Ringling College went up seven spots, 24 to 17, from last year's list
Ringling College of Art and Design's investment in film and animation is being noticed. Not only are they consistently ranked one of the best art schools in the country, Sarasota's art college is joining company with some of the most prestigious and oldest film programs in the country such as USC, NYU and the American Film Institute.
The Hollywood Reporter named Ringling College's film and animation departments as the number 17 best film school in the country in their annual list of "The Top 25 American Film Schools." The culture and film trade magazine toured campuses across the country and interviewed industry experts to compile their list.
Ringling College gained seven spots over last year's ranking at number 24. The magazine's staff credits this increase not only to big-name wins at this year's Oscars (alumnus Patrick Osborne won best animated short film for "Feast" and 30 alumni worked on three of the nominated animated feature films including winner "Big Hero 6") but also to investment on campus. They noted Ringling College's recent Stage 41 space, a 14,000 square-foot production facility that opened in 2014, and its current construction of a 30,000 square-foot soundstage and post-production facility.
In addition to it's new facilities and award-winning alumni, The Hollywood Reporter also credits the college's efforts in bringing industry talent to campus such as actors and directors Werner Herzog, Elijah Wood, Forest Whitaker, Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright.
Thanks to this investment in their facilities, students and alumni Ringling College ranked higher than other peer schools such as the Rhode Island School of Design, Syracuse University, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Florida State University and Northwestern University.
"We really looked how to make our program distinctive from most programs out there," says Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design. "We started with creating and shooting on digital film. The second part was that we also really decided to work with professional talent in order to get connected with the industry."
That industry connection is key says Thompson. Construction on the new production facility will include academic classroom space, three soundstages for film and television shooting and editing studios. Local, regional and Hollywood production companies along with students will use the space for shoots on professional feature and short films. Thompson says this approach with students constantly interacting with and learning from industry professionals with hands-on training will allow Ringling College's film program to stand out nationwide.
"We want to the film program to grow and get into the top 10 in the country," says Thompson. "We see it growing by 50 to 60 students being admitted each year. 220 to 250 students overall compared to the approximately 120 on campus now."