At SFAI, students study filmmaking in the broader context of contemporary art practice.

Our film program investigates the full range of moving-image genres, including experimental, narrative, documentary, animation, and hybrid forms. Students learn the craft of filmmaking in courses that teach skills of production and postproduction, enabling them to realize their ideas.

Our program is flexible, keeping current with the ever-changing digital arena from multi-platform to alternative distribution. Students are encouraged to push the boundaries of the medium by integrating film with gallery-based objects, performance, and sound-based works. Students leave the program having explored a variety of methods of display—from traditional theatrical screening, to single- and multi-channel installation, to alternative contexts such as emerging small screen and interactive formats.

Past Courses

  • Cinematography and Narrative Light
  • Documentary Production
  • Expanded Cinemas and Optical Anomalies Explored
  • Techniques of the Observer
  • Radical Directing
  • Editing for Sound and Image

Virtual Tour of Film Studios


Our Film program is equipped to support work in 16mm, Super 8, DV, and high-definition video. Equipment for off-campus use includes a variety of 16mm, Super 8, mini-DV, and HD cameras, DAT and SD audio recorders, HD editing hardware, including Creative Cloud and Final Cut Pro on Macintosh platform, digital editing suites, and 5.1 mix studio.

Private suites with 24-hour access are available for both analog and digital editing. Other facilities include a production studio, sound recording suite, digital editing suites, 5.1 mix studio, and the SFAI Lecture Hall, which is available for professional presentations to large audiences. See Digital Technology Resources for more information.

Analog and Wet Lab Resources

  • Hand processing of Super 8, 8mm, and 16mm film
  • Complementary B/W reversal processing of 16mm film
  • 16mm telecine film transfer machine- converts to Mini-DV or VHS or QuickTime HD ProRes files
  • Steenbeck flatbed film editors
  • Edit booths for editing and splicing celluloid film, Super 8, 8mm, and 16mm
  • Animation stand with a 360 degree rotating compound table
  • Optical printer and contact printers


See a sample four-year academic plan in the BFA in Film program to help you decide what courses to take when.

Summary of Required Credits

Liberal Arts Requirements (Examples: Global Social Movements, Un/Natural Ideologies, Concepts of Creativity, Mathematics: A Visual History, Extinction)33
Studio & General Elective Requirements 72
Art History Requirements15

Film Studio Requirements

Contemporary Practice3
Introduction to Film3
Film Production / Post Production I3
Film Production / Post Production II3
The Art of Screenwriting3
Personal Film 6
Film Electives (Ex: Stop-Motion, Filmmaker/Rebel, Soundscape 5.1)15
Senior Review Seminar3
Electives in any Studio Discipline (Ex: Three-Dimensional Collage, Expressionistic Drawing) 24
General Electives (Ex: Sacred and Profane Photo, Bookmaking, Nomadic Structures) 9
BFA Graduate Exhibition0

Art History Requirements

Topics and Foundations in Global Visual Culture3
Topics and Foundations in Contemporary Art3
History of the Major3
Art History Elective3
Art History Elective3


Orit Ben Shitrit (Film Department Chair)

Christopher R. Coppola

See the full list of current faculty.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students use production and postproduction tools to create personal and powerful works of art and communication.
  • Students use the tools and language of cinema to effectively convey creative ideas.
  • Students understand and discuss historical developments of the moving image as well as the essential theoretical issues of his/her filmmaking practice.
  • Students acquire historical and contemporary knowledge of the interrelationships between cinema and the other arts.
  • Students develop a commitment to artistic development through continuous production.
  • Students progress towards the creation of a singular body of work.
  • Students gain the ability to articulate how personal experience, contemporary issues, and theoretical concerns inform one’s work.
  • Students gain an ability to situate moving images within critical, conceptual, and historical frameworks.