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Challenge yourself beyond simply taking a filmmaking class or two. Our optional, non-degree Certificate Program in Film Production helps you advance from a beginning to advanced level, while supporting you in creating a portfolio of work that showcases your achievements as an emerging filmmaker. You may be at any stage of your formal education (pre-college, in college, post-college, pre-graduate school) to enroll. There are no prerequisites. See How and When to Apply below.

More than 70 individuals have completed the Certificate program since its founding in 1994.  Many of our alumni are actively working in film locally and in larger markets as media artists and/or industry professionals.  Some have gone on to successfully complete graduate level film programs.  Others have combined their love of filmmaking with careers in teaching, writing and related areas.

As a Certificate student, you will receive ongoing advising and mentorship from faculty and staff, and be invited to special Certificate Program events and screenings.

Move along at your own pace and take up to six years to complete the requirements below. This is a pay-as-you-go program, meaning that you pay for each class as you take it rather than pay tuition for the entirety of the program.

The Film Production Certificate program culminates with a public screening of your final film project in our state-of-the-art Whitsell Auditorium.


1) The core sequence (not designed to be taken consecutively)

  • Art of Filmmaking I—two beginning-level film projects
  • Art of Filmmaking II—one intermediate-level group project and one intermediate-level individual project
  • Art of Filmmaking III—one professional-quality advanced film project

2) Six of the following elective classes (to be taken between Art of Filmmaking courses)

  • Digital Cinematography
  • Digital Editing
  • 16MM Cinematography
  • Narrative Production
  • Documentary Production
  • Screenwriting: Fundamentals
  • Screenwriting: Advanced
  • Dialogue Writing
  • Documentary Writing
  • Interview Techniques
  • Film Directing
  • Film Composing
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Art Direction
  • Post-Production Management
  • Multi-camera Production
  • Lighting on Location
  • Grant writing for Film
  • and more

Several elective classes are offered each term. See our current offerings.

3) At least 15 hours of elective workshops

  • Basic Lighting
  • Sound Recording
  • Getting Your Film into Festivals
  • Casting
  • Media Management
  • Visiting Artist Workshops
  • and more

Several elective workshops are offered each term. See our current offerings.

How and When to Apply

First, set-up an appointment to discuss your interest with the Education Programs Manager by calling 503-221-1156.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Notification will be made within four weeks of receipt of application. Acceptance is based upon the clarity of your stated goals and whether they align with the Northwest Film Center mission and Certificate curriculum.

We recommend that you test the waters before diving in. Enroll in and complete ART OF FILMMAKING I and up to two Elective Classes prior to applying. Upon your acceptance, credits will automatically be transferred onto a Certificate transcript (a letter grade of B or higher is required.)