Our story: 25 years of the Los Angeles Film School

Los Angeles Film School - 25 Years

The milestones. The moments. The magic.

25 years. Wow.

You know what they say: time flies.

And it’s been a ride.

But an excitement-filled rollercoaster of a ride, one that all started with a vision:
To inspire young minds to find their own creative voice, in a place they could absorb the inner-workings of the entertainment industry and learn alongside like-minded students from all walks of life.

A community.

Right in the heart of Hollywood.

And now 25 years later, here we are. A school for future entertainment industry students with real-world facilities, a wide range of courses and alumni who have taken the entertainment world by storm.

Join us, as we take a look back over the years.

  • 1999


    The L.A. Film School opens.

    Back to where it all began.

    Outgrowing our original headquarters on Wilshire Blvd, we packed up and moved to our dream location: the former RCA building on Sunset Blvd.

    A remodel was swiftly kicked into motion, following a groundbreaking ceremony with a special guest speaker: film director, Oliver Stone.

    The first campus tours started in August (with visitors wearing hardhats amongst the renovation chaos).

    But by September, we were ready. The classes (and real action) had begun.

  • 2000


    First graduating class.

    The fall of 2000 marked our very first graduation ceremony.

    A modest group of just 14 students from our inaugural ‘Immersion Film’ program celebrated their proud moment.

    In fact, we were so proud, you can see their handprints in the concrete riser at our Main Theatre to this day.

    “Directors may scale to great heights… and actors may wither and die, but film schools will always last.” – OLIVER STONE

  • 2003


    The L.A. Film School’s first feature film.

    Our first feature film had come to life.

    Created through our 1st Chance Films program, and produced by our very own graduates (including director James Cotten (2001), here it was: ‘Demon Slayer.’

  • 2004


    The Los Angeles Recording School.

    It was time to expand.

    Driven by a desire to offer audio and music production degrees, The Los Angeles Recording School, a division of The Los Angeles Film School, was born.

    Now we had two buildings with iconic histories located right on Sunset Blvd.

  • 2005


    Alumnus becomes youngest faculty member.

    Graduation is just the beginning.

    When the classes end, that’s when the real journey begins.

    And Kyle Newacheck (2004) continued his journey with us – becoming our youngest faculty member at 22.

    Kyle then went on to direct Netflix’s ‘Murder Mystery’. Watched by 30.9 million households during the first 72 hours of its release, it was the biggest opening weekend in Netflix history!

  • 2006


    Students win BAFTA/LA Student Film Award.

    Remember the iconic DeLorean?

    The classic “time-machine” car in the Back to the Future trilogy?

    Well, in 2006 one was brought onto set during the filming of ‘Blockbusters’, a short film by alumni Trever James (2008) and Luke Rold (2005).

    And the best part? In 2006, ‘Blockbusters’ won a BAFTA/LA Student Film Award.

  • 2007


    Alumni create skits for ‘Funny or Die’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’

    In 2007, L.A. Film School graduate Oz Rodriguez (2004) began writing killer comedy skits with fellow alumni Matt Villines (2004).

    Their work ended up landing on ‘Funny or Die’, which caught the eye of none other than SNL.

    Oz has since directed over 50 SNL episodes and even snagged a Primetime Emmy® for his awesome directing skills on ‘Creating SNL.’

  • 2008


    Main stage at 6363 Sunset Blvd.

    A film comes to life on set.

    And in 2008, our 3,000-square-foot main stage was born (designed by our very own faculty member Barbara Humphrey).

    The construction of the jaw-dropping set was filmed by alumni Kevin Atkinson (2000), the talented cinematographer behind the sitcom ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’.

  • 2009


    First ‘Annual Salute’ to veterans.

    Our veteran community is close to our hearts.

    In 2009, our annual Veterans Day event, the ‘Annual Salute’, began.

    This event gives us the opportunity to honor our military students and alumni working in the entertainment industry.

  • 2011


    Documentary produced by The Military Services Department.

    Ever seen ‘The Yellow Ribbon Experience?

    A documentary directed by veteran alumni Andrew Coles (2010) and Mario Novoa (2000), it’s a testament to the veteran community, chronicling the reintegration of soldiers into civilian life.

  • 2013


    First Oscar® nomination.

    Did someone say ‘Best Achievement in Film Editing’?

    That’s right. In 2013, alumni Martin Pensa (2002) became the first graduate to receive an Oscar® nomination for his work on the incredible film ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’

  • 2014


    Alumna wins VMA.

    In 2014, ‘Miss Movin’ On’ by Fifth Harmony became Hannah Lux Davis’ (2006) second music video to win an MTV VMA.

    Since then, Hannah has been nominated over a dozen times, including two for ‘Best Direction’, and has worked with chart-topping artists such as Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Nicki Minaj.

  • 2014


    Introduction of our first online degrees.

    2014 also brought with it the game-changing addition of our first online degrees in Entertainment Business and Digital Filmmaking. Jump forward 10 years later, and we’re now offering eight online programs so we can reach every student across the country.

  • 2017


    Alumnus edits Oscar®-Nominated Film.

    In 2017, Per Sandholt, inspiring film editor and L.A. Film School graduate was nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at the Academy Awards.

    What an achievement!

  • 2018


    Alumnus Wins an Emmy®.

    The Upside Down. Eleven. A ton of 1980s nostalgia.

    You got it. We’re talking about the TV show ‘Stranger Things’.

    And in 2018, alumni Jordan Wilby (2004) won an Emmy® for ‘Outstanding Sound Editing’ for his work on this iconic show.

  • 2019


    Celebrating 20 Years with First Spotlight Awards Ceremony.

    20 years. Gone by in a flash.

    To celebrate? We started a new annual tradition: The Spotlight Awards, a special award ceremony to honor our alumni and all that they’ve achieved.

  • 2021


    Alumnus Wins an Oscar®.

    Drumroll please….

    In 2021, our very own graduate from The L.A. Recording School Phillip Bladh (2008) won an Oscar® for his work on Sound of Metal.

    To say the excitement was buzzing is an understatement.

  • 2023


    Graphic design students honored at ‘The ADDYs’.

    Every year the ADDY’s draw 35,000 entries from across the U.S.

    And in 2023, five of our graphic design students won ADDY’s at the L.A. competition.

    Regional and national competitions, here they come. Watch this space.


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Want to hear more alumni success stories? Head over to here.

Or for past alumni wanting to get in touch? We’d love to hear from you. You are the legacy that has been with us these past 25 years. Let us know what you’ve been up to in your career, including items that you think would be useful to feature. 

Simply drop us an email at alumnirelations@lafilm.edu, send us a note here or give our career development department a call at 323-769-2716.