Los Angeles Film School

Coordinates: 34°05′56″N 118°19′42″W / 34.098818°N 118.328202°W / 34.098818; -118.328202
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Los Angeles Film School
MottoPursue Your Passion
TypeFor-profit college, film school
PresidentTammy Elliott
Students2,464 (2014)[1]
Location, ,
United States

The Los Angeles Film School (informally LA Film School) is a for-profit college in Los Angeles, California offering associate and bachelor's degrees in majors relating to the entertainment industry. The school encompasses the Los Angeles Recording School and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.[2][3]


Main Sunset Boulevard building of the Los Angeles Film School.

The Los Angeles Film School was founded in 1999.[4][5] The school was conceived and founded by married investors Paul Kessler, a financier, and Diana Derycz-Kessler, a Harvard-trained lawyer and entrepreneur,[6][7] together with Thom Mount, and venture capitalist Bud MaLette.[2][8][9][10] In 1998, the founders developed the idea for the school and made an initial investment of $2 million.[6][11]

The first classes began in September 1999, and the school's first students graduated in July 2000.[9][12] The founding faculty included Tom Schatz, professor of film,[13] William A. Fraker and Janusz Kamiński teaching cinematography, Jon Amiel and Donald Petrie teaching directing, Dede Allen teaching editing, Ron Judkins teaching sound production, and Joe Byron, Director of Technology.[9]

The school was originally funded by Kessler and Derycz-Kessler through their company Bristol Investments.[14] After 18 months, the couple bought out their partners in the school and Dercyz-Kessler became the CEO,[5][11][14] seeking to address overspending in a more active role.[5] The total investment in the school had grown to $15 million by 2001, including the installation of the professional equipment required for film production.[11] As of 2001, students at the school had created 700 short films. The total number of students was 150 full-time and approximately 30 part-time.[11]

In 2003, the school formed a partnership with several private equity investors.[15] In April 2011, a decision was made by ACCET to withdraw its accreditation of The Los Angeles Recording School. The decision was stayed on appeal, and the school was permitted to resign its accreditation amicably, following the transfer of remaining students to The Los Angeles Film School,[16][17] which is accredited by the ACCSC.[2][3]

In February 2010, employees of The Los Angeles Film School submitted authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to become unionized as part of the California Federation of Teachers.[4][18] Following the controversial firing of a Los Angeles Film School employee and union organizer, and the litigation which led to her reinstatement, the group withdrew its petition for unionization.[19][20] In July 2011, the school settled a dispute with a local farmers market, which regularly blocked access to a Los Angeles Film School parking garage.[21]

By 2011, the school's enrollment had grown to 1,800 students.[22] Derycz-Kessler had a 17-year tenure as CEO (from 2000 to July 2017).[23] Tammy Elliott is currently the school's president.[24]


The Los Angeles Film School is located on Sunset Boulevard, where its quarter-million square foot campus (23,000 m2) includes the historic RCA Building,[6][22][25] which is known for being a recording place of artists including Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Henry Mancini.[6] In 2001, the school opened a 345-seat, THX-certified theater featuring a Sony 4K projector.[2][26] In 2006, the nearby six-story Klasky Csupo studio building (originally built in 1985 for a Mercedes-Benz dealership)[27] was purchased, which brought the total area of the campus to 230,000 square feet (21,000 m2).[15][28] The campus also includes a 4,000 square feet (370 m2) sound stage and the 8,000 square feet (740 m2) Ivar Theater.[2][29][30] The school's main stage houses a 3,000 square feet (280 m2) set of a Victorian house, where students can produce television shows with industry professionals.[22] Overall, as of March 2011, $61 million had been invested in the buildings alone.[22]


The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) to offer associate and bachelor's degrees.[2][3] In order to maintain its accreditation with the ACCSC, the school must achieve 70% industry job placement for its students within a year of graduation.[12][31] The school is an Avid Pro Tools curriculum partner.[32][33]

The school is approved to teach veterans by the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education. It is also a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity College Consortium, and is considered a military friendly school by MilitaryFriendly.com.[2][34] Military Times magazine ranked The Los Angeles Film School 7th on their "Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges" list for 2014, and in the top five on 2015's list.[35][36]

Degree programs[edit]

The Los Angeles Film School offers several associate and bachelor's degree programs related to the entertainment industry. Film related degrees include an associate degree in film, and bachelor's degrees in digital filmmaking and film production.[3][37] Degrees related to the video game industry include an associate degree in game production and a bachelor's in game production and design.[31][37][38] The school also offers an associate degree in computer animation and a bachelor's in animation and visual effects.[37][38] Two associate degrees related to the music industry are offered, one in music production and one in recording arts.[31][37] In addition, the school offers a bachelor's degree in entertainment business.[3][37]

Faculty and staff[edit]

Since 2012, former Universal Studios executive and film producer Hal Lieberman has headed a bachelor of science program in entertainment business.[39][40]

Joe Byron, who holds eight patents related to motion picture production, has served several roles at the school since 1999, including Director of Education, Director of Technology, and Director of Student and Alumni Engagement.[12][41][42]

Productions and events[edit]

The feature-length film Demon Slayer was produced by the school in 2003 and was financed by Roger Corman. The cast and crew for the film, including director James Cotton, was composed of students and alumni of The Los Angeles Film School.[43][44][45] The film was produced through the school's 1st Chance Films program, which partners well-known producers with its students to make films using the facilities at the school.[46] The school's Military Services Department produced the 2011 documentary The Yellow Ribbon Experience, which chronicles the reintegration of soldiers from the 63rd Regional Support Command into civilian life.[29][47]

Since 2007, the school has held an annual panel discussion which features the writers of Oscar-nominated films.[48][49] In 2010, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for Bob Marley was presented to the artist's family at the school.[50] Since 2009, the school has held an annual Veterans Day event called the "Annual Salute" to honor students with military service records.[29][51]

Since 2012, The Los Angeles Film School has hosted the Evolution International Film Festival.[52] The school also served as host to the 2012 GI Film Festival as part of its Annual Salute, and featured two films produced by Los Angeles Film School students.[51][53]

The school was host to the 2013 Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival and also hosts the Los Angeles-based 3D Film Festival.[54][55][56] The school has also hosted the BAFTA Student Film Awards in 2011.[57]

Notable alumni[edit]

Several alumni of The Los Angeles Film School have gone on to have notable careers in the entertainment industry, including David Eischen, of techno band Transoverload, Kyle Newacheck, director and co-creator of the television series Workaholics;[58] Ari Levine, who is a member of the writing and producing team for musician Bruno Mars;[59] Martin Pensa, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work editing the film Dallas Buyers Club;[60][61] Brandon Trost, who has served as cinematographer on several films including That Awkward Moment and This is the End;[62][63] Jaycen Joshua, who is a Grammy Award-winning sound mixer;[64] and Brian Taylor, co-writer and co-director of Crank, Crank: High Voltage and Gamer.[22] In 2021 Phillip Bladh became the first alumni to win an Academy Award for best sound for the movie Sound of Metal.


The Los Angeles Film School and Los Angeles Recording School faced a class action lawsuit in 2010, due to the school allegedly using deceptive tactics in promising students jobs in the entertainment industry.[65] The complaint stated that the school allegedly failed to give them their 900 hours of instruction,[66] and would allegedly attempt to bribe students with gift cards to Target and Best Buy if they would sign self-employment forms misrepresenting sales clerk positions at the Apple Store and Guitar Center as "Creative positions".[67][68][69][70]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Los Angeles Film School". Unigo Group. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Suzzane Takowsky (June 16, 2013). "The Pursuit of Happiness". The Beverly Hills Times. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Directory of Accredited Institutions". Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Patrick J. McDonnell (March 24, 2010). "Union rally backs organizing drive at private L.A. Film School". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Lewis Rice (2001). "The Big Picture". Harvard Law Bulletin.
  6. ^ a b c d Jason Dean (Spring 2012). "In the heart of Hollywood". CSuite Quarterly. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  7. ^ "Paul L. Kessler". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Variety Staff (August 2, 1999). "Stone unspools school". Variety. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Paul Cullum (May 10, 2000). "Thom Mount and the Los Angeles Film School". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "L.A. Film School to offer tech courses". Variety. May 18, 1999. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Beatriz Barceló-Boyker (September 18, 2001). "The ABC's of Cinematography". La Opinión.
  12. ^ a b c Bijan Tehrani (January 27, 2008). "Los Angeles Film School". Cinema Without Borders. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  13. ^ Jill Pesselnick (August 18, 1999). "L.A. Film School taps Schatz". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Audrey Davidow (January 1, 2003). "Blonde Ambition". Angeleno Magazine.
  15. ^ a b "Full Sail principals' partnership buys property for L.A. media schools". Orlando Business Journal. February 9, 2006. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "ACCET letter re: Appeals decision" (PDF). Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. August 12, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  17. ^ "ACCET letter re: resignation of accreditation" (PDF). Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. August 31, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  18. ^ Dave McNary (March 24, 2010). "Unions rally for L.A. Film School faculty". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  19. ^ Bacon, David (October 2011). "FT Presses for Overdue Changes to Federal Rules Governing Elections". California Teacher. California Federation of Teachers. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  20. ^ "National ruling supports worker organizing". California Teacher. California Federation of Teachers. March 1, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  21. ^ Kate Linthicum and David Karp (July 14, 2011). "Feud over Hollywood Farmers Market ends — for now". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c d e Cassandra M. Bellantoni (March 14, 2011). "The Los Angeles Film School". Beverly Hills Times Magazine. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  23. ^ "Bristol Capital Advisors".
  24. ^ "The Spotlight Academy Class of 2019". September 25, 2019.
  25. ^ Amber Smith (October 24, 2011). "Los Angeles Film School: Where Hollywood Grows". Screen Junkies. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  26. ^ "Los Angeles Film School Expands". Student Filmmakers Magazine. August 3, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  27. ^ "Nadel Wins Award for Auto Building". Los Angeles Times. March 15, 1987.
  28. ^ Nga Nguyen (February 23, 2006). "Schools Buy Klasky CSUPO Studios Bldg. for $410 PSF". CoStar. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c "10 Years Post-9/11, LA Film School Highlights a Positive Path for Army Reserve Soldiers & Families after War". Defense & Aerospace Week. September 21, 2011. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  30. ^ Kyle Rupprecht (October 29, 2009). "Los Angeles Film School's Gateway to Hollywood". MovieMaker. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  31. ^ a b c "Established industry professionals provide hands-on training to those aspiring to enter the entertainment field". Los Angeles Times. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  32. ^ "Film Schools & Training Programs". Directors Guild of America. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  33. ^ "Los Angeles Film School". Avid Training Partners. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  34. ^ "Los Angeles Film School (Hollywood, CA)". Victory Media Inc. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  35. ^ "Best for Vets, Career & Technical Colleges 2014". Military Times. Archived from the original on November 19, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  36. ^ George Altman (October 13, 2014). "Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2015". Air Force Times. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  37. ^ a b c d e "School Detail: Los Angeles Film School". Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  38. ^ a b Jill Duffy (May 14, 2008). "L.A. Film School Adds Two Game Degrees". Game Career Guide. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  39. ^ Stephen Slaybaugh (July 27, 2012). "Los Angeles Film School adding entertainment business degree to curriculum". Production2.0. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  40. ^ Mike Fleming (December 10, 2012). "Former Universal Pic Prexy Hal Lieberman To Head LA Film School Biz B.S. Program". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  41. ^ Paul Cullum (May 10, 2000). "Cinema Tech: Thom Mount and the Los Angeles Film School". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 5, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ "Joe Byron Joins Seven and Meeting Wed (Dec 14th)". Los Angeles Film School. December 13, 2011. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  43. ^ Dana Harris (January 14, 2002). "Students to package pix". Variety. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  44. ^ "Demon Slayer - First 8 Minutes". Spike.com. February 24, 2003. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  45. ^ NIX (July 2, 2003). "Demon Slayer (2003) Movie Review". BeyondHollywood.com. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  46. ^ William Conner (April 2003). "HD at American Film Market 2003" (PDF). High Def. Vol. 5, no. 2. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  47. ^ Andy Nguyen (September 14, 2011). "The Yellow Ribbon experience". U.S. Army. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  48. ^ Kyle Jaeger (February 11, 2014). "'Dallas Buyers Club,' 'Wolf of Wall Street' Writers Reveal Their Writing Processes, Biggest Challenges". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  49. ^ "7th Annual Screenwriters Panel". Calendar of Events. The Los Angeles Film School. February 7, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  50. ^ Urban Islandz Staff (August 27, 2012). "Bob Marley Receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award". Urban Islandz. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  51. ^ a b Molly Gray (November 9, 2012). "Veterans film festival features US soldiers' experiences on the battlefield and behind the lens". KPCC. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  52. ^ "Evolution Film Festival". Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  53. ^ Bob Strauss (October 29, 2013). "GI Film Festival brings military movie mind-set to Burbank". Pasadena Star-News. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  54. ^ Robin Menken (September 7, 2013). "6th Annual Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival". Cinema Without Borders. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  55. ^ Ibrahim, Antoine (September 30, 2010). "The Los Angeles Film School Presents and Hosts 3-D Film Festival" (Press release). Hollywood, CA: Marketwire. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  56. ^ "The Dream Factory Teams with the Los Angeles Film School, Sony and RealD to Present New 3D Film Festival" (Press release). Hollywood, CA: Creative Planet. October 30, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  57. ^ "Student Short Film Festival 2011". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. June 20, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  58. ^ Mark Rozeman (January 21, 2014). "Workaholics: High, Wry and Totally Fly". Paste Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  59. ^ Paul Tingen (June 2011). "Ari Levine & The Smeezingtons: Producing Bruno Mars". Sound on Sound. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  60. ^ "Martin Pensa, Editor". Dallas Buyers Club Cast and Crew. Focus Features. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  61. ^ "Film Editing / Dallas Buyers Club". American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  62. ^ Rebecca Reynolds (July 2013). "All Indie Family". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  63. ^ "Cast & Crew". Focus Features. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  64. ^ Paul Tingen (August 1, 2010). "Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Jaycen Joshua". Sound on Sound. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  65. ^ "/Film LA: Los Angeles Film School Sued For Misrepresenting Jobs at Apple Store; Trying To Move Hollywood Farmer's Market - /Film". Slashfilm. December 10, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  66. ^ "Lawsuit Claims Film School Overstates Job Opportunities". Backstage.com. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  67. ^ "L.A. Film and Recording School sued for bribing students into taking "creative positions" at Apple Store and Guitar Center". www.avclub.com. December 10, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  68. ^ "Los Angeles Film School May Not Get You That Hollywood Job You Always Wanted". Vulture. December 8, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  69. ^ "Courthouse News Service". www.courthousenews.com. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  70. ^ "LA Film School Can Hook You Up at the Apple Store, Brah". UPROXX. Retrieved January 30, 2016.

External links[edit]

34°05′56″N 118°19′42″W / 34.098818°N 118.328202°W / 34.098818; -118.328202