Best Filmmaking Classes And Workshops In Chicago

March 17, 2014 8:00 AM

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Inspired by the Sundance Film Festival, which early on recognized good, independent documentaries and dramatic films, students from high school age on to college and beyond consider movie making a viable way to tell a story. Colleges and academies in the Chicago area offer film and video as credit courses leading to a degree and also have Student-at-Large and Continuing Studies programs for non-degree students. Here are some of the schools with good film classes. Because most spring courses begin by mid-February, it is best to plan for the next term or find a class that appeals and then ask about availability or similar classes and cost.

(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Columbia College
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 369-1000

Students-at-Large can try a film or video class before deciding to enter Columbia’s degree program. To find the courses you want, click here for Majors and Programs. Click Courses and then go to All Types to find Cinema Art and Science. Finally, click Filter to see the course listings. You might want “Moving Image Production I” which covers the conceptualization and development of a project. The course takes students from camera operation and lighting to editing and directing. It may be a prerequisite for other classes. If you do find a course you want, click admissions to the Student-at-Large program for course cost and availability. Students must be 18 or older.

The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago
36 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 629-6100

Look for classes here for the Film Video, New Media and Animation Department. Some of the spring semester film classes have a fall prerequisite course and start in January so it might be easier to start with a video class and look at summer offerings. Among the introductory video classes is Digital Fabrication DIY. It covers image-making and video equipment operations.

Northwestern University
School of Continuing Studies
339 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 503-6950

The advantage of taking a Northwestern University class is that the spring semester starts in April so there’s no question about starting late or waiting until the next term. As an example, in the Radio/Television/Film Department, “Media Construction” is offered April 1 to June 10, 2014. Click here to view the course. Offered on the Evanston campus through the school of Continuing Studies, it teaches video production.

Related: Best Art Classes For Adults In Chicago 

(Photo Credit: Digital Professional Institute's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Digital Professional Institute’s Facebook)

Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy
Digital Professional Institute
28 N. Clark St., Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60602
(800) 251-5597

Tribeca is a digital arts school that combines degree courses with an apprenticeship program. In 2013, it started the Digital Professional Institute to meet professional needs with shorter training courses. Options include boot camps for film production and video editing. However, if looking for more film training, go here to see some of TFA’s Film and Broadcast Associate Degree courses for full- and part-time students.

Chicago Filmmakers
5243 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 293-1447

To take just a six-week course, seminar or weekend class, consider Chicago Filmmakers, an organization that offers college-level courses, workshops and a film-supportive community. As an example, “Developing the Documentary” ran Monday nights from the beginning of February to early March. Digital movie-making classes are suggested for beginners. 

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Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on

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