Cinema Production Faculty Train Students to Seamlessly Transition to Role of Professional Filmmaker Friday, June 5, 2020
"Our students gain real-life, hands-on experience with every film project that they work on during their four years within our program. Those projects allow our students to advance their skills as storytellers and build an impressive portfolio of work, but they also develop skills that are valued in any career — critical thinking, organization, communication, collaboration and creativity. We train our students to work as professionals in all stages of production, so they can seamlessly transition from the role of student filmmaker to professional filmmaker."
Hanjin Park, M.F.A., assistant professor
What makes Point Park University’s B.F.A. in cinema production program distinctive?
It's an industry-driven program where students can experience all aspects of filmmaking while focusing on their interested fields — such as producing, directing, cinematography, editing and sound.
The variety of courses offers students the opportunity to learn the technical art of filmmaking, but also utilizes a diverse set of practices and perspectives to foster their growth as unique storytellers with individual and personal voices.
As a result, our students and resources are crucial elements to the rapidly-growing independent and professional film productions in Pittsburgh.
Cara Friez, M.F.A., associate professor
Students begin producing creative work from day one in this program. Tell us about the facilities and equipment.
Our students have access to our facilities and equipment throughout their time within our program. The facilities we offer include a writer’s room, soundstage, three mac edit labs, individual edit suites, color suites, audio mixing/recording suites and screening rooms. Each includes industry-standard equipment and software.
We also offer a wide range of professional-level film equipment in our Student Production Services office, where students reserve and check out the required equipment needed for each class project.
How will this production-focused degree program make me career-ready?
Video content is everywhere nowadays, and good storytellers are in high demand. Our cinema production students gain real-life, hands-on experience with every film project that they work on during their four years within our program. Those projects allow our students to advance their skills as storytellers and build an impressive portfolio of work, but they also develop skills that are valued in any career — critical thinking, organization, communication, collaboration and creativity. We train our students to work as professionals in all stages of production, so they can seamlessly transition from the role of student filmmaker to professional filmmaker.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We work to help students achieve their artistic vision/goals safely. Students are trained in proper safety protocol by our full-time safety coordinator, Terry Shirk. Each student script is thoroughly reviewed before they can check-out equipment, to ensure that they are properly prepared before going on set.
We also don’t censor the stories students want to tell, but instead we hope to help them understand the messages that they are putting out into the world through their films.
Point Park University strives to be an inclusive environment where all students are welcome and diversity is embraced. Our faculty and staff create an atmosphere that ensures all students regardless of race, background, gender or sexual identity feel safe and valued as individuals. Together we work to cultivate an environment where students can thrive creatively and develop the tools they need to enter their post college experience.
Laura J. Boyd, M.F.A., associate professor (center)
Tell us how the Cinema Arts Professional course prepares students for success.
Cinema Arts Professional prepares students for graduation by guiding and supporting them through creating all the documents and resources they will need when applying for jobs in the film industry.
Students begin by preparing a biography, skills list, and mission statement, focusing on everything in life they need to be personally and professionally fulfilled, and what their future job goals look like. We work with Monica Ritter from Point Park's Professional Career Readiness Center to guide the seniors through the process of writing professional cover letters and resumes, and Point Park cinema arts faculty work with them to brand themselves and highlight their achievements in the proper format for the film industry.
Students also create and refine their professional reels and build their websites, studying examples from professionals in the film industry. Professors and guests join the class to share their experiences working in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York — ranging from film, animation, documentary and episodic television.
Heidi Ward '13 with her Emmy award
Where have graduates landed jobs?
- Joe Balewski: marketing manager, CBS Television Distribution
- Jen Taormina Lawson: entertainment lawyer in New York City
- Katie Serevicz: post-production coordinator, Studio City, Los Angeles
- Valerie Macher: costume coordinator, Sweet Girl, Mindhunter, Castle Rock, Gone, Outsiders
- Luke Shannon: grip/gaffer, Outsiders, Mindhunter, I Am Not Okay with This, An American Pickle, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Unsinkable
- Dominique Carino: Red Zone Pictures; I Am Not OK With This; Sony Pictures; CBS Television Studios; set dressing coordinator, IATSE 489
- Zachary Boyle: Emmy award-winning producer/editor, WQED/PBS
- Calyx DeRoche: digital media producer, WQED/PBS
- Taylor Colbert Rex: set dec, Showtime
- Mina Hoffman: marketing coordinator, CBS Interactive
- Alyssa Briddes: assistant editor, Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2; editor, Condé Nast, Bustle; associate producer, Vice
- Mark Gazica: key production assistant, I’m Your Woman, An American Pickle, Manhunt, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Where’d you Go Bernadette, among others.
- TJ Nelson: manager, editorial strategy, HBO Max at Warner Media
- Heidi Ward: Emmy award-winning segment producer, Naturally, Danny Seo; restaurant producer, Hell’s Kitchen
- Kevin Konitsch: VFX editor, Savage VFX
- Katie Palamara and Suzanna Gomes: editors, American Eagle Outfitters
- Ross Ribblett: video content creator, American Eagle Outfitters
- Jameson Mitchell: post-production coordinator, BET; assistant editor, The Connors
- Kevin Stiller: digital producer/gaffer/camera operator; Vanity Fair; digital producer, GQ Magazine
- Ben Jackson: assistant editor, Hot Ones: The Game Show
- Dana Gasparine: editor, CW’s Pandora; assistant editor, The Path, America’s Next Top Model, Knightfall
- Brandon Marchionda: second assistant editor, Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Christina Gonzalez: sound designer, Cabin 21 Sounds
- Marlee Schneider: art department, Grey's Anatomy, The L Word
- Garrett Kennel: creative director, Michelle Khare YouTube Channel
- Ian Lewis: production assistant, Falcon, Winter Soldier and Netflix’s Red Notice; on-set visual effects - witness camera operator, The Tomorrow War