Liberty University’s Zaki Gordon Cinematic Arts Center has wrapped up its first semester, and interest in the program has been higher than anticipated.
According to executive director Stephan Schultze, classroom attendance caps were raised twice, to 60 students per class, to accommodate interest in the inaugural class offerings.
This fall, the program’s three introductory core classes — screenwriting, motion picture directing and cinematography — will welcome 120 students each, as two sections will be offered for each class.
According to Schultze, nearly 30 students have been accepted into the B.S. program for Fall 2012, where they will be fully immersed in the filmmaking major. Over 30 students have declared a Cinema Arts minor, allowing them to use filmmaking as a tool to enhance their employment opportunities within their chosen field.
Schultze said the program will accommodate demands from a variety of platforms.
In Spring 2013, additional courses will be offered both online and residentially through major, minor, elective and enrichment formats to meet students’ needs.
The center is also working to support concentrations in filmmaking for majors who can use visual media to enhance graduate skillsets in various fields.
“Majors like worship have asked us to support a concentration in filmmaking that would give their graduates opportunities through church worship to leverage visual media as a ministry tool,” Schultze said.
Last semester, the program held three workshops featuring industry professionals. The sessions were open to the public, and captured about 40 attendees each.
As the department continues to expand, Schultze has been visiting schools promoting the program and networking.
“So far, all I see is opportunity and a receptive spirit within high schools and community college transfer programs,” he said.
Schultze said in order to ensure that students are able to complete the program and enter the job market without missing a beat, Liberty is providing the best equipment for the classroom.
“(Students) will have been trained using industry standard equipment from ‘Red’ camera packages to Avid edit bays, to ProTools and THX certified surround sound mixing experience,” he said.
Beyond the tools, Schultze said students will be trained to tell stories that reach across all media distribution platforms and will be required to form a business plan.
“They will not only know how to make a movie, but will know how to make a living doing it.”