At Film Connection Film School in Traverse City, Michigan, we give you what overpriced overhyped big-city film programs don’t: mentorships with local filmmaking professionals. When you’re looking for a job in entertainment, degrees matter way less than real-world experience. Wouldn’t you rather spend six months under the tutelage of someone who works regularly in the industry instead of some stuffy classroom listening to a professor who’s never even made a movie? Wouldn’t you rather have contacts that you can communicate with over time to develop your network? We offer this and more in two programs.

The first is a 6-month program for those who want to learn what happens behind the scenes. Our signature feature, professional mentorship, will find you working professionals in your area of concentration. The second track is for those of you who want to be the kind of visionary director that steers a project from its inception. Over eight months, you will get your shot to write, direct, and edit your project with your local mentors. Then you’ll coordinate with your dream mentors in Los Angeles and visit them (on us, of course) en route to pitching your idea before an industry executive. This is the stuff that people dream about and it’s all yours.

Located along Lake Michigan on the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula, Traverse City is a town of about 14,000 people. Although essentially a small town in a rural setting, Traverse City has quite a wide reach. It is the major center of commerce for most of northwest Michigan, a major hub for tourism, and the largest producer of tart cherries in America. Over a half-million people turn out annually for Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival held every July. About 50 miles to the south lies the town of Cadillac, with a population of about 10,000 people and a reputation for natural beauty, set in an area of scenic forests and lakes great for location filming.

Meet Our Mentors

Adam Weber

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Daniel Lir

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Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs

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Alejandra Huerta

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Daniela Larsen

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In terms of media and film, the reach of the Traverse City and Cadillac area is also wide; the Traverse City, Cadillac, Sault Ste. Marie DMA is not the most populous DMA in the nation but is the largest single DMA in terms of land area. Additionally, this region is home to the annual Traverse City Film Festival, founded by filmmaker Michael Moore, attracting plenty of filmmakers to the area each year. Add to that one of the most generous tax incentive packages offered anywhere, thanks to the State of Michigan, and you have a wonderful alternative location for learning film production, film directing, or film editing, without having to relocate elsewhere.

Movies, commercials, TV shows, and documentaries are filmed all over Michigan on a regular basis. Some of the films that have done location shooting in the Traverse City-Cadillac area and surrounding regions include The Scrapper, Die Hard 2, Locked Away, Somewhere in Time, and Anatomy of a Murder, to name a few.

FILM CONNECTION OF Traverse City and Cadillac pairs you with a working film or television professional who serves as your personal mentor and instructor during our inexpensive six-month program. Along the way, you’ll gain valuable hands-on experience on real film and video shoots, and you’ll make strategic industry connections that can lead to permanent jobs. Come find out why many of our graduates get hired!

Learn the skills you need to take your idea from paper to the big screen.

Real world film education by filmmakers for filmmakers, optimized for today!


Success stories

Since he started his extern program with Uptone Pictures in Raleigh, NC, Grant Gilbert has been taking…


Please take the time to read the experiences of one of our own, Korey Hehn of Pineville, OR…


The Film Connection program provided me with an opportunity to "see it and believe it"!…


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