Variety Includes Belmont University in List of Top Film Schools from Around the World for 2021

Students Learning Lighting for Film Class

Belmont University is included again this year in Variety’s cultivated list of the Top 50 Film Schools and Instructors from Around the World.

The list notes how quickly Belmont’s Motion Pictures Department has grown and seen success since 2013 in both Nashville and Los Angeles. The school’s collective 200 students are taught by 10 full-time faculty members and about 20 additional staffers in classes such as directing, writing, creative producing, screenplay analysis, cinematography, set management, film history and genre studies, among others. Variety says, “With new film and television writing majors on the horizon and a 2020 merger with Watkins College of Art, Belmont’s Johnson Center facility in Nashville received multiple upgrades, including a full-size Dolby Atmos mix theater, three Avid S6 consoles as well as storage, software and server space.”

Variety’s article discusses the transition of most film and digital arts programs worldwide to rely on online models of instruction as the COVID-19 crisis continued. However, “centers of higher education continued to nourish ingenuity in the arts.”

Chair of the Motion Pictures Department Will Akers explained how Belmont successfully worked through a difficult year. “In Fall 2020, because COVID was not well understood, we made the difficult decision to cancel our mid-level filmmaking classes,” he said. “Over the winter holiday break, we installed 87 remote Avid Media Composer and Pro Tools workstations, allowing our students to log in and edit their films from anywhere. In Spring 2021, we were able to run a full production slate and, due to the stringent protocols instituted by our faculty, no students, teachers or actors got sick on over 200 productions.”

Dean of the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business Doug Howard said, “I am proud of Will Akers, our students and the entire Cinema, Television and Media faculty team for working so hard to maintain world-class standards during this challenging year. Also, I thank our University senior leaders for their support and for allowing us to implement new technology that allows our students to continue their courses and film projects whether working on campus or from a remote location.”

students using film equipment
Film class learns about outdoor lighting around the Johnson Center at Belmont University.

Variety pointed out the film schools from the list and their faculty continued working diligently to help aspiring filmmakers, be they producers, screenwriters or directors, to hone their respective crafts no matter the challenges facing the industry. As Variety states, “Students at these schools will likely emerge to become the superstar creators of the TV series, indie films and tent pole movies of tomorrow.”

Akers said, “We are extremely pleased to be on a list with such amazing schools from around the world, especially at the end of such a long and difficult year. The students required more care, productions needed more attention, and the hours of work generated by our talented and dedicated faculty make this recognition all the sweeter.”