Although Columbia University does not currently offer undergraduate degrees, their MFA program is well renowned within the art world. Many Colombia alumni have gone on to have very illustrious careers in the film industry with past students having won a combined total of 39 Academy awards. Some noteworthy examples include directors Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men), and screenwriters Howard Koch (Casablanca) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve). Traditionally Columbia University have reputation of having a strong focus on screenwriting and the craft of storytelling, but more recently the Ivy League institution have boosted their emphasis towards the production side of film education.
They have invested heavily in new equipment including state of the art film cameras and lenses which are made available to students at their production center. This balance between training filmmakers in both disciplines of storytelling and production technics has led to a mix of alumni who have succeeded in blockbuster films and those that fair well on the festival circuits. Simon Kinburg is one such alumnus that went on to produce the X-Men franchise, while Rob Richert co-wrote The Last Black Man in San Francisco which was met with much critical acclaim at the 2019’s Sundance Film Festival.