Film pros equip majors for industry

The scene is set for action as the California Baptist University’s film program moves into a new era of production.

Incepted in 2010, the film studies program often struggled to accommodate the technical and production sides of filmmaking. Students said this left them in a bind: They could either fend for themselves learning production or attend a semester through a CBU partnership with the Los Angeles film school and take a break from the rest of their studies.

Before, all the film program had was temporary professors and theory- based education. Now, CBU has picked up the pace.

As of now, film students at CBU can work with professional-level film equipment, and Michael Eaton, CBU film professor, the film program’s first full-time faculty member, now teaches a hybrid production film class. Eaton, who worked in the film industry for over 20 years and now helps run a production company, is the first technically trained professor film students have been given here to date.

Similarly, Ralph Winter, a full-time movie producer who has worked on films such as “X-Men,” “X2” and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” began teaching as a visiting professor in the spring 2014 semester. Winter, who expressed an interest in teaching after being the keynote speaker in the Christ & Culture series last spring, teaches a class called cinematic storytelling alongside Eaton.

Dr. Melissa Croteau, associate professor of film studies and literature, noted how important this growth is to the film program and how students learn about film.

“The film department is growing every year,” Croteau said. “(We) have formed a tight community, which is important because filmmaking is such a collaborative process.”

This growth helped foster new opportunities for students studying and creating films at CBU; namely, it allows students to showcase the work they put in as filmmakers.

On April 4, students from the film program will host a student film festival featuring work showcasing both the talents and abilities of those dedicated students submitting work.

Alexis Whitlock, senior film studies and graphic design double major, is one such student. Some of her work will be featured in the show.

“It’s nice to finally see (the film studies program) go from theory to practice,” Whitlock said. “Before the only hands-on experience we got was through our partnership with the LA film school. Now we can go out into the world prepared for filming in a practical way.”

Jordan Lagana, senior film stu-
dies and English double major, wat-
ched the program grow over the duration of his time at CBU and said he is encouraged and excited about the courses offered and the direction of the film program as well.

“(These developments) are a shame for those of us who started as early as I did,” Lagana said. “Though we can take these production classes, they don’t count toward our film degrees. However, it’s a fantastic opportunity for those incoming students in the coming years.”

Despite the timing issues, the students in the film program are optimistic about what the change means for their futures.

“We’ll actually stand a chance in the real world now,” Whitlock said.

About Joanna Andrews

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