Film Production students fuse the conceptual, creative, and technical elements of our department’s curriculum as they bring their creative investigations to life. As filmmakers working within the context of a liberal arts college, they are encouraged to explore a wide variety of arts courses, student organizations, and cultural activities, and to feed those inspirations back into their filmmaking. The department emphasizes the cross-pollination of critical studies and production, and provides opportunities to explore both fiction and nonfiction filmmaking.
Students can, if they choose, take an intensive film production course every semester from sophomore through senior year. They begin by making short films in digital video and then create individual projects on celluloid in 16mm black and white, a medium that few have used before. The advanced production courses are year-long sequences fostering the space to investigate ideas and to prepare, revise, and navigate collaborative dynamics. The students in these courses work together in larger groups on longer projects. Opportunities also exist to explore individual creativity through topic courses in scriptwriting, sound and editing, cinematography and lighting, and experimental filmmaking.
Students in intermediate and advanced production courses have access to 16mm film and HD Video cameras, including Arri SR synch sound cameras, Bolexes, and different DSLR options. Additionally, students use solid-state sound recorders, a variety of professional microphones, Arri lights and grip gear, dollies, and many other peripherals related to film and video production. While we recognize the need for technical proficiency, we emphasize the need for thoughtful content, a clarity of vision, and crew collaboration. We strive to provide a balanced approach to criticism and production, helping our graduates become thoughtful and skilled scholars and filmmakers. As production students are making films, they are also studying the complexities of film research and theory, and they’re attending diverse screenings. This combination of interrelated activities allows students to realize filmmaking technique as they critically engage with cultural, social, and historical context.
Additionally, our curriculum promotes students to pursue internship possibilities at a variety of professional production venues—most notable among these being our close association with award-winning documentarian Ken Burns’ Florentine Films, whose facilities are a 20-minute drive from campus. Students have also pursued internships at other organizations, including the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, Showtime Network, and the Modnadnock International Film Festival in Keene, NH.
By going through our program, students gain valuable skills, expand their creative and critical thinking, and develop pro-active attitudes.