Second City to start the Harold Ramis Film School

Comedy improv master Harold Ramis

Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School is slated to accept its first class of students in September.  “The world’s first film school dedicated to comedy” was named in honor of the late comedy director Harold Ramis, a Second City alum, native Chicagoan and Glencoe resident.

Students of the yearlong program will receive a certificate intead of a degree and a portfolio of work and film industry connections.

Tuition will be about $15,000, according to Hollywood producer Trevor Albert, who will run the school. He was the producer of “Groundhog Day” and a longtime Ramis collaborator. “Content creation will be the DNA of the school. We intend to be all about content creators,” he said.

Ramis, a writer, producer, director, who died in his home in 2014, is best known for directing “Caddyshack,” scripting w “Groundhog Day” and “Animal House,” and his roles in “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes,”

The school will enroll about 15 students every three months, aiming towards 60 in total enrollment.

The faculty will be comprised of Second City teachers. The curriculum will cover everything from the history and theory of comedy to film production. The new school includes a sound stage, classroom space, screening room and editing suites and the other instructional moviemaking necessities.

Second City co-owner Andrew Alexander, with Len Stuart, said the Harold Ramis Film School was intended as a complement to Second City’s long-standing training center. More than 3,500 students are currently enrolled in one or another class.

New film students are expected to come from a variety of backgrounds and students with and without undergraduate degrees will be considered. Scholarships will be available, Alexander said, especially for diverse candidates.

Some of that scholarship funding is coming from Erica Mann Ramis, the widow of Harold Ramis, who also serves on the advisory board.

The advisory board currently includes comedian Martin Short, actor-writer-producers Steve Carell, Eugene Levy and Keegan-Michael Key; Adam McKay; Doug Belgrad, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group; producer Stuart Cornfeld of Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films; David Kramer of United Talent Agency and Emma Watts, president of production at 20th Century Fox Film Corp.