Filmmaking Schools in San Mateo CA Feature Image

Filmmaking Schools in San Mateo CA

Not in San Mateo? Check out our lists of Filmmaking Schools in Santa Clara, Santa Clarita, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, Simi Valley, Stockton, Sunnyvale, Temecula, Thousand Oaks, and across California.

Looking to break into the film industry? Finding the right education is crucial.

This guide covers the top filmmaking schools in San Mateo CA. Each institution offers unique programs, hands-on training, and industry connections to help you succeed.

Let’s explore your options and find the best fit for your filmmaking career.

San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking – Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree Program

San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking is a top choice for aspiring filmmakers in San Mateo, CA. This nationally accredited educational institution offers diverse programs to develop media professionals. The AAS degree covers all aspects of filmmaking, training students as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, and editors for movies and TV.

Key features:

  • Programs: Offers both part-time workshops and a Professional Certificate program.
  • Hands-on Training: Workshops span from 2 weeks to 6 months, providing immersive learning experiences.
  • Faculty: Experienced industry professionals dedicated to nurturing creativity.
  • Career Opportunities: Graduates have opportunities to work on commercials, documentaries, and short films.

Students have praised the diverse projects and networking opportunities available during their studies. The institution also provides substantial support for veteran students. With its dedicated faculty and practical experience, San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking ensures a nurturing educational atmosphere.

College of San Mateo – Film Program

The College of San Mateo Film Program offers an A.A. degree in Film, designed to prepare you for jobs in film, television, and digital media. The program includes film and media studies, as well as film history and criticism.

Key features:

  • Curriculum: Focuses on different styles of film art.
  • Internships: Career-focused internships and coursework.
  • Career Paths: Includes journalistic film reviewing, film education, and production roles.
  • Faculty: Led by experienced faculty like Professor David Laderman.

Students benefit from high-quality education, active mentoring, and collaborations with organizations like SFFILM. The program also showcases student films at events such as the Grand Foundation Festival, ensuring exposure and recognition.

College of San Mateo – Associate in Arts in Film

The College of San Mateo offers an Associate in Arts in Film. This program provides a strong foundation in film studies and production.

Key features:

  • Courses: Consist of media in society, digital video and audio production, creative writing, and African-American cinema.
  • Focus: On film and media studies, film history and criticism.
  • Transferable Units: Can be transferred to CSU, UC, and independent colleges.
  • Career Options: Includes roles in film criticism, education, and production.

The curriculum aims to equip you with analytical skills and knowledge of significant directors, genres, and historical movements. Graduates are well-prepared for further education or careers in related fields.


Both the College of San Mateo and San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking offer robust programs that cater to different aspects of filmmaking, ensuring that you have ample opportunities to learn and grow. Each school provides extensive training, practical experience, and a creative environment conducive to your filmmaking aspirations.

San Francisco State University – School of Cinema

San Francisco State University’s School of Cinema offers an immersive educational experience. Established in the politically active and artistically experimental 1960s, this program encourages cinematic expressions that challenge societal and artistic norms.

Key features:

  • Comprehensive Degrees: Offers degrees including B.A., M.A., and M.F.A., with minors in Animation and Cinema.
  • Hands-on Approach: Access to state-of-the-art facilities and extensive labs.
  • Experienced Faculty: Get guidance from experts in fields like animation, documentary filmmaking, screenwriting, and social justice fiction filmmaking.

Programs here emphasize critical thinking, creative expression, and social engagement. Students benefit from the school’s rich history and progressive approach, producing award-winning works and documentaries. The supportive community fosters collaboration, helping students achieve their career goals in the film industry.

College of San Mateo – Associate in Science in Film, TV, and Electronic Media for Transfer (AS-T)

The College of San Mateo offers an Associate in Science in Film, TV, and Electronic Media for Transfer (AS-T). This program is designed to prepare you for bachelor’s programs in broadcast, film, and television production at CSU, with guaranteed admission to CSU.

Key features:

  • Core Courses: Include DGME 100 – Media in Society, FILM 100 – Introduction to Film, and writing or screenwriting courses.
  • Selective Courses: Cover digital audio production, radio and podcast production, video production, and film history.
  • Career Prospects: Training for roles such as TV/video producer, director, camera operator, video editor, scriptwriter, and audio technician.

The curriculum emphasizes producing targeted TV/video segments and understanding critical and technical aspects of film studies. For students aiming to transfer, detailed articulation agreements can be found on the Assist website, ensuring a smooth transition to further education.

How to Choose the Right Filmmaking School in San Mateo CA

Choosing the right filmmaking school can be a crucial step for your career. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:

Factors to Consider

  1. Program Curriculum:

  2. Faculty Expertise:

  3. Facilities and Equipment:

  4. Industry Connections:

  5. Cost and Financial Aid:

  6. Networking Opportunities:

By evaluating these factors, you can narrow down your choices and find a filmmaking school that aligns with your professional goals and personal circumstances.

Final Recommendations for Aspiring Filmmakers

Navigating through the various filmmaking schools in San Mateo, CA can be daunting, but focusing on key aspects such as curriculum, faculty expertise, and industry connections will help you make an informed decision. These schools offer various specialized programs to cater to different filmmaking interests.

Take your time to research each option, visit campuses, and reach out to admissions offices for more information. By doing so, you will find the best educational path to propel your career in the film industry. Make sure to weigh factors like cost, facilities, and networking opportunities to match your individual needs and career aspirations.

To get started, explore the websites of San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking, College of San Mateo, and San Francisco State University for detailed information about their filmmaking programs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *