The applicant must have experience in filmmaking and/or screenwriting, and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In rare instances, exceptions may be made for applicants with equivalent professional experience and strong work samples.
Ideal candidates will successfully demonstrate to the Admissions Committee a willingness to prioritize their work as filmmakers during the study period at VCFA and advance their professional commitment to their craft.
Applicants may apply to the program using VCFA’s Online Application form or by downloading the application and mailing it in.
Application & Portfolio Requirements
Admission to the MFA in Film is based primarily on the quality of original work submitted. In order to be considered for admission to the program, all applicants must complete the following process:
Official college transcripts sent from each previously attended institution directly to: MFA in Film, Office of Admissions, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
- A completed and signed application form.
- A $75 non-refundable application fee (made payable to Vermont College of Fine Arts).
Submit the following materials via the VCFA online application service. Contact Jennifer Skinder, Admissions, for assistance. Please note that it is important to sign up for the service early in the process to identify and contact those providing letters of reference for your application.
The applicant should submit the following:
- Two letters of recommendation that address the applicant’s qualifications for graduate-level study in film. At least one letter should address your aptitude for independent learning.
- A CV including educational and relevant professional experiences; a list of finished films and/or screenplays; screenings and any prizes, honors, and/or grants related to your work; a concise list of relevant skills in which applicant has some competency (such as camera operation, lighting, editing); a list of any software related to the craft of which applicant has a working knowledge.
- A Filmography listing all film projects including title, year, medium, your role(s) in the work’s creation.
- Two to three (2-3) work samples that best reflect the applicant’s artistic vision. All samples must be the original work of the applicant.
For applicants seeking to focus on filmmaking:
Sample 1: A video for which the applicant played a major creative role, cued to a sample of up to 10 minutes. The entire work should be submitted. If it is longer than 10 minutes, it will be viewed at the committee’s discretion.
Sample 2: May follow the same parameters, or else be up to 20 pages from a completed short or feature screenplay. If longer than 20 pages, the entire screenplay should be submitted and may be read at the committee’s discretion.
For applicants seeking to focus on screenwriting:
Sample 1: Up to 20 pages of a completed screenplay. If longer than 20 pages, the entire screenplay should be submitted and may be read at the committee’s discretion.
Sample 2: Sample may follow the same parameters or else be a treatment of up to 10 pages, or a video sample as set forth above.
Applying as a screenwriter or a filmmaker will not exclude a student from studying all aspects of filmmaking.
All screenwriting samples should be in standard screenplay format.
Optional (for all samples): A synopsis of up to 100 words.
Optional (for all samples): A description of up to 100 words of the action leading up to the sample, if it is not from the beginning of the piece.
- A list of the work samples submitted. Include title, year, medium, your role(s) in the work’s creation (e.g., writer, director, cinematographer, editor, actor, etc.), and the excerpt that should be viewed or read, if not from the beginning.
- Introductory Narrative Statement.
Describe interest and activities leading to your decision to pursue a MFA in Film. Note your educational, professional, and technical background, and the form(s) of filmmaking you intend to explore at VCFA. (200-300 words)
- Essay 1
Define an element, or multiple elements, of your “voice” as a filmmaker/film writer. Discuss your approach to storytelling, and your interests in exploring form and/or structure in innovative or personally compelling ways. You may mention the films that inspire you, or other influences, and your thoughts on the effect(s) your films are intended to have on audiences. (200-300 words)
- Essay 2
Provide a critical analysis of one of your own films or scripts by discussing your creative intentions, the ways in which you achieved (or not) those intentions, any aesthetic or technical aspects you wish to call attention to, and any influences or references that helped inform your film. (500 – 700 words)
IMPORTANT: Only for Applicants to the April 2017 Residency.
How to apply: To apply for this scholarship opportunity, please write a 500-1000 word synopsis of your proposed thesis project accompanied by an appropriately detailed treatment and budget. Feel free to add supplemental information describing your research, the stage at which you are in pre-production or principal photography.
While the Admissions Committee puts a great deal of emphasis upon the applicant’s film work, professional experience, and academic preparation, the introductory narrative statement, as well as essays 1 and 2, gives the Committee an opportunity to hear directly from the applicant and to assess the applicant’s ability to bring substantive projects and styles to the learning environment at VCFA - and to bring those projects to successful conclusion.
It is expected that exploring and improving abilities, methodologies, and skills in a project–based approach to filmmaking will be the ideal candidate’s priority during the study period at VCFA and beyond. The Admissions Committee looks for a demonstrable level of this kind of commitment in the applicant’s previous work, as well as in his or her plans for the future.
VCFA does not require GRE scores.
Assistant Director of Admissions
- Priority Deadline: February 25, 2017
- Deadline: March 20, 2017
The Admissions Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis; applicants, therefore, may submit applications at any time before the deadline. It may take three to four weeks to review an application.
Once accepted, a student’s program officially begins on the first day of one of the following MFA in Film residencies.
- Spring 2017: April 22 - 29, 2017
For application materials
Vermont College of Fine Arts
36 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602