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Tuition

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*When paid in full, tuition will receive a $2000 reduction, bringing the program’s total tuition of $12,200 to $10,200 not including administrative fees.

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

The Film Industry
in South Dakota

The South Dakota Film Connection is by far the best film school in the state, providing on-the-job opportunities that no other film school can offer. Our secret is simple: we keep you out of the classroom, and instead we instruct you by placing you with a REAL FILM INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL for on-the-job training in a real film production company.  With our training program, you are more than a student: you are an apprentice (extern), learning one-on-one from your mentor and gaining valuable work experience on the set of real productions. What does your dream job in film look like? Do you want to be a screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, film producer or film director? Do you want to establish yourself in the South Dakota film scene, or do you want to take your film all the way to Hollywood?  Whatever your dreams and aspirations in film, the best way to achieve those dreams is to GET CONNECTED to the film industry.  The South Dakota Film Connection is the only film school that actually puts you in the heart of the action.

If you think there are no opportunities to connect to the film industry in South Dakota, think again.  This state offers a diversity of locations and a film-friendly attitude that draws many major productions to the state for on-location filming.

Here’s just a partial list of films that have been shot in South Dakota:
  • Dances with Wolves (1990)
  • Into the Wild (2007)
  • How the West Was Won (1962)
  • North By Northwest (1959)
  • Starship Troopers (1997)
  • Armageddon (1998)
  • Nebraska (2013)
This partial list doesn’t even include the ongoing need for local production talent, or the thriving independent film scene that draws filmmakers to numerous film festivals held in the state each year.  The fact is, you don’t have to move to Hollywood to start making connections, because there are plenty of connections to be made right in South Dakota.  By placing you as a working apprentice (extern) on-the-job, the Film Connection gives you access to those opportunities while the other film schools just stick you into classrooms. With our program, all your classes occur in the film production facility or on the set, with one-on-one instruction from your mentor.  You’ll have a structured curriculum and even homework to do, but the real power of your training comes from the real-world experience you receive, and the connections you’ll make.  We’ll pair you with a mentor who specializes in your area of interest (whether cinematography, editing, screenwriting, etc.), and your curriculum can be tailored to your needs.  By the time you graduate the program, if you prove yourself on the job, you’ll be well ahead of the other film school students when job openings occur, because you’ve been connected to the industry from the very beginning! A word of warning: your film school education won’t do much good if you take on a mountain of student debt in the process.  Other film schools charge such high tuition rates that you’re practically forced into taking on career-killing amounts of debt.  Not us. With the South Dakota Film Connection, you’ll pay about 75% LESS in tuition than with other film schools!  That way, you can skip the debt and concentrate on what’s really important: starting your film career. Are you ready to get serious about pursuing your dreams?  Then you need to go to a film school that will actually CONNECT you to the film industry, not just teach you about it.  Apprenticeships are available now!  APPLY FOR FREE 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 apprentice (extern) to a professional editor in a post-production facility.

Film Editing Details

View All Programs

Meet our Mentors

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

Mike Domgard Film Connection Mentor

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Mike Domgard Film Connection Mentor

Background

Credits: Blur Parties, Lincoln Promo Video, Inner Thoughts Request an Invitation

Aimee Schoof Film Connection Mentor

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Aimee Schoof Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Dean Baker Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Ryan Heppe Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Karl Koelling Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Keith Golinski Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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John Boros Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Edward Isin Film Connection Mentor

Background

FightZone Presents, Sacred Waters, The Wishing Stone, Dawg Fight Request an Invitation

Tina Miller Film Connection Mentor

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Tina Miller Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Dennis James Lee Film Connection 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 Film Connection Mentor

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Erik Angra Film Connection 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

Steven Schott Film Connection Mentor

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Steven Schott Film Connection Mentor

Background

Credits: Jeff Foxworthy Show, The Lost Calendar, The Final Season Request an Invitation

Daniel Sollinger Film Connection Mentor

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Daniel Sollinger Film Connection Mentor

Background

Producer: The Alphabet Killer, Six Ways to Sunday, Alone in the Dark II, In My Sleep, Girls Against Boys, Deadliest Warrior, Age of Kali Request an Invitation

Joe Van Wie Film Connection Mentor

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Joe Van Wie Film Connection Mentor

Background

Following a spirited and notorious adolescence in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Joe did a stretch at New York University and ended up spending nearly a decade as an accomplished part of the New York City’s lively film and TV industry. During this time, he racked up credits ranging from producing feature films premiering at international film festivals to directing and producing content for a variety of national cable television networks. His most recent film is the locally-shot award-winning feature Forged. Joe is an active board member on the boards of Dress for Success, The Scranton Club and the American Advertising Federation of NEPA. Joe is also a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the American Association of Political Consultants, and two time Pollie award winner. Request an Invitation

John Lux Film Connection Mentor

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John Lux Film Connection Mentor

Background

John Lux is the Chief Operating Officer for the IDEAS media and experience design company, which employs film program graduates nationwide. The projects his company handles stretch from Florida, to Europe, and as far as Shangai, China. Request an Invitation

Rebecca Ramon Film Connection Mentor

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Rebecca Ramon Film Connection Mentor

Background

Rebecca Ramon hails from Battle Creek, MI and is a proud Midwestern girl. She believes that’s exactly what keeps her down to earth and youthful. With a BA in Broadcasting & Cable production from Western Michigan University, and an MFA in Film Production from Chapman University, one of the top ten film schools in the nation, she’s definitely standing on her own two feet. Not only does Rebecca have a formal education, her mentor for post production was Paul Seydor, a member of ACE; the honorary society of motion picture editors. Paul edited movies such as “White Men Can’t Jump” and “This Christmas”. In other words, she has learned from the best, and has over ten years of experience, which ranges from pre-production to post-production in several mediums. Most importantly, she has the passion to share her knowledge as a mentor. Request an Invitation

Tabitha Hartbauer Film Connection Mentor

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Tabitha Hartbauer Film Connection Mentor

Background

The BSP editing facility sets the standard for editing in Colorado. Three video edit suites utilize “Premiere Pro CS6”, “Final Cut Pro” and “DaVinci” and project Panasonic High Definition 1080p images on to 110” Stewart Screens. Request an Invitation

Jason Hewitt Film Connection Mentor

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Jason Hewitt Film Connection Mentor

Background

Odd Thomas, 13 Sins, Blood Out, Left Behind, Season of the Witch, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, The Outsider Request an Invitation

Steve Riach Film Connection Mentor

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Steve Riach Film Connection Mentor

Background

Steve is an award winning producer, director and writer of over 250 films, documentaries, television shows and home video properties, including specials from the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, NBA and NCAA Championships, and college football bowl games. Request an Invitation

Avery Williams Film Connection Mentor

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Avery Williams Film Connection Mentor

Background

Avery O. Williams works steadily in both the film and theater worlds. He is the co-writer of the feature film Directing Eddie starring Valerie Perrine and Jade Barrymore, directed by Lawrence Kaldor which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and was voted Best Comedy at the 2001 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. He wrote and directed the industrial film for the City of Atalanta entitled Surviving Domestic Violence and he wrote and co-produced the film short The Willie Witch Projects, which was showcased at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival and is distributed by Trimark Pictures in their compilation entitled The Bogus Witch Project. Other short subject screenplays that have been made into films include Notes In A Minor Key, The Willie Witch Projects and The Chocolate Factory, Part 1. Request an Invitation

Harry Findysz Film Connection Mentor

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Harry Findysz Film Connection Mentor

Background

“The Film Connection Program uses real world people to mentor real world jobs.” -Harry Findysz, Tucson, Arizona, Southern Arizona Video Productions Producer of Live Television, Music Videos, Documentaries, Winner of Ashbury Best Music Documentary 2016 Linda Chorney The Cantina Request an Invitation

Greg Freeman Film Connection Mentor

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Greg Freeman Film Connection Mentor

Background

Greg Freeman is an award-winning Director of Photography with nearly two decades in news, sports, entertainment, special programming, documentaries, and commercials. Greg has directed projects for nearly every major television network including ABC, Discovery, ESPN, HBO, HGTV, NBC, PBS, and more. Request an Invitation

Tom Malloy Film Connection Mentor

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Tom Malloy Film Connection Mentor

Background

The Alphabet Killer, Love N’ Dancing, The Attic, Hero of the Underworld, Law & Order: SVU Request an Invitation

Jason Jackson Film Connection Mentor

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Jason Jackson Film Connection Mentor

Background

Past productions include LMN’s Monstresses; Investigation Discovery’s Cuff Me If You Can; America’s Most Haunted and UFO’s Crashed my Vacation; America’s Most Secret and I Faked My Own Death for Discovery; National Geographic’s 42 Ways to Kill Hitler and Don’t Try This At Home; Vampire Secrets and Ancient Ink for The History Channel; Las Vegas Bikers for truTV; Weather Channel’s Full Force Nature; True Confessions for WE-TV as well as Beyond Death and Investigative Reports for A&E. Request an Invitation

Matthew Temple Film Connection Mentor

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Matthew Temple Film Connection Mentor

Background

“All aspects of filmmaking are primarily experiential, so a program like this one gives the students what they need most- the opportunity to DO.” — Matthew Temple, Producer of “The Advocate” and Universal’s “Dragon Nest: Warriors’ Dawn” Matthew Temple has long stood at the crossroads of art and social action–his work and passion split between telling stories and participating in the creation of new paradigms wherein new stories for the future can be created. As a storyteller, he works as a screenwriter, director, producer and actor.  As a social entrepreneur, he is the founder and president of the non-profit WeStrive, where he is the executive director of the Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival. Temple is currently VP of Production and Development for Mili Pictures Worldwide. Request an Invitation

Nick Kielhold Film Connection Mentor

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Nick Kielhold Film Connection Mentor

Background

Nick is your basic military brat. Except for the fact that neither of his parents were actually in the military. But, like many military families, his family moved several times during his youth, living in Omaha, Chicago, and Minneapolis among other places. And although he wasn’t living on military bases, he developed a deep interest in History, and all things military. Ask him about the Battle of Tarawa in 1943, and you may just get an entire lesson on the Pacific Theater of World War II. When he’s not painting tanks for his war game simulations, Nick works here. He shoots video. He edits video. He talks about World War II. A lot. Anyone who comes into contact with Nick will become much better versed in the history of mankind and all the wars it has produced over the years. Nick provided 50% of the formula that founded Full Effect Productions over 18 years ago, and has played a vital role in its success. Nick is a 1987 graduate of the University of South Dakota, and his previous experience includes working at a local TV station as Commercial Videographer/Producer. Not taking a cue from his parents, Nick has decided to keep his family in one city, and has called Sioux City, Iowa home since 1988. He has a wife of 29 years and an adult son and daughter. In his free time, Nick can be found studiously painting small military ships, tanks and airplanes. He has amassed large numbers of these items that comprise entire military units used for battles at the MAGECON gaming convention. He’s a film buff who’s recently installed home theater has him positively giddy, and hardly ever seeing daylight. Request an Invitation

Logan Hale Film Connection Mentor

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Logan Hale Film Connection Mentor

Background

Logan is a lifelong filmmaker. With 8 years of experience in Event and Experiential Marketing, Logan has a passion for communicating the brand message and essence with artistic quality and creativity. Request an Invitation

Megan Kennedy Film Connection Mentor

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Megan Kennedy Film Connection Mentor

Background

Megan is an award-winning photographer and videographer with over 10 years of video production experience, from directing and editing national PSA campaigns to producing feature-length documentaries. Request an Invitation

Calix Lewis Reneau Film Connection Mentor

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Calix Lewis Reneau Film Connection Mentor

Background

Calix Lewis Reneau is a producer and writer, known for An Even Worse Joke (2013), Canyon Road (2013) and My Cousin’s Ghetto Wedding (2016). Request an Invitation

Sandy Stern Film Connection Mentor

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Sandy Stern Film Connection Mentor

Background

Producer, Being John Malcovich, Saved!, Velvet Goldmine, Pump Up the Volume, Thirteen Conversations about One Thing, Equinox, Red Hot Request an Invitation

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“I learned more about the history of film today and how people used to film videos and movies and clips with still photography. I met some more filmmakers and editors who were really nice and fun to be around”
Day 1

Brett Wilson, San Diego, CA Majored in Editing / Production

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
$12,200 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

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

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