In October of 1995, a group of Michigan film professionals, led by filmmakers Doug Schulze and Kurt Eli Mayry, founded Motion Picture Institute of Michigan Inc. or The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan. Their aim was to establish a one-year vocational program that would train aspiring filmmakers in the art and craft of screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing. The Motion Picture Production Program offered an intensive hands-on education on set with professional equipment. The program required that each student makes their own films under the philosophy that you can only master filmmaking by making films. Graduates of MPI are assisted in finding job interviews in film, commercial and television industry. The Motion Picture Production Program inaugural class began September 14, 1998 at GTN studios, a commercial production facility in Oak Park, Michigan.

In the fall of 1999, the school expanded its curriculum and moved into a 20,000 square foot production facility currently located in Troy, Michigan. In 2012, the school became known just as Motion Picture Institute.

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