[Spotlight] UNCSA School of Filmmaking makes the grade
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the School of Filmmaking at UNCSA in Winston-Salem, and the esteemed entertainment trade magazine Variety has given the school another reason to celebrate by naming it as among the 50 most influential film schools in the world.
The May 14 “Entertainment Education Report” recognized “programs and educators at colleges and universities around the world that give students the tools to enter the showbiz industry.”
“In 15 years, we have built a robust film program with expert faculty who are closely tied to the industry, facilities that are state-of-the-art and well equipped, and a curriculum that develops technical skills but also nurtures creativity and inspires entrepreneurship,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the School of Filmmaking. “We are launching alumni who are diverse storytellers and creative innovators. They are landing jobs – and creating jobs – in all aspects of the film and television industry.”
The School of Filmmaking, whose many illustrious alumni include Brett Haley (The Hero), David Gordon Green (Halloween), Jeff Nichols (Loving) and Martha Stephens (To the Stars), to name just a few, provides an in-depth, hands-on filmmaking experience and the latest in filmmaking technology with tuition that is up to $50,000 less than that of other prominent film schools.
“Students are making films – all funded by the university – during their first year,” Ruskin said. “That doesn’t happen elsewhere, and it offers immeasurable value to the educational experience and a way to level the playing field for all students.”
In addition, she noted, “with our student-to-faculty ratio of nine-to-one, students have extraordinary access to educators who are also working in the industry.”
The article in Variety also highlighted faculty member Bob Keen, the department chair of visual effects and immersive media, whose special-effects credits include such films as Lifeforce (1985), Hellraiser (1987), Nightbreed (1990), Candyman (1992), and Dog Soldiers (2002). He’s also directed such films as Proteus (1995), The Big Game (also ‘95), and Heartstopper (2006).
Although the School of Filmmaking has state-of-the-art facilities and technology for computer-generated imagery (CGI), Keen told the magazine he encourages students to think outside the box and experiment. “We teach them the old techniques as well as the new ones,” he said. “There is always more than one way to do an effect. But we explore the whole gamut of possibilities.” For more information about this and other events at UNCSA, visit the official website.