Professional-level training in film production; supportive environment; students can graduate with an associate's degree
Few extra-curricular activities outside of film production and sports
The Academy for Careers in Television & Film (ACTvF) is a small school that delivers on its name. It offers students professional-level training in all aspects of film production as well as internships and paid work in the industry, thanks to some big-name partners including Silver Cup Studios, the Tribeca Film Institute and the Museum of the Moving Image.
The school is transitioning to an early college model serving grades 9 to 14. Students will be able to stay at ACTvF for six years and graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from a CUNY college.
Film studies at ACTvF is an impressive operation. Students have access to a state-of-the-art film library and editing labs, several small sound stages, professional-grade audio and visual equipment, and shops stocked with props, wardrobe, and heavy-duty equipment for set design and construction. Students take field trips to production studios, and often film throughout the neighborhood and along the riverfront. Students run the school's non-profit production company, Next Step Pictures.
Ninth- and 10th-graders take a production class each semester that covers key aspects of the industry including business production (budgeting and timelines), post production (video editing, sound mixing and motion graphics), film production (cameras, lighting, and sound), set production (set design and construction), hair, makeup and costumes, and directing (includes screenwriting). At the end of their sophomore year students choose one area to focus on through graduation.
Film classes for juniors and seniors are held mainly in the afternoon to allow them time to work on their in-depth production projects. The schedule also makes for an easy transition to after-hours work, where on a typical day, students fan out across the building after their final class to continue working on their films—editing in labs and shooting scenes in hallways, offices, the cafeteria, and on the sound stages. Some also head to the waterfront to shoot scenes.
An honors production program open to seniors offers the opportunity to produce independent projects and take courses in advanced film skills.
Teachers strive to ensure students at all levels get the right amount of academic support. There are no accelerated classes in the lower grades and for high achievers the pacing of instruction in some courses may seem slow at first. Students we met say teachers compensated by giving them extra and more challenging work.
All students study French and there is a range of Advanced Placement courses offered in the upper grades. Instead of taking pre-calculus, juniors who are strong in math serve as teaching assistants in an algebra, geometry and trigonometry class. This helps reinforce their foundational skills before tackling calculus in the 12th grade, according to Rodriguez. The set-up also helps ease students' academic load during a stressful junior year when they're studying for the SATs, participating in internships and working on a year-long film production project, he said. Through a partnership with LaGuardia Community College (LCC), students may earn college credit by taking free courses taught onsite or at LCC.
The vibe throughout ACTvF is relaxed, friendly and close-knit. Students and administrators are on a first-name basis, and the teachers pay close attention to students' needs. Most teach three sections of classes a day, which is less than the typical load of five. The more manageable instructional schedule allows them to take on other responsibilities.
Each teacher serves as the four-year advisor to a small group of students. Teachers meet regularly with their advisory students—in groups and individually—to keep tabs on their progress, monitor attendance, address academic and personal issues and help students through the college admissions process. Two fulltime social workers work directly with students and support teachers with the advisory process.
Students' days are packed with academic and film work and there are limited extra-curricular activities. Offerings include PSAL sports teams, school newspaper, yearbook committee and a few student-run clubs including the popular Gay-Straight Alliance, where students take trips to various studios throughout the city to learn about equity within the industry. Many students secure paid internships during the school year and over the summer.
Students get a lot of support from their advisors and the school's full-time college counselor. Nearly all students graduate on time and most attend college after graduation.
ACTvF is located steps from the East River inside a modern, airy building with stunning views of the midtown Manhattan skyline. It shares the facilities with Hunter's Point Community Middle School and the Riverview School, a 6-12 District 75 program for children with severe learning disabilities.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS. Two teachers are dual-certified in French and English-as-a-new-language instruction.
(Laura Zingmond, April 2015; updated via interview, August 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Academy for Careers in Television and Film
Comprehensive CTE program in film and TV production that includes hands-on work-based learning experience, alongside a rigorous academic college preparatory program.
Academy for Careers in Television and Film ASD Nest Program
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Computer Science Principles, AP Calculus AB, AP United States History, AP Human Geography, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Soccer
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Flag Football, Softball, Volleyball
Contact & Location
1-50 51st Avenue
Long Island City NY 11101
Trains: to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av
Buses: B32, B43, B62, Q103
This school shares a building with Hunter's Point Community Middle School and the Riverview School
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Long Island City, NY 11101
Long Island City, NY 11101