The Second City’s actors have left a long legacy of comedic brilliance on the big screen, and now, in 2016, the Chicago-based theater company and training ground has launched what it’s billing as “the world’s first film school focusing on comedic content,” the Harold Ramis Film School.
Ramis not only was a Second City Mainstage performer, starting in 1969, but also a Chicago native — his own film legacy started with the screenplay for Animal House, continued with Meatballs and Caddyshack, the latter of which he directed. Ramis went on to make Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. And there were his on-screen and behind-the-screen contributions to National Lampoon’s Vacation, as well as Club Paradise, Stuart Saves His Family, Multiplicity, Analyze This, Bedazzled, Analyze That, The Ice Harvest and Year One.
“Harold Ramis was the quintessential Second City writer/performer – intelligent, funny and devoted to the spirit of ensemble,” says Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City. “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.”
“This school honors the memory of Harold and his legacy of identifying, mentoring and developing new talent,” says Erica Mann Ramis, widow of Harold. “I am very proud and grateful that The Second City has chosen to pay this enormous tribute to my husband and his work.”
Trevor Albert, prolific producer and long-time collaborator with Harold Ramis, 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.
The school will provide a one-year intensive program, immersing students in comedy training, film history, storytelling and film production classes, and asking them to graduate with produced content under their belts. The program begins in September 2016, with applications currently accepted at https://ramisfilmschool.com/. The Second City will host an information session and open house for the new Harold Ramis Film School on March 16, 2016.