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Filmmaking Schools in Buffalo NY

Not in Buffalo? Check out our lists of Filmmaking Schools in Huntington, Islip, New York City, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Ramapo, Rochester, Smithtown, Syracuse, and across New York.

Ever dreamt of making your own films? Finding the right path can be daunting. Discover the best filmmaking schools in Buffalo NY to transform your passion into expertise.

This guide highlights top programs, hands-on opportunities, and industry connections that will launch your filmmaking career.

SUNY Buffalo State – Television and Film Arts (TFA) Program

The Television and Film Arts (TFA) program at SUNY Buffalo State is a top choice for those seeking an immersive and well-rounded filmmaking education in Buffalo, NY. This program is designed to hone your storytelling abilities while offering practical, hands-on experience across various aspects of film and television production.

  • Diverse Curriculum: The TFA program integrates coursework from Communication, English, and Theater departments, providing you with a comprehensive education that touches on all aspects of film and media production.
  • Industry Connections: Networking opportunities are abundant, with over 60 student internships and full-time positions at major entertainment companies since 2009.
  • Real-World Experience: Participate in the “Semester in New York” initiative, where you can intern at networks like MTV and Comedy Central, and gain invaluable industry exposure.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: The program offers modern equipment and technology to ensure you are well-prepared for a career in the competitive film and television industry.
  • Special Programs: Students can attend the Toronto International Film Festival and engage in projects like Friday Night Live sketches, enhancing your learning experience.
  • Supportive Environment: With small class sizes (around 15 students per year) and a focus on individual growth, you get the attention and resources you need to succeed.

For more information, visit the SUNY Buffalo State TFA Program.

Film Connection – Filmmaking Program

Film Connection offers a unique mentor-extern approach that is particularly beneficial for aspiring filmmakers in Buffalo, NY. This innovative program pairs you with a seasoned mentor in your field of interest, allowing for hands-on learning and real-world experience.

  • Mentor-Extern Model: Gain personalized training and insights from industry professionals who guide you through the filmmaking process.
  • Industry Experience: The program concludes with a week in Los Angeles, giving you the opportunity to pitch your ideas and build connections in one of the industry’s biggest hubs.
  • Wide Range of Learning: The curriculum covers all aspects of filmmaking, from screenwriting and editing to directing and production.
  • Location Benefits: Buffalo’s diverse landscapes, including waterfront areas, downtown settings, and proximity to Niagara Falls, offer rich shooting locations.
  • Successful Graduates: Many students secure employment even before completing the program, thanks to the strong industry connections provided.

Leverage the real-world training and networking opportunities by joining the Film Connection Filmmaking Program.

Villa Maria College – Digital Filmmaking

Villa Maria College’s Digital Filmmaking program combines innovation and imagination, preparing you for a successful career in the film industry. This program equips you with the latest tools and techniques needed for high-quality film production.

  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Courses cover a wide range of subjects including directing, producing, writing, cinematography, editing, and visual effects.
  • Hands-On Experience: Utilize state-of-the-art equipment such as video cameras, SLR cameras, tripods, microphones, and editing software to create your cinematic projects.
  • Small Class Sizes: With an average of 12 students per class, you receive personalized attention and build strong networks with peers and faculty.
  • Internship Opportunities: Gain practical experience through internships that provide real-world insights and connections.
  • Professional Preparation: The B.F.A. program is designed to meet the growing demand for highly skilled film industry professionals.

For more information, explore the Villa Maria College Digital Filmmaking Program.

Buffalo State – Television and Film Arts (TFA) Program

The Television and Film Arts (TFA) program at Buffalo State offers an excellent education for aspiring filmmakers, encompassing a broad spectrum of media disciplines.

  • Diverse Coursework: The program includes classes from Communication, English, and Theater departments, offering a well-rounded education in entertainment.
  • Practical Training: Engage in hands-on experiences that prepare you for the real world, with opportunities for internships and roles in major entertainment companies.
  • Industry Exposure: Participate in the “Semester in New York” initiative, securing internships at high-profile networks like MTV and Comedy Central.
  • Expert Faculty: Learn from seasoned industry professionals who bring valuable insights and experience to the classroom.
  • Student Showcases: Publicly display your projects every semester, gaining feedback and recognition.

To learn more, visit the Buffalo State TFA Program.

University at Buffalo – Film Production Program

The Film Production Program at the University at Buffalo is part of the Department of Media Study. This program immerses you in various filmmaking techniques, encouraging creativity and innovation.

  • Comprehensive Instruction: Courses cover narrative, documentary, experimental, and hybrid cinema, ensuring a well-rounded filmmaking education.
  • Innovative Faculty: Learn from experts such as Laura Kraning, John Fiege, and Sama Waham, who bring cutting-edge knowledge to the program.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Access to modern film production facilities housed in the Center for the Arts, providing a supportive environment for your creative projects.
  • Creative Exploration: The program promotes boundary-pushing practices, allowing you to develop a unique filmmaking voice.
  • Career Preparation: Prepare for a range of careers in the film industry or further academic pursuits through a blend of theoretical and practical learning.

Discover more about the University at Buffalo Film Production Program.

Squeaky Wheel – Buffalo Youth Media Institute

The Squeaky Wheel Buffalo Youth Media Institute offers an enriching platform for high school students in Buffalo Public and Charter Schools. This program empowers young creators through media literacy, innovation, and collaboration.

  • Free Programs: Accessible and cost-free after-school sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Summer Intensive: A 4-week summer program focusing on experimental media and exploring social and cultural topics.
  • Project Screenings: Student projects have been showcased at over 30 national and international film festivals.
  • Supportive Environment: Backed by prominent organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts, ensuring a robust learning experience.
  • Digital Skills: Hands-on projects enhancing digital production skills and fostering creativity.

For more insights, visit the Squeaky Wheel Buffalo Youth Media Institute.

Buffalo Public Schools – Cinematography Studies Educational Program

Buffalo Public Schools provide a practical and extensive Cinematography Studies Educational Program. This curriculum covers a wide range of filmmaking essentials.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Instruction in camera operation, lighting, sound recording, post-production editing, and storytelling aesthetics.
  • Expert Guidance: Courses led by media expert Kezia Pearson.
  • Hands-On Projects: Engages students with practical projects using industry-standard tools.
  • Student-Centered Approach: Customized feedback and regular assessments to enhance learning outcomes.

For details on hours and pricing, please contact the Buffalo Public Schools Cinematography Studies Program.

Villa Maria College – Digital Filmmaking Bachelor’s Degree

Villa Maria College stands out with the region’s only bachelor’s degree in Digital Filmmaking. This program prepares students for the evolving demands of the film industry.

  • Holistic Training: Curriculum includes producing, directing, lighting, sound, set/costume design, graphic design, and editing.
  • Cutting-Edge Equipment: Utilize state-of-the-art production and post-production tools.
  • Local Industry Ties: Collaborative relationships with Buffalo FilmWorks offer practical training on professional sound stages.
  • Industry Connections: Partnerships with local professionals like Bill Fichtner and Addison Henderson provide internships and exclusive workshops.

Explore the opportunities at the Villa Maria College Digital Filmmaking Program.

Tips for Choosing the Best Filmmaking School in Buffalo NY

Selecting the best filmmaking school in Buffalo, NY, involves several key considerations. Follow these tips to guide your decision:

  1. Curriculum Breadth: Choose a program with a comprehensive curriculum covering all areas of filmmaking. Ensure it includes both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
  2. Hands-On Learning: Look for schools that offer extensive hands-on learning opportunities. Access to state-of-the-art equipment is crucial.
  3. Faculty Expertise: Consider the qualifications and industry experience of the faculty. Educators with real-world industry connections can provide invaluable insights and networking opportunities.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Opt for programs that emphasize networking. Industry connections and internship opportunities can significantly impact your career prospects.
  5. Financial Considerations: Evaluate tuition costs and the availability of scholarships or financial aid. Weigh the overall value of the education provided.
  6. Alumni Success: Research the success stories of alumni. Programs with notable graduates often indicate strong educational foundations and effective career support.

Balancing these factors with your career goals and aspirations will help you find the best fit for your filmmaking education.


Choosing the right filmmaking school in Buffalo, NY, is a significant step towards achieving your creative dreams. Each program highlighted here offers unique strengths, from comprehensive curricula and hands-on experiences to strong industry connections. Take the time to explore these options in depth, visit campuses if possible, and assess how each program aligns with your career goals. With the right choice, the journey to becoming a skilled filmmaker in Buffalo awaits you.

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