arts and Production)

Location: Sydney, NSW

Tuition fees: For domestic students: about AUD 14,630 (CSP student contribution amount) per year. Australian citizens may be eligible for HECS-HELP. For international students: about AUD 21,475 per year. Information on scholarships can be found here

Notable alumni: Kate Dennis (director of “GLOW,” “The Handmaid’s Tale”), Maya Newell (director of “Gayby Baby”), Tyson Donnelly (visual effects supervisor of “The Matrix Resurrections,” “Aladdin”)

Application process: Domestic students should submit online through the Universities Admission Centre (UAC). International students should submit online through the UTS Apply Online portal. Domestic students must meet an Indicative ATAR of 84.55. International students must meet an IELTS requirement of 6.5. 

Victorian College of the Arts (VCA)

The Breakdown: VCA was founded in 1966, and its Film and Television graduates have gone on to win awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, and the Oscars. Students can choose to specialise in one of several areas while completing their undergrad, including animation, documentary, narrative, producing, and screenwriting. VCA’s degrees are accredited by the University of Melbourne—Australia’s top-ranked university. 

Duration: Three years, full-time 

Qualification: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Film and Television

Location: Melbourne, VIC

Tuition fees: For domestic students: about AUD 14,630 (CSP student contribution amount) per year. Australian citizens may be eligible for HECS-HELP. For international students: about AUD 55,100 per year. Information on scholarships can be found here

Notable alumni: Ariel Kleiman (director of “Top of the Lake,” “Partisan”), Justin Kurzel (director of “True History of the Kelly Gang,” “Assassin’s Creed”), Polly Staniford (producer of “Lion,” “Berlin Syndrome”)

Application process: Domestic students should submit online through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC). International students should submit online through the University’s application e-portal. Shortlisted applicants will be notified of their interview time. International students must meet an IELTS requirement of 6.5. 

WA Screen Academy (WASA)

The Breakdown: Founded in 2005, WASA offers innovative “production-focused training” designed to mirror the realities of the professional industry. Sharing a campus with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), WASA is uniquely positioned to benefit from frequent collaborations with some of Australia’s most exciting acting talent. WASA’s degrees are accredited by Edith Cowan University (ECU).

Duration: Three years full-time or part-time equivalent 

Qualification: Bachelor of Media and Communications, Screen Studies

Location: Perth, WA

Tuition fees: For domestic students: about AUD 11,350 (CSP student contribution amount) per year. Australian citizens may be eligible for FEE-HELP. For international students: about AUD 31,800 per year. Information on scholarships can be found here

Notable alumni: Ben Young (director of “Extinction,” “Hounds of Love”), Hannah Ngo (producer of “Iggy & Ace”), Paul Komadina (director of “Castaway,” “Trapped”)

Application process: Submit online via ECU’s e-portal before the annual deadlines of 30 October (semester one entry) or 31 May (semester two entry). Applicants will then be notified of their interview time. Domestic students must meet an Indicative ATAR of 70. International students must meet an IELTS requirement of 6.0. 

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