Filmmaking Schools in Iowa

Filmmaking Schools in Iowa

Looking for classes in a specific city? Check out our lists of Filmmaking Schools in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Des Moines.

Are you passionate about filmmaking and seeking the best education to hone your skills? Discover the top filmmaking schools in Iowa that offer robust programs to kickstart your career.

This guide highlights premier institutions, describing their unique offerings in film and television studies. Whether you’re aiming for hands-on production or advanced theory, you’ll find a school in Iowa that fits your needs.

University of Iowa – Cinematic Arts Program

Explore the University of Iowa’s Cinematic Arts Program, a top choice for students who are passionate about cinema and television studies. This program offers a wide array of options to suit your educational needs.

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Cinema: Gain comprehensive knowledge in film theory, criticism, and production techniques.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting Arts: Develop practical screenwriting skills combined with historical and theoretical knowledge.
  • Minor in Cinema: Specialize in film through a focused study track.

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Arts in Film Studies: Deepen your understanding of film theory and history.
  • Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production: Receive intensive training in film and video production.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Film Studies: Engage in advanced scholarly research and prepare for academic careers.


  • Experiential Learning: Engage in real-world film projects for hands-on experience.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Access cutting-edge production equipment and resources.
  • Collaborative Opportunities: Participate in events like the Midwest Graduate Student Symposium in Film Studies.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Experience a strong commitment to diverse perspectives.


  • The faculty is known for publishing books and having extensive expertise across various aspects of film.

For more detailed information, visit the University of Iowa’s Cinematic Arts Program.

Film Connection – Film Production, Editing, Cinematography, and Screenwriting Programs

Film Connection offers a unique mentorship-based learning approach, connecting you with industry professionals.

Key Features

  • Mentorship-Based Learning: Gain real-world experience by working directly on film sets.
  • Locations: Opportunities available in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, and Ottumwa.
  • Curriculum: Courses cover film production, editing, cinematography, and screenwriting.


  • Cost-Effective: More affordable compared to traditional film schools.
  • Real-World Experience: Work on actual film projects to gain practical experience.
  • Local Talent: Learn film production in Iowa without relocating to major film hubs.


  • Former students have praised the hands-on learning and valuable industry connections.

For more details, visit Film Connection in Iowa.

The University of Iowa – Cinema BA

The University of Iowa offers a Cinema BA program that provides an immersive education in film theory, criticism, and production.

Facilities and Resources

  • State-of-the-Art Studio: Equipped with modern cameras and 50 digital editing stations.
  • Workshops and Guest Artists: Participate in workshops and interact with nationally recognized filmmakers.

Career Opportunities

  • High Placement Rate: 95% of graduates find employment or pursue further education within six months.
  • Pomerantz Career Center: Access resources to secure internships and jobs.

Areas of Study

  • Interdisciplinary Courses: Take courses in film analysis, critical reading, and advanced film studies.
  • Institute for Cinema and Culture: Engage in film retrospectives and conferences.

Scholarships are available for eligible students. For more information, visit the University of Iowa’s Cinema BA page.

University of Iowa – Screenwriting Arts Program

The University of Iowa’s Screenwriting Arts Program offers a thorough curriculum tailored for those pursuing careers in screenwriting.

Program Highlights

  • Integration with Cinematic Arts: Utilize cutting-edge resources and advanced production facilities.
  • Foundation in Creative Writing: Leverage the expertise from Iowa’s renowned writing programs.
  • Practical Skills: Learn narrative forms, film language, and screenplay writing techniques.

Career Readiness

  • High Job Placement: 95% placement rate within six months of graduation.
  • Networking and Communication: Focus on essential industry skills.


  • Credit Hours: Complete a minimum of 42 credit hours for the major.
  • Minor in Cinema: Earn at least 12 credit hours in Cinematic Arts courses.

Financial aid and scholarships are available. For more details, visit the University of Iowa’s Screenwriting Arts Program page.

University of Northern Iowa – Film Studies Minor

Consider the Film Studies minor at the University of Northern Iowa, designed for students interested in exploring different cinema dimensions.

Program Integration

  • Related Majors: Complement other majors like English, English Teaching, and Digital Media Production.
  • Curriculum: Study classic and contemporary films from diverse directors and regions.

Skills Developed

  • Critical Thinking: Enhance your ability to analyze and appreciate film artistry.
  • Customized Learning: Tailor coursework to match your interests and career goals.

Supportive Environment

  • Faculty and Staff: Receive guidance and support throughout your academic journey.

For more information, visit the University of Northern Iowa’s Film Studies Minor page.

Each of these filmmaking schools in Iowa offers unique, valuable programs to help you pursue your passion and career in the film industry. Explore them to find the perfect fit for your educational and professional goals.

The University of Iowa – Bachelor of Arts in Cinema

The University of Iowa’s Bachelor of Arts in Cinema program equips students with the fundamental skills needed to analyze and create films in today’s dynamic media landscape.


The curriculum is designed to cover both theoretical and practical aspects of filmmaking:

  • Film Studies: Courses investigate major film movements, influential directors, and important debates within film history and theory.
  • Film Production: Learn to create narrative, documentary, and experimental films using both traditional and digital technologies.

Degree Requirements

  • Credit Hours: Students must complete a minimum of 120 semester hours, with 33 hours specific to the major.
  • GPA: Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all major-related courses.
  • Dual Majors: Opportunities to pursue additional majors such as Screenwriting Arts, requiring a total of 68 semester hours.

Career Paths

Graduates often pursue careers in a variety of fields:

  • Film and Video Production: Work in creating narrative and documentary films.
  • Television and Digital Production: Engage in television shows and online media content.
  • Arts Administration: Manage arts organizations and film festivals.
  • Advertising and Business Roles: Apply filmmaking techniques in marketing and corporate settings.

Enhancement Opportunities

  • Honors and Clubs: Participate in honors study and student-run clubs for additional learning and networking.
  • Internships: Gain hands-on experience through internships in editing, cinematography, and sound design.

For further details, visit the University of Iowa’s Bachelor of Arts in Cinema program.

Maharishi University of Management – David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting

At Maharishi University of Management, the David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting program uniquely combines screenwriting education with Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Program Structure

  • Low-Residency: This two-year MFA program allows students to balance their personal commitments with academic pursuits, including semesterly residencies.
  • Coursework: Intensive courses cover script analysis, story structure, and industry practices such as pitching and selling scripts.

Unique Features

  • Meditation Integration: Emphasizes creativity through the practice of TM, fostering personal and artistic growth.
  • Narrative Evaluations: Provides personalized feedback through narrative evaluations rather than traditional grades.

Industry Connections

  • Guest Lectures: Engage with industry leaders through lectures, workshops, and master classes.
  • Faculty Interaction: Collaborate closely with faculty and industry professionals who provide mentorship and guidance.

Student Feedback

  • Positive Reviews: Students praise the holistic approach, integrating TM with screenwriting education for personal and professional development.

For more details, visit the David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting program.

University of Iowa – MFA in Film & Video Production

The University of Iowa offers an MFA in Film & Video Production through its Graduate College, preparing students for advanced careers in film production.

Admission Requirements

  • No GRE Required: Meeting the graduate college’s requirements and departmental criteria is essential.
  • Application Process: Submit an online application with a fee and, if required, additional materials such as letters of recommendation.

Tuition and Fees

  • Varies by Program: Check the departmental website or General Catalog for detailed fee structures.

International Students

  • English Proficiency: Provide TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo scores to meet English proficiency standards.

For further information, visit the University of Iowa’s MFA in Film & Video Production page.

How to Choose the Right Filmmaking School in Iowa

Choosing the right filmmaking school in Iowa is crucial for your career in the film industry. Here are some key factors to consider:


  • Program Specialization: Ensure the school offers programs that align with your specific interests, such as screenwriting, production, or cinematography.
  • Hands-On Learning: Evaluate the availability of practical, real-world experience through workshops, internships, and production opportunities.
  • Facilities: Verify that the school has state-of-the-art equipment and resources to support your learning needs.
  • Cost: Compare tuition fees and the availability of financial aid or scholarships.
  • Location: Consider the benefits of studying locally versus relocating to major film hubs.
  • Industry Connections: Assess the school’s networking opportunities with industry professionals and alumni success stories.

Additional Tips

  • Visit Campuses: If possible, tour the schools and meet faculty and current students.
  • Reviews and Testimonials: Research feedback from alumni to understand their experiences.

Making the right choice involves balancing practical considerations with personal preferences to ensure you receive the best education for your filmmaking career.

Filmmaking Schools By State

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Making the Right Choice for Your Filmmaking Education

By understanding the options available among filmmaking schools in Iowa, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your career goals and personal aspirations. Use the resources and information provided to find the perfect fit and embark on a successful journey in the world of filmmaking.

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