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The Film Industry
in Virginia

Whether you want to be a cinematographer, film editor, director or producer; whether you want to write screenplays or work on the set; whether you want to do local production work in your home town or take your dream all the way to Hollywood; the Virginia Film Connection is your gateway to the film industry.  We’re a film school unlike any other, because with our program, you won’t spend a single day in a college or trade school classroom. Instead, you’ll be placed as a working apprentice (extern) in a real film production company, and paired with an actual film professional who teaches you one-on-one.  All your classes happen on-the-job and on the set, where you gain valuable work experience and make real industry connections that you could never gain in a film school classroom.

Here’s the great part: you don’t have to migrate to Los Angeles and get lost in the throng of other wannabe filmmakers in order to get your start in the film industry.  Thanks to a diversity of scenery and generous incentives offered by the state, Virginia has a large of amount of ongoing film activity, which means you can get connected to the industry right here! 

Just look at this partial list of major film and television productions that have done location filming in Virginia:

  • War of the Worlds (2005)
  • Lincoln (2012)
  • Dirty Dancing (1987)
  • Minority Report (2002)
  • Cold Mountain (2003)
  • The Recruit (2003)
  • Evan Almighty (2007)
  • What About Bob? (1991)
  • Argo (2012)
  • Captain Phillips (2013)
  • John Adams (HBO Mini-series, 2008)
  • TURN (AMC TV series, 2014)

Between these and other major productions coming into Virginia, plus the independent film scene and ongoing local productions, there are more than enough opportunities to plug in to the film industry in Virginia—but it won’t happen if you’re stuck in a classroom.  You HAVE to be where the action is happening—and that’s exactly where the Virginia Film Connection puts you.  From Roanoke to Richmond, from Charlottesville to Portsmouth, and everywhere in between, we have real film professionals ready and waiting to teach you the ropes!

The beauty of our film school is that the structured curriculum can be tailored to your needs and interests.  We’ll pair you with a professional who specializes in your area of interest in film, whether screenwriting, cinematography, film editing, directing, etc.  You’ll get plenty of hands-on experience working with your mentor on-the-job, and you’ll make lots of great connections along the way that can further your career.  And if your ultimate dream is to break into Hollywood to make your own films—we’ve got you covered there, too.  Your mentor will guide you through the development of your own film idea from concept to completion—and when you’re ready, we’ll set up the opportunity for you to pitch your film in Los Angeles to real film industry executives!  (We told you—we’re your gateway to the film industry!)

Of course, any film education you receive is worthless if you graduate with so much student debt that you can’t even get your career started.  This is an inherent danger with other film schools and their ridiculous tuition rates—but not with us.  We don’t want you getting buried in debt—we want you to succeed in your career.  So we keep our tuition rates fair and manageable, roughly 75 PERCENT LESS than our competitors charge, so you can graduate with little or no student debt and get started on your film career.

You’re now at a crossroads.  You can spend a lot of money to sit in a classroom at some other film school, graduate with a meaningless degree and a lot of debt, and hope for the best; OR you can go to the only film school that puts you in the middle of the action from your very first day of training, and get a real leg up on your new film career, for a fraction of the cost.  If you’re serious about a career in film, you owe it to yourself to look at the Virginia Film Connection. APPLY NOW FOR FREE, and we’ll give you the details. 

Programs

You will study inside a real film production company in your city as you develop your movie idea with a legendary to filmmaker. Then you will fly to Los Angeles or New York to pitch your idea to an executive that could buy or get your movie idea made.

Director / Producer / Screenwriter Details

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 that starts the ball rolling down the hill.

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, without doubt, much more than that. He or she is also a qualified storyteller of the highest order.

Film Editing Details

The cinematographer is literally the set ‘magician.’ DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry to help create the needed light, while at the same time also having the keen sensibility to shape the light for the greatest artistic effect.

Cinematography Details

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Meet our Faculty

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

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.

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Matt Jeppsen Film Connection Mentor

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Matt Jeppsen Film Connection Mentor

Background

The Flying Dutchman, The Launch, Less Cowbell, One in a Million

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ryan Kindahl Film Connection Mentor

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Ryan Kindahl Film Connection Mentor

Background

Documentaries, Music Videos, Commercials

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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.

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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).

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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

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Rob Helmstetter Film Connection Mentor

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Rob Helmstetter Film Connection Mentor

Background

Rob has experience with major corporate ad agencies Publicis, Medicus, Digitas based in New York and Chicago. He has always been on the bleeding edge of technology and believes that services should be simple for the viewers.

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Michael Van Orden Film Connection Mentor

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Michael Van Orden Film Connection Mentor

Background

Credits: Being Doug, Called to Serve, The Washing, Spit

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Albert Dabah Film Connection Mentor

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Albert Dabah Film Connection Mentor

Background

Albert has been in the video production business for thirty-three years, owning and running Simba Productions in New York City.

Clients: CNN, HBO, Apple

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Derek Koen Film Connection Mentor

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Derek Koen Film Connection Mentor

Background

Washington Koen Media Productions is a full-service media production company specializing in video productions, streaming video solutions, presentations and audio/visual support for organizations both large and small. Whether corporate video presentations, documentaries, live streaming of meetings, or web streaming solutions, our highly-skilled and creative team- with over 20 years of combined experience – using today's latest tools and technology, can produce quality results for your company

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Brian Glazen Film Connection Mentor

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Brian Glazen Film Connection Mentor

Background

In 2013, Brian Glazen co-produced an independent film called Fishing Without Nets. This film went on to win for Best Direction at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and recently sold to Twentieth Century Fox for distribution to theaters nation wide.

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Laura Scheiner Film Connection Mentor

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Laura Scheiner Film Connection Mentor

Background

Seasoned film development executive, writer and script consultant with exceptional story development and script analysis skills. As a development executive I’m particularly adept at pinpointing the problems in a script and coming up with creative solutions. I’m a passionate collaborator who creates a fertile environment where writers can bloom and scripts can meet their potential.

As a writer for hire I pride myself as bringing my story sense, knowledge, talent and unbridled imagination to the table in order to bring the producer’s vision to life.

As a storyteller I always aim to entertain, engage, surprise, move and provoke.

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Craig Constant Film Connection Mentor

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Craig Constant Film Connection Mentor

Background

Craig Constant is an Executive Producer at Constant66 Films. After leaving the Marine Corps, he worked as a Photojournalist/Editor for the Fox News Channel for close to seven years. Since then, he’s worked as a Sound Technician, Production Sound Mixer, Camera Operator and Director of Photography.

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Zef Cota Film Connection Mentor

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Zef Cota Film Connection Mentor

Background

Alphabet City Films is a film production company based in New York City, NY. We are a collective of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, and other talented filmmakers. We have created many short films, and recently produced our first feature length film: The Trouble.

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Jim DeGroot Film Connection Mentor

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Jim DeGroot Film Connection Mentor

Background

Clients: Green Bay Packers, Disney, National Guard, Doritos, ABC World News, Good Morning America, St. Joseph’s Medical Centers, Homeland Security

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Bob Kelley Film Connection Mentor

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Bob Kelley Film Connection Mentor

Background

Clients: Discovery Canada, PBS, UCDavis, Associated Press, Fox News, Blackstone Media, NBC Universal

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Marc Silber Film Connection Mentor

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Marc Silber Film Connection Mentor

Background

With a background in visual media, director Marc Silber has interviewed scores of entrepreneurs, CEOs and creative professionals over the years. His interview series has received hearty praise and has helped countless business leaders and artists tell their story.

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Craig Roessler Film Connection Mentor

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Craig Roessler Film Connection Mentor

Background

A film and television studio executive and producer for over twenty years, Craig has directly overseen, managed, and/or produced 25 films and seven network series with budgets totaling over $500 million. 

Craig is known for his project-management skills, having close working relationships with talent and directors, producing big looking, studio-quality content on tight budgets, quickly providing workable solutions for development and production issues, and completing projects on time, on budget.

As Senior Vice President of Production, Programming and Creative Affairs for MGM Television Worldwide Inc., Craig had direct oversight of all content development, and oversaw pre-production, production, post-production, while working with business & legal affairs, marketing, and promotion. His MGM product was nominated for 10 Emmy awards and numerous others including DGA, Golden Globes, PGA and SAG awards. 

He oversaw studio projects such as the series Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: Universe, Dead Like Me, and The L Word, as well as Showtime Movies Inherit the Wind, Twelve Angry Men, In the Time of the Butterflies, That Championship Season, and Rocky Marciano, which opened the Monte Carlo Film Festival. Craig has worked with a wide range of talent, from well-established actors and directors to breaking new talent. 

Craig grew up in Los Angeles and Colorado, working summers on ranches breaking and training western saddle horses. He attended Columbia University, working his way through school as an actor on NBC’s soap opera “Another World,” while learning production work skills for quick, quality content.

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Kel Thompson Film Connection Mentor

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Kel Thompson Film Connection Mentor

Background

America’s Production Company was established in 2005 by Kel Thompson who has degrees in photography & advertising from Texas State University. Kel is also a graduate of the Palm Beach Film School. Kel was first published in photography at 17 years old in TX. Kel worked for News24Houston as their first helicopter videographer, before being hired by a major event production company in Florida. Two years later he established America’s Production Company after learning the ropes in photo, video, audio and event production.

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Sebastian Triscari Film Connection Mentor

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Sebastian Triscari Film Connection Mentor

Background

“Young people are the future of this industry. Mentorship programs like The Film Connection are the most efficient and effective ways for anyone who has a passion to gain the information and experience necessary to be successful!”

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Mitch Kaufman Film Connection Mentor

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Mitch Kaufman Film Connection Mentor

Background

A native of Atlantic Beach, Mitch Kaufmann has been offering video services to area businesses and residents since 1984. He started Atlantic Video Productions by shooting weddings, business seminars, and sporting events.

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Eero Johnson Film Connection Mentor

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Eero Johnson Film Connection Mentor

Background

“I’m Eero Johnson. I’m a film and video producer living in Bellingham, Washington. For over ten years I’ve been creating commercials, corporate videos, web videos, sales DVD’s, music videos … whatever it takes to get your message to your audience. I have a great group of clients and I love what I do.”

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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 unique mentor-style education is far more cost-effective than trade schools or traditional colleges and on average, requires less financing (based on national averages). Compare the true costs of education.

 

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.

What is the Next Step?

We get it. This isn’t your normal four-year college or trade school. We’re different, even innovative and you need to understand more before you apply. Here’s how you can get more info:


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