Second City to open comedy film school in honor of Harold Ramis

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The Second City today announced it will officially open the Harold Ramis Film School in September, billed as the “world’s first film school dedicated to comedy.”

According to the official statement, the Chicago-based school, building on Ramis’ legacy as a writer, director, producer and performer, 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,” said Andrew Alexander, CEO and executive producer of the Second City, in an official statement. “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.”

The school’s one-year (non-f0rmal degree) program will afford students the opportunity to study film history, comedy theory, storytelling and film production, culminating with a finished sitcom pilot, screenplay, short film or hourlong pilot, and program certificate. Students also will be able to participate in master seminars and workshops led by film industryinsiders.

Producer and longtime Ramis film collaborator Trevor Albert will serve as the school’s chairman, with an advisory board boasting Second City alumni and other comedy heavyweightsincluding Steve Carell, Betty Thomas, Adam McKay, Andrea Martin, Bob Odenkirk, Tim Meadows, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, along with directors Paul Feig and Jay Roach. Ramis’ widow, Erica Mann Ramis, who is part of the school’s program development board, will also serve on the advisory board.

Ramis, the director and/or screenwriter (and occasional star) of films such as “Animal House,” “Groundhog Day,” “Caddyshack,” “As Good as It Gets,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Ghostbusters,” died at the age of 69 in 2014. He was a member of Second City’s mainstage ensemble for four years, beginning in 1969.

Interested students can apply for the program at ramisfilmschool.com. In addition, an open house will be held at Second City’s Training Center at 6 p.m. March 16.


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