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

The curriculum 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. The curriculum is flexible, keeping current with the ever-changing digital arena from multi-platform to alternative distribution. The program encourages students to push the boundaries of the medium by integrating film with gallery-based objects, performance, and sound-based works. 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—are explored. 

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


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.

See a sample four-year academic plan for past students.

Total: 120

Title Units
Liberal Arts Requirements 33
Studio Requirements 72
Art History Requirements 15

Studio Requirements

Title Units
Contemporary Practice 3
Introduction to Film 3
Film Production / Post Production I 3
Film Production / Post Production II 3
The Art of Screenwriting 3
Personal Film 6
Film Electives 15
Senior Review Seminar 3
Electives in any studio discipline 24
General Electives 9
BFA Graduate Exhibition 0

Art History Requirements

Title Units
Global Art History 3
Modernity and Modernism 3
Art Since 1945 3
History of Film 3
Art History Elective 3