UWM film program named one of America’s best

Aspiring filmmakers take note: One of the best places in America to study filmmaking is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. That’s the takeaway from a survey of industry insiders published by The Hollywood Reporter.

The Peck School of the Arts film program was ranked No. 24 in the magazine’s 2018 ranking of “Top 25 American Film Schools.” The magazine says that it “ranked the best of the best based on not just how much tech they have but also the quality of their faculty and facilities, their reputations in the industry and the achievements of their graduates.”

Two dozen people stand in front of a building.
Faculty and staff have made the filmmaking program at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts one of the best in the U.S. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

The Reporter’s write-up gives a nod to film program alumni Eric Haywood and Caroline Kastelic, of “Empire” and “Robot Chicken,” respectively. Two new additions to the Peck School’s Department of Film, Video, Animation & New Genres this year will further elevate the program’s rising profile: a satellite location in the No Studios creative hub opening in downtown Milwaukee this fall and a bachelor of arts degree in animation.

“Students in our pre-professional practice courses will be working and creating at No Studios alongside top local and national creative talent,” said Peck School of the Arts Dean Scott Emmons.

The department’s documentary filmmaking program, doc|UWM, will relocate to No Studios in October. Other tenants will include Milwaukee Film, the Milwaukee Filmmakers Alliance and an office for No Studios CEO John Ridley, an Oscar-winning writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles but originally from Milwaukee.

Back on campus, faculty and alumni of the Film, Video, Animation & New Genres department helped lay the groundwork for a degree-level animation concentration within the program. Fall 2018 marks the first time students can specialize in animation within the Peck School and earn a degree in the discipline.

“The new bachelor of arts degree in animation really formalizes something the school has been doing well and is known for,” Emmons said. “We’re excited to see how the program will grow and take shape just in the next two to three semesters.”

Faculty and alumni animation credits include “The Simpsons,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Robot Chicken” and “Anomalisa.”

UWM also made The Hollywood Reporter list in 2011 and was named a Top 50 film program by another survey of filmmakers and educators in 2017.

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