The International Thesis Film Project is a real world production experience in which Ghetto Film School (GFS) New York and Los Angeles Fellows write, shoot, and edit two short Thesis Films in an international location. In a year-long process: 

  • Fellows study classic and contemporary cinema of the country where they will shoot the thesis film. 

  • Each student writes a 10 to 15 page script based on the culture, history and/or landscape of the international location.

  • The top script, the director of the film, and the crew is chosen through a student-led selection process.

  • Top actors read the scripts and students receive feedback from directors, screenwriters, and industry experts.

  • The student crew shoots the Thesis Film during a 10-day trip to an international location.

  • The Director and Editor edit the film with support from a top post-production house.

  • The finished thesis films screen at a premiere hosted by A-list actors and filmmaking professionals.

GFS Fellows on-set in Rome, 2018



In November 2019, GFS announced its partnership with the Erika Film Foundation (EFF) to produce the Erika Film Foundation International Thesis Project, providing students the opportunity to shoot two Thesis Films in South Korea. This project marks the 6th consecutive year that EFF has partnered with GFS in their mission to educate and empower young filmmakers. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and corresponding health/safety restrictions, on-location production in South Korea is not an option. And so, staying true to the core of the Thesis Project -- which involves learning how to think on your feet and find creative solutions to real world problems -- our students quickly adapted their plans for these shoots to take place in domestic US locations, and to follow industry-standard protocols that ensure the safety of all participants.

In early August 2020, GFS LA and NY Fellows finished shooting the Erika Film Foundation International Thesis Film Project, MODERN EDUCATION (Written by Andrew Oh, Directed by Yeneca Kim) and NEIGHBORS (Written and Directed by Elisabeth Viel). With guidance from Film LA monitors, Screen Actors Guild representatives, and our invaluable partnership with the EFF, we were able to wrap two week-long domestic shoots safely and successfully.


We’re so grateful for our partnership with Erika Film Foundation, which made the International Thesis Film Project possible, and for the guidance and expertise of everyone who helped us wrap these shoots safely and successfully.  Our young filmmakers  are excited to get started with post-production, and screen their work. 

One of the main goals of EFF, Iris In, and the International Thesis Project is to give young filmmakers real world filmmaking knowledge and experience. It brings me great pride that, together, we are making a difference in the lives of future filmmakers who will go on to change the industry for the better. 

Erika Olde

Founder, Erika Film Foundation

(Partner, 2020 GFS International Thesis Film Project)



"Charley Horse" - 2018 GFS LA Israel Thesis Film Project

"Genesis - 2017 GFS NY London Thesis Film Project

"Be Free" - 2018 GFS NY Israel Thesis Film Project

"Ghost of a Chance" - 2017 GFS LA London Thesis Film Project


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