With over 13 Academy Award wins among its alumni, San Francisco State University has often ranked among the world’s top film schools. The Cinema Department in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts has recently benefited from a substantial donation which has been used to upgrade its production facilities and animation labs. New equipment including cameras, lenses, lighting rigs, and VR technology has also been invested in so that students have access to the latest gear. Some of the money has been spent on bringing new talent into the faculty too.
San Francisco State is the home of the Documentary Film Institute, an independent organization within the University that is dedicated to supporting non-fiction cinema by promoting documentaries and their filmmakers. The organization has strong ties to the Cinema Department at San Francisco State and has offered small grants to student filmmakers to produce independent documentary films and holds public events such as screenings and conferences. Notable alumni of San Francisco State University include writer, director and producer Steven Zaillian who won an Academy Award for his screenplay Schindler’s List, writer-director Lisa Cholodenko, and actress Annette Bening.