Comedy institution The Second City has established the Harold Ramis Film School, the world’s first film school focusing on comedic content, it was announced Tuesday.
Building on Ramis’ legacy as a writer, director, producer and performer, the Chicago-based school will foster students interested in the media arts, utilizing The Second City’s approach to improvisation and content creation.
“Harold Ramis was the quintessential Second City writer/performer — intelligent, funny and devoted to the spirit of ensemble,” Andrew Alexander, CEO and executive producer of The Second City, said. “His early mentoring of the Second City TV cast set the template for how that show would operate for eight seasons. His unselfish and generous spirit dominated the many wonderful films that he directed and wrote. I am thrilled by this opportunity to instill Harold’s philosophy of successful storytelling in film in the next generation of artists.”
In the spirit of Harold Ramis, students will be immersed in comedy training, film history, storytelling and film production classes to give them the context in which to create content. At the end of the one-year intensive program, students will graduate with produced content, be it a screenplay, sitcom pilot, hour-long pilot or short film.
“Groundhog Day” producer Trevor Albert, one of Ramis’ longtime collaborators, will serve as Chair of the Harold Ramis Film School. Additionally, the school’s Advisory Board includes Second City alumni Steve Carell, Betty Thomas, Adam McKay and Catherine O’Hara, as well as award-winning directors Paul Feig and Jay Roach.
“This school honors the memory of Harold and his legacy of identifying, mentoring and developing new talent,” Ramis’ widow, Erica Mann Ramis, said. “I am very proud and grateful that The Second City has chosen to pay this enormous tribute to my husband and his work.”
Applications are currently being accepted for the yearlong filmmaker program, which starts in September. For application details, scholarship opportunities and additional information, click here. An information session and open house will be held at The Second City Training Center – Chicago (Piper’s Alley, 2nd Floor) on Wednesday, March 16th at 6 p.m.