Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts

The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) is the first and only MFA program in Cinematic Arts for the Middle East and North Africa. It is based in Aqaba, Jordan. RSICA is a joint effort of Royal Film Commission – Jordan [1] and the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Its students are women and men from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) in a specialized learning environment dedicated to teaching the six key disciplines of the cinematic arts.

The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts
RSICA Logo 2008.png
TypeFilm School
DeanJames T. Hindman, Ph.D.
Academic staff
10 full time
Administrative staff
14 full time

The two-year MFA in Cinematic Arts program at RSICA graduates industry-ready women and men with practical, creative and media business skills. Through ongoing classes and collaborative production in varied forms such as fiction, documentary and television, RSICA students will build a significant portfolio of creative media work to launch their careers. The course itself has been designed with the leading film school in the world to meet the needs of the developing Middle Eastern film industry.[1]

The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts officially opened its doors September 2008. It is an international, fully accredited graduate school offering a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Cinematic Arts. The MFA program supports career development and business skills with an advanced education in cinema, television and a wide range of newly evolving screen-based media.[2]

In RSICA’s first graduating class of 2010, graduates went on to the Sundance Director’s Workshop, the Iowa International Writers Program, the Producers Guild of America International Internship Program in Los Angeles, as well as to full-time positions in the MENA Region such as the American University in Dubai and Rubicon Group Holding in Jordan. Two of its alumni will be contributing directors in the international documentary project sponsored by the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión in Cuba, titled “To Be A Human Being”.

The RSICA Campus houses a transitional but state-of-the-art digital technology infrastructure for production, post, sound and exhibition., designed in conjunction with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.


The Institute is in line with His Majesty King Abdullah II’s efforts to expand the skills of young Middle East and North Africa filmmakers and artist by giving them training in the use of latest technologies in filmmaking and production. RSICA is part of the monarch’s vision of establishing a hub for intellectual and creative capital in Jordan and the MENA region.

In 2005 and 2006, USC faculty and staff traveled to Jordan to conduct the initial training programs in directing, cinematography, sound, editing, and screenwriting. This blossomed to become RSICA, a fully accredited and free-standing graduate institute that offers a two-year Master’s of Fine Arts degree through advanced education in cinema, television and a wide range of screen-based media.

RSICA is located in Aqaba, a Special Economic Zone in Jordan on the Red Sea bordering Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Its facilities include digital screening rooms, postproduction, animation and interactive media laboratories; sound stages; high-end professional video production packages and an extensive digital and print library.


Faculty has been drawn from industry, arts and academic institutions around the world. Students are selected from a diverse pool of talented applicants from the Middle East and North Africa. The first class was admitted September 2008, and the first graduating class in June 2010. Subsequently, RSICA celebrated graduating classes in 2011 and 2012.

The Institute's program is intense and the classes are small. The current faculty/student ratio is 4 to 1.

Admission is based on a competitive portfolio, clear evidence of talent and outstanding personal expression as well as strong potential for creative collaboration. [3]

Future of RSICAEdit

The school moved its premises to Amman in mid-2012 and has been effectively downsized to only one class. Due to the lack of financial resources, it is unclear whether the school could be sustained, or if it will accept any more students.

Location change to Amman in 2012Edit

RSICA has moved locations in the downsizing process, to a temporary location in Amman, in the building of SAE Amman.


External linksEdit