This is your
Champaign / Springfield Classroom

Real filmmaking education. Real film industry connections.
Schedule a Tour

Visit a Film Production Company
In Champaign / Springfield

Get started with a tour of an Illinois externship location. Or call us for more information at 800-295-4433.


Please fill out the following information, and Admissions will contact you:

* Not all programs are available in every state. Consult an Admissions Representative to learn more.

Programs

In the Film Connection for Film Production & Editing program, you will study directing, producing and screenwriting inside a real film production company in your city as you develop your movie idea with a professional filmmaker. Then, upon meeting the necessary requirements, you will be given the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles or New York and pitch your film idea to an executive who could buy or get your movie made.

Film Production & Editing Details

In the Film Connection for Cinematography program, you will learn the techniques involved in capturing a moving image and will start to develop “the eye of the DP.” The cinematographer is literally the set ‘magician.’ DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry required to get the needed shots and to shape light to achieve the director’s desired artistic effect.

Cinematography Details

Workshops

The screenwriter is the person who creates, takes, or adapts an idea and formulates a screenplay. Without the writer, there would be no movie. Period. He or she is the starting gate. He or she is the person who gets the ball rolling down the hill.
 
In the Film Connection for Screenwriting workshop, you will learn the elements that make for a “Killer Script” by developing and writing your own feature length screenplay under the direction and mentorship of a working professional screenwriter.

Screenwriting Details

In many ways the film editor is the most misunderstood of all film professionals. Often considered just a film technician, a good editor is so much more than that. He or she is also a qualified storyteller of the highest order.
 
In the Film Connection for Film Editing workshop, you will develop your knowledge of storytelling and screenplay structure as the foundational blueprint of a film. You will also develop your technical understanding of editing as an extern to a professional editor in a post-production facility.

Film Editing Details

View All Programs

Champaign / Springfield

Film Connection Locations

Our "Near Me" Champaign / Springfield Filmmaker Locations

  • Decatur
  • Ridgewood
  • Ayrshire
  • Mayfair
  • Glenn Park
  • Stonegate
  • Lincolnshire
  • Camelot
  • West End
  • Ravina Park
  • Lakeview
  • Cresthaven
  • Westchester
  • Hawthorne Place
  • Near South
  • Oak Ridge
  • Enos Park
  • Riverton
  • buffalo
  • Mechanicsburg
  • Harristown
  • Forsyth
  • Argenta
  • Cisco
Schedule a Tour

An Immersive
Film Education

From directing to producing to editing and screenwriting, our externship-based, mentor-taught programs avoid the unnecessary costs and unrelated requirements of ordinary film schools and programs. Work directly with an accomplished industry filmmaker at a film production company.

Tuition
Comparison

Film Connection’s mentor styled education is a cost-effective approach to hands-on, curriculum backed education in film production and editing and cinematography.

 

Learn More About Tuition

 

View BBB A Rating for Film Connection Film Institute
$12,750** Tuition
$0* Loan Interest

Trade
School

$44,000 Tuition
$61,000 Loan Interest

2-Year
Junior College

$22,000 Tuition
$20,500 Loan Interest

4-Year
Traditional College

$88,000 Tuition
$122,000 Loan Interest

**Total cost varies by program
*Average Accrued Interest Charges
Sources: Sallie Mae student loan calculator - Nerd Wallet - Best Value Schools - Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

About Our Champaign / Springfield Film School Alternative

Our fully-immersive curriculum
covers all of the following:

Building Relationships

Learn filmmaking in the real world with the Film Connection’s mentored externship-based approach. We make building relationships an integral part of what we do.

Hardware and Equipment

Film Connection mentors work in the real world where the competition is fierce and having the right gear matters. As an extern you have access to the latest hardware and tools of the trade.

On-Set Etiquette

Knowing how to handle yourself on the set is a prerequisite for any successful career in filmmaking. Your mentor will guide you through proper etiquette during real film shoots.

Making Movies

We believe the whole point of going to any film school or certificate program should be to learn how to make movies—especially YOUR movie. Our Film Production & Editing curriculum is designed around this concept, from start to finish.

What is the Next Step?

We get it. This isn’t your normal four-year college requiring coursework not associated with your area of interest. We are a post-secondary institution or trade school that's different in its approach. Here's how you can get more info:


Request Information Externship Location Call Admissions

Meet our Mentors

Why learn from teachers when you can learn from the professionals?

Mike Domgard Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Mike Domgard Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Credits: Blur Parties, Lincoln Promo Video, Inner Thoughts

Request an Invitation

Aimee Schoof Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Aimee Schoof Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Aimee Schoof is an entertainment executive, producer, and co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films with Isen Robbins. She has produced more than 30 feature films that have premiered either at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Toronto, Venice, New Directors/New Films, and Berlin.

Request an Invitation

Dean Baker Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Dean Baker Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Projects range from Multi-camera Live Webcasting to National TV Ads for Good Neighbor Pharmacies, Regulator Boats, and Product launches airing on Lifetime, The Learning Channel and The Golf Channel.

Request an Invitation

Ryan Heppe Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Ryan Heppe Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

During his tenure at CCH, Heppe was hired by legendary producer David Foster (The Getaway, Short Circuit, The Mask of Zorro) and quickly climbed to the position of Head of Development where he became involved with Foster’s productions: Collateral Damage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hart’s War starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell, and The Core starring Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank.

As a hyphenate Producer/Director/Writer/Actor, some of Heppe’s work includes: Production of the docu-drama The Magic Was In The Music, a remake of Short Circuit, adaptations of the 80’s television mini-series V and cop series T.J. Hooker, among others. As an actor, he’s starred in such stage productions as You Can’t Take It With You, Life On The Bowery, Dracula and Picnic at Hanging Rock – several of which he directed.

Request an Invitation

Karl Koelling Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Karl Koelling Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

I began TAPROOT with a passion to create inspiring film and video content that would move people and maybe even make the world a little bit better place. There are projects that TAPROOT pursues and develops based on our interests, but I’m a firm believer that we all have our callings, and that collectively we can have the biggest impact. As a result, TAPROOT partners with businesses, agencies, and other organizations that are doing important work, helping them tell their stories and share their ideas through cinematic filmmaking.

Our team has a multi-disciplinary background that enables us to understand and compellingly translate your messages and ideas to the visual medium of film and video, and we create and execute projects of varying scale from start to finish. I run TAPROOT and provide direction on all our projects, which include: story-based branded content, television commercials, web based video of all sorts, and film series.

If you care about how you’re presenting your work to the world and want to do so in an honest, inspiring manner – we’d make a good match.

Request an Invitation

Keith Golinski Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Keith Golinski Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Keith Golinski of Fulvew Productions is a Director of Photography, editor and producer. He’s best known for his work on America’s Most Haunted (2013), Talking Dead (2005), and An Ordinary Killer (2003).

Request an Invitation

John Boros Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

John Boros Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

“The captain and anchor of our ship, guiding his crew with a father’s compassion and an uncle’s knack for mischief.”

Credits; The Fly, EMI Orientation

Request an Invitation

Edward Isin Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Edward Isin Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

FightZone Presents, Sacred Waters, The Wishing Stone, Dawg Fight

Request an Invitation

Tina Miller Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Tina Miller Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Storytelling through video, aided by full-service in house production and post capabilities. Many of our pieces use documentary technique or a high-energy concept or brand approach.

Request an Invitation

Dennis James Lee Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Dennis James Lee Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Credits: Hawaii Five-0, Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil, Dragon Wars: D-War, Soap Girl, Secret of the Five Fingers

Request an Invitation

Erik Angra Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Read Profile

Erik Angra Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

UFC 111 fight – Cinematographer, Animal Planet – Most Outrageous – 3 documentaries – EA Sports international commercials Kyrie Irving – NBC – HBO – Full flight features – Very astute cinematographer – Worked on film “21” – Edited TV series “Folk Lorist” – Extreme Makeover – AD Bo Burnham – International campaigns for Coca Cola

Request an Invitation

View Full List

Champaign / Springfield News

Should You Storyboard?

Learn More

Film Connection student Arronn Lepperman Learns the Craft of Screenwriting

Learn More

Location Management: How Camera and Location Departments Work Together

Learn More

What Do To When Art Institute Closes

Learn More

Looking In Weird Places

Learn More

The Upside of Side Projects

Learn More

Which Books are Good to Adapt?

Learn More

Why Manners Matter in Music, Film, and TV

Learn More

The Film Scene in Champaign / Springfield

The Champaign / Springfield, Illinois Film Connection Film School Alternative

Welcome to the future of filmmaking. We’re Champaign and Springfield-Decatur Film Connection. Production companies that have worked on both narrative and documentary films have teamed up with us to provide mentors that will help get your career off the ground by providing you with studio or on location experience.

There are two paths you can take. The first is our 6-month behind the scenes track that pairs you up with mentors who work in the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur corridor.

The second, more comprehensive, path is our 8-month directors track. More mentors and more opportunities for you! No film program anywhere offers you a chance to see your project come alive before your very eyes and pitch it to someone who can make it happen. No one except the Film Connection.

To APPLY for our Champaign-Springfield-Decatur Film School, click here.

The cities of Champaign, Decatur and Springfield are located a short distance from each other along a stretch of Interstate 72 in central Illinois. Springfield is the state capital of Illinois, and the historical place where Abraham Lincoln began his political career. The combined population of the three cities exceeds 200,000 people, and several production companies call this area home. The Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area is within driving distance of several major cities, including Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis, making it a good central hub for diverse filming locations. Illinois is a film-friendly state, offering tax incentives up to 30 percent for films shot in the state, and several major film festivals are held annually in the region. The Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area makes a surprising alternative location if you want a career as a film director, film producer, screenwriter, film editor or cameraperson–but would rather not relocate to New York or L.A.  

Many major movies, commercials, TV shows and documentaries are filmed in Illinois. Among the known films that have shot in the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area and surrounding regions are Mission: Impossible, The Informant, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, and the Jimmy Stewart classic film Call Northside 777. The Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area has also seen filming for television episodes and documentaries, including the Great American Road Trip, Lincoln's Last Night, and the documentaries Route 66 Road Trip and Lincoln.

FILM CONNECTION Film School of Champaign-Springfield-Decatur will put you in the heart of this production activity by hooking you up with a working film or television professional, who becomes your personal instructor and mentor.  You'll gain valuable hands-on experience on real film and video shoots, making valuable industry connections along the way.  In fact, over 70 percent of our graduates get hired, many before they even graduate. FILM CONNECTION can help you realize your dreams; let us show you how. 

To APPLY click here.

Connections Matter

Learn From Industry Pros

The Film Connection film school alternative is endorsed by filmmakers who are making movies, maybe even the movies you love.

Professionals in the film business—including famous producers, screenwriters and directors—endorse Film Connection’s programs for one simple reason: they know our immersive hands-on method works.

Mark Kohn

Marc is an accomplished executive with a consistent record of managing costs, measuring progress with metrics and creating operational efficiencies. He’s a thoughtful and enthusiastic professional possessing the ability to create a vision, gain executive alignment and effectively lead dynamic high performance teams for success.

Learn More

Jason Hewitt

Jason Hewitt, a native of Louisiana, left the technology industry to join the film and television industry. Hewitt was an early mover in the Internet economy, founding the website creation and marketing management company Planet Symphony in 1994.

Learn More

David Fuhrer

David’s stage and studio clients include: Bravo, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, Sex & The City, American Cancer Society, Clairol, Law & Order – Criminal Intent, Amazon, Verizon, VH1, The History Channel, MTV, Director’s Guild of America and many many more.

Learn More

ICM Partners

and RRF have donated to the Hide & Seek Foundation’s SOAR (Support of Accelerated Research).

Learn More

Carl Millender

Carl Millender born in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 5, 1970 is a pioneer in the film and television industry. In 1990 Carl Millender became a cultural consultant for NBC’s new programs, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-air”, “Seinfeld”…

Learn More

Brian Glazen

Equal parts MacGyver, Steven Spielberg and Gandhi, Brian has ideas. Ideas about marketing, ideas about communication and ideas about fixing just about anything that might be broken. When he’s not sharing his ideas with clients you can usually find him fixing things at his own home or eagerly searching for things that may need fixing…

Learn More

Sam Borowski

“Film Connection truly is the ‘Film School of Hard Knocks.’ It helps new students to gain experience and network and teaches one thing I always preach to young filmmakers: practicality. It gives new students and would-be filmmakers, writers and editors, a chance to connect personally with their mentors.”

Learn More

Alex Keledjian

Producer of Project Greenlight

Learn More

Richard Berg

Richard Berg is an Art Director’s Guild and Emmy nominated Production Designer. He is responsible for the Production Design of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Eleventh Hour, Miami Medical, Chase and Modern Family. Berg is also an architect.

Learn More

Jeff Kushon

Great program. I’m proud to be a part of it.” Jeff has worked on over 200 film sets and has been a Set Decorator on hit movies, “Dude Where’s My Car”, “Nurse Betty”, “Blade 2”, “Beautiful”, “She’s All That” as well as TV shows “Modern Family”, “Trust Me” and “Miami Medical”.

Learn More

Luis Estrada

“Our first extern in this program was put right in the middle of the action and it was amazing how he was able to learn by doing. This Film Connection is great for people with a sincere interest in this field. Our extern turned out to be a reliable resource and we hope his experience […]

Learn More

Matt Pellowski

“Being paired with working professionals and established companies allows up-and-coming artists to learn on the job, introduces them to the realities of film production, and helps them acquire the tools needed to become successful. Two of our current staff are graduates of the Film Connection.”

Learn More

View Full List

Film Connection provides unique, mentor-based programs that are affordable, so you can stay in control of your finances.

New! Finance your education with Climb.
Get approved in minutes with no impact to your credit score.