About CFS


What has become the Colorado Film School at the Community College of Aurora started as a “Camera-ready” program initiated by the Colorado Film Commission and taken up by Red Rocks Community College in the early 1990’s.  A few courses in the Theater department grew into the Film Video Technology program at Red Rocks headed-up by Frederic Lahey.
Lahey was recruited by Mark Heckler, founding Dean of the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, to create a film program for CAM at UCD.  They created a “2+2” program under RRCC and UCD with a common curriculum, sharing facilities, equipment, staff and faculty with Lahey as the Director of the program for both institutions.  From 1998-2008 the joint program offered Certificates, AGS and BFA degrees in Film/Video.
At the time of the UCD/RRCC merger (1998), the program moved to the Higher Education Advanced Technology (HEAT) campus at the former Lowry Airforce Base. The Associates side of the program migrated from Red Rocks to the Community College of Aurora, which already had a number of programs situated at the Lowry campus, around 2001.
In 2008, as Heckler moved on to become the President of Valparaiso University, there was an institutional parting of the ways due to the differing focus of the two programs.
Colorado Film School may just be as they claim, “The finest film school in the western states region.”

– ICG magazine

In 2009-2010 the CFS Program Director worked with the Dean of the College for Professional Studies at Regis to develop a 3 + 1 BFA program housed at Lowry.  When new administration came into Regis at both the College and University level, the BFA program was cut due to Regis financial concerns in 2013.
CFS now offers 48 credit Certificates and 75 credit Associate of Applied Sciences degrees in the following disciplines: Acting/Directing, Writing/Directing, Writing/Producing, Screenwriting, Cinematography, and Post Production.
Colorado Film School was identified among the top regional film schools in the US by ICG (International Cinematographers Guild) Magazine in 2009, ranked by The Hollywood Reporter as among the top 25 film schools in the world in 2011, and among the top 25 film schools in the US by the Hollywood Reporter in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  In 2015 CFS was also picked as a top US film school by Variety and Backstage.


The mission of the Colorado Film School is three-fold:

1. The Colorado Film School is dedicated to pre-professional training of students planning careers in the film and video industries. It focuses on the intersection of art, technology and commerce as it relates to narrative audio/video techniques. An educational philosophy that encourages industry-engaged projects and hands-on instructional methods underlies the program.
Students who complete the program have a professional level portfolio and are qualified to either work anywhere in the field of their chosen emphasis or continue their education in a graduate program.
2. The Colorado Film School acts as a catalyst for local film and video production, challenging, enabling, and stimulating growth through original production, state-of-the-art training and through development of a strong, diverse pool of Colorado residents who are skilled in all aspects of the film and video industries.
3. The Colorado Film School aims to serve as an industry-wide resource for research and development in production by expanding its boundaries of technology and creative expression, and by exploring new models for funding and distributing film and video production.