The Compass College Story

Former LocationCompass College of Cinematic Arts (CCCA) originated as a production company in 1997 under the name Compass Arts, a ministry that provided an integral voice in the public square. By producing broadcast campaigns, television specials, short films, and docudramas, the production team garnered 32 Telly Awards and one Clio Award.

In 2000, the production team began teaching their skills to the next generation of leaders, incorporating their successes by the process of vocational calling and authentic discipline.

Six years later, as a full-fledged film school housed on the north-west side of Grand Rapids, Compass launched an intensive film program designed to provide outstanding academic excellence in media arts. 

In 2009, Compass earned its accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), becoming the first film school in Michigan to hold this prestigious endorsement. In early 2011, the school received its approval from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to become a college, and now awards Bachelors of Fine Arts degrees in Cinematic and Media Arts and Associates of Applied Science degrees in Film and Media Production. In late 2011, Compass College made a significant move - to the heart of downtown Grand Rapids' Art District.


Compass College of Cinematic Arts is a premier, faith-based film college. Its programs are set in a unique, conservatory-like environment. Through high-end training and a special mentoring process, young artists - future writers, designers, producers, directors, and executives - bring forth a distinctly creative and technical skill set, a strong work ethic, and a Christ-centered focus that fosters entrepreneurial success and serves as an asset on film and television shoots, and in executive studio and corporate settings.

Compass students learn the art of filmmaking from script to screen.  In addition to learning video and film production, the students are exposed to digital marketing and design elements, such as graphics, continuity, art production, sound, and music.  They also learn the business of the film industry, which includes creating business plans, management, marketing, contracts and negotiation, budgeting, pitching projects, and distribution.  CCCA is the only 60-credit hour film program in the nation whose students write a full-length feature screenplay.

Compass College Alumni go on to work in various areas of the entertainment industry, including on productions for major feature films and episodic television programs and for top media companies.  Some alumni also embrace their entrepreneurial skills by forming independent production companies or by joining marketing departments and agencies to serve corporations, small businesses, and churches in meeting their visual and digital marketing needs.


InfluenceSkill sets in this field are utilized in numerous areas of leading industries: social, digital or traditional marketing; media or graphic design; art, stage or set directors; story, technical copy or script; cinematography; producing; directing; editing; sound design; music composition; lighting, video or broadcast technicians; and graphic animation.

Compass regularly has a presence in the highest caliber productions and production companies.  Its interns and alumni have worked on hundreds of major motion pictures and television shows throughout the world. 

Compass alumni have worked on many award-winning and ground-breaking films, including Mad Max Fury Road, 30 Minutes or Less, Avatar, Bee Movie, Fast and Furious, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Moneyball, Up in the Air, Whip It,vand more.  No stranger to television, Compass alums have also worked on such programs as Stranger Things, Big Love, CSI: Miami, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Medium, Monk, Prison Break, and Valentine.

CCCA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).