Tag Archive for: Digital Cinema

Film showcase "Your Fate is Booked" by Ariel Himanek

Digital Cinema students to showcase films

Members of the SOU community are invited to enjoy the premieres of 20 short films when students of the Digital Cinema Production course (DCIN 203) present their class projects at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, in the Art Building’s Meese Auditorium. The Fall Digital Cinema Student Showcase is free and open to the public.

The three-minute films – the very first short films by first- and second-year Digital Cinema students in the class – will range from mystery to sci-fi to love stories, and just about everything in-between.

This term’s student films are: “Allergic to Clues” by Maggie Adrian; “Love in Bloom” Elena Barajas; “Slow Children” by Bella Bontrager; “Seeds of Discord” by Fiona Carrithers; “The Audition” by Justin Crawford; “Ten Years Under” by Charlotte Heintz; “Projects” by Aedan Higgins; “Your Fate is Booked” by Ariel Himanek; “Need A Light” by Zach Hudson; “The Vinyl” by Logan James; “Deadly Tracks” by Shenita Lawson; “Archetype 0” by Calído Marquez; “Beckett the Bandit” by Clover Neef; “When Art Breathes” by Maddy Peterson; “Wizard Walking” by Spencer Spicer; “Space Plant” by Kira V. Wegehenkel; “Petal Peddlers” by Tyler Whitson; “The Phantom Florist” by Jaycee Williams; “Surprise” by Rose Wood; and “Cursed!” by Jared Y.

SOU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to support the first-time filmmakers by packing the house for this week’s film showcase.

The students had 11 weeks to conceive, prepare, shoot, edit and deliver their films using available resources. Each has two speaking roles and a single location. The fall term students were asked to craft their scripts to align with this year’s SOU Campus Theme – “Flourishing.”

The four-credit class is intended to help students develop skills in project management, collaboration, creative problem-solving and effective leadership. They learn the stages of film production, how crews are organized, the scheduling process and how to work together in small groups to prepare and produce short films.

SOU’s Digital Cinema program is considered to be more than a “film school,” as it prepares students to innovate as storytellers and entrepreneurs across a range of popular and emerging media formats – including motion pictures, documentary, television, social video and virtual reality. It is rooted in the film school tradition, but is highly experiential and embraces entrepreneurship and innovation as it prepares students for dynamic careers in an expanding world of video arts and entertainment.

SOU Digital Cinema launches crowdfunding campaign

SOU Digital Cinema taps crowdfunding for support

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Digital Cinema program has taken a creative turn in seeking financial support for its work, launching an $18,000 crowdfunding campaign to help pay for two signature projects. The campaign has been extended through Dec. 15.

Money raised in the Indiegogo campaign will be split between the annual Crew Experience project, a 12-credit immersion course for student filmmakers, and individual Capstone Production Grants for Digital Cinema students.

“Crowdfunding is a double-win for our students because it both develops a valuable skill for careers in the creative industries and also helps raise awareness and funds for the Digital Cinema program,” said Andrew Gay, a professor of Digital Cinema and incoming director of SOU’s School of Arts & Communication.

“Almost all entrepreneurial producers will find themselves crowdfunding at some point, and these students are learning that process through hands-on, real-world application,” Gay said.

The crowdfunding campaign is live and open for contributions – extended for two weeks beyond its original end date of Nov. 30. Each donation made – minus fees to the crowdfunding website – is split evenly between Crew Experience and individual Capstone Production Grants, unless donors select the “Adopt a Capstone Filmmaker Package,” which triggers recognition and other perks. The crowdfunding campaign is facilitated by the SOU Foundation, and all pledges are tax-deductible.

Contributions to the campaign help fund this year’s Digital Cinema projects, and also invest in student filmmakers who are part of the entertainment industry’s future. Supporters are also asked to share the crowdfunding campaign page with others who may wish to help students with their film education.

“Donations that end up going to my capstone will help pay for shooting locations, costumes, special effects makeup, and food for the cast and crew,” said Lilah Keebler, a senior Digital Cinema major. “The money given will also go toward creating the costume of the monster that taunts the main character, Chloe, for the majority of the film. This could potentially get costly, meaning funding is a necessity to bring the monster to life.

“Horror has always been my favorite genre and I’m so excited about the opportunity to make this film.”

The individual Capstone Production Grants will benefit Digital Cinema seniors – in both leadership and support roles – as they begin their thesis projects. Each thesis project is tied to a capstone director, and other capstone students may participate in a variety of positions that include photography, production, editing and more. Capstone projects also provide a valuable proving ground for underclassmen to develop their skills while crewing under the mentorship of more experienced seniors. Projects must pass a rigorous vetting process to qualify for a Capstone Production Grant.

The Crew Experience takes junior Digital Cinema students out of the classroom to learn on location with industry mentors, operating as a single production unit for an entire term. The $9,000 raised through the Digital Cinema Production Fund will help to build sets, procure props and costumes, cover location fees and provide other essentials to cast and crew.


Digital Cinema students on location

Digital Cinema at SOU offers options for all

Southern Oregon University’s hands-on Digital Cinema program now offers aspiring filmmakers three bachelor’s degree options and nine stand-alone certificates that prepare graduates for careers in film and entertainment.

Students can choose to pursue a bachelor of fine arts degree in Digital Cinema Production Arts or a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in Digital Cinema. Certificate options include Directing for the Screen, Documentary Production, Screenwriting & Story Development, Producing & Production Management, Cinematography & Production Technology, Scenic & Environmental Design, Animation & Motion Design, Media Post Production, and Sound Design.

Program highlights include its Credit for Prior Learning option, which offers many incoming students academic credit for the knowledge and skills they have gained through previous life experiences, and its groundbreaking, 12-credit immersion program called “The Crew Experience.” Student filmmakers in that program spend an entire term learning on location and collaborating under the supervision of experienced professionals on the set of a significant film project.

“Our students are preparing for their careers from day one,” said Professor Andrew Gay, chair of SOU’s Communication, Media & Cinema Department. “We’re teaching storytelling and technical production crafts but also networking skills, how to handle yourself in a job interview, and how to show up on set as a professional and then get hired again. That’s why our graduates enter the job market with such confidence and repeatedly succeed.”

Recent graduates of SOU’s Digital Cinema program have worked in union crew positions on such major motion pictures as 65, starring Adam Driver, and the upcoming Wolfs, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and have been accepted into top graduate film programs at Chapman University, USC and Loyola Marymount.

Southern Oregon University is a proud member of the Green Film School Alliance – a collaboration of leading film schools that have committed to industry-level sustainable production practices in their programs. It is located in beautiful Ashland, Oregon – a town MovieMaker Magazine has named a “best place to live and work as a MovieMaker” since 2014.

Green Film School Alliance membership for SOU Digital Cinema

SOU Digital Cinema accepted as Green Film School Alliance member

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Communication, Media & Cinema program is one of 16 higher education programs accepted for new membership in the Green Film School Alliance – a collaboration of leading film schools that have committed to industry-level sustainable production practices in their programs.

The GFSA announced its new member institutions on Wednesday, more than doubling its membership to 27 sustainability-minded schools. The organization’s membership now includes colleges and universities in seven states, four countries and three continents – with 10 of them also appearing on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Film School list for 2022.

“It’s an honor for our young program to be recognized among the most prestigious film schools in the U.S., and beyond,” said Andrew Gay, an associate professor of digital cinema at SOU and chair of the university’s Communication, Media & Cinema program. “This alliance is an outstanding example of  SOU’s commitment to sustainability, our Digital Cinema program’s focus on state-of-the-art production, and SOU’s top-tier opportunities for students.”

SOU’s Digital Cinema bachelor’s degree program launched in 2019 and drew acclaim earlier this year for its innovative, 12-credit spring immersion course called “The Crew Experience.” Student filmmakers in the course spend an entire term learning from faculty and experienced mentors on location for a significant film project.

This year’s Crew Experience cohort produced the short film “Eight & Sand” – which last week became the 25th student project anywhere in the world to be awarded the Environmental Media Association Green Seal. SOU is the sixth university to earn an EMA Green Seal, and the first undergraduate program on the West Coast to do so. The seal is presented to student productions that achieve sustainable production goals identified in the GFSA’s Production Environmental Actions Checklist (PEACHy) for young filmmakers.

Vincent Smith, Ph.D., the director of SOU’s Division of Business, Communication and Environmental Science, said the university’s Digital Cinema Program is a perfect example of hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experiences that have become a hallmark of the institution.

“I am regularly asked to explain why Business, Communication and Environmental Science are in one division,” Smith said. “This is just one of many good reasons why thinking across traditional disciplinary boundaries makes good sense for our future.”

The Green Film School Alliance and its member colleges and universities commit to common sustainability language, standards and tools to reduce waste and lower the carbon footprint of film productions. The organization is supported by the Sustainable Production Alliance and the Producers Guild of America Green.


Crew Experience is underway

SOU Digital Cinema program launches unique “Crew Experience”

(Ashland, Ore.) — After a two-year pandemic delay, Southern Oregon University has launched its innovative, new, 12-credit spring immersion course called “The Crew Experience.” Student filmmakers spend an entire term learning on location, collaborating under the supervision of faculty and experienced industry mentors on the set of a significant film project designed to emulate the professional working environment.

Students had to apply and interview for their crew positions and were placed based on the experience, skill levels and portfolios of work they have accumulated in preceding classes. No other film or media program in the Pacific Northwest offers such an experiential approach to professional production training.

“This is truly ‘higher’ education, what college ought to be,” said Andrew Gay, associate professor and chair of Communication, Media & Cinema at SOU, and the principal architect of the Crew Experience.

“Today’s film student is savvy,” he said. “They know they can learn the buttons of a camera or editing software on YouTube, so why spend the tuition on film school? What we’re offering is professional immersion — hands-on training, working side-by-side, on-set with both faculty and industry veterans. It’s about learning the set culture, the lingo and procedures that mark professionals from amateurs. You can’t get that from a YouTube video.”

Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Canon USA, SOU students are working with a higher caliber of camera equipment than ever before. The company has loaned SOU two full C500 Mark II camera packages with cinema lens kits, providing students the opportunity to work with professional-grade gear as they develop their skills. Students who successfully complete the Crew Experience are eligible to receive SOU’s new micro-credential in Set Skills for Cinema Production, in recognition of their achievements.

Ashland-based producer and founder of Film Southern Oregon Gary Kout is one of the industry mentors working with Digital Cinema students in their final week of production. Kout also kicked off the term with an inspiration keynote address encouraging students to make the most of this unique opportunity.

“Filmmaking is as much a craft as it is an art, and the inner workings of a film set is an understandable mystery to those who’ve never been on one,” Kout said. “So to get a real education in film production, one has to get their hands on the gear and their bodies on a set. The Crew Experience provides this invaluable opportunity to SOU film school students that will benefit them greatly as they move into careers in the industry.”

Courtney Williams, another local writer-producer, 1st assistant director, and board member for the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) is another set mentor this term.

“Hands-on experience is one of the most valuable ways to learn filmmaking,” Williams said. “The Crew Experience is just that. Students experience rigorous planning, on-their-feet decision-making, creative-problem solving, and unexpected inspiration — what it really takes to make a movie!”

The Crew Experience has been shooting throughout the Rogue Valley this term and will continue production through Sunday, May 29. Gay said the project chosen for the Crew Experience was created specifically to pose significant production challenges for the students to overcome as a crew – such as working with a large crowd of extras during COVID and having to shoot in remote, rugged locations. The filming locations have included the Medford Railroad Park, downtown Medford, Porters Restaurant in Medford, Rogue Valley Roasting Co. coffee shop in Ashland, the Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls trails in Prospect, and a private residence in Medford.

Rick Bailey, president of Southern Oregon University, commented on the unique program. “We are very proud of the students, faculty and staff who make The Crew Experience possible,” he said. “It is a great example of interdisciplinary collaborations leading to powerful experiential opportunities for our students. Opportunities like this make Southern Oregon University a truly one-of-a-kind institution.”

Media members may contact SOU to schedule a set visit for photography and/or video interviews on Saturday, May 28, while the student crew are filming at the Medford Railroad Park.


SOU Digital Cinema launches Crew Experience

SOU Digital Cinema program launches “The Crew Experience”

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Digital Cinema program has launched its new “Crew Experience” initiative with a crowdfunding campaign through the SOU Foundation on IndieGoGo. The campaign had raised more than a third of its $6,000 goal in less than 24 hours.

Crew Experience is the benchmark project of juniors and seniors in SOU’s Digital Cinema bachelor’s degree program. Students earn 12 upper-division credits in a 10-week production immersion –leaving the classroom behind to learn on location in a professional filmmaking environment, under the supervision of faculty and industry mentors.

This year’s Crew Experience project will be “Eight and Sand,” a short film set partly in a fictional family-run theme park called Train Town. The film – a story of two half-sisters trying to honor their mother’s dying wish – will be submitted to various film festivals.

The one-of-a-kind Crew Experience immersion training will prepare students for “below-the-line jobs” – or production work – in the film and television industry. It is the only such academic program in the Pacific Northwest.

“The fact that this exists here – in southern Oregon, in a smaller school – is fantastic,” said Randy Cordray, a veteran television producer whose credits include “The Office,” in a recent interview with SOU’s The Siskiyou student newspaper.

Students in the Digital Cinema program’s Entrepreneurial Producing class have launched the crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo themselves, in cooperation with the SOU Foundation. Crowdfunding for independent cinema is considered an essential professional skill. All contributions to the campaign are considered tax-deductible donations in support of SOU’s educational mission.

Digital Cinema students will use money raised in the campaign to cast union-represented talent, secure filming locations and pay for props, set dressing and wardrobe. It will also be used to buy digital storage space, feed the cast and crew, score and license music for the film, and send the completed project to film festivals.

The Crew Experience is designed to emulate, as closely as possible, a large-scale professional production.

SOU’s Digital Cinema program offers a world-class film school education at an affordable price and with no portfolio requirement for admission. The program is hands-on, student-centered and focused on cultivating career pathways for students. “Moviemaker” magazine has named Ashland a “best place to live and work as a moviemaker” for seven consecutive years.

For more information about Crew Experience: contact Andrew Gay, an associate professor at SOU and coordinator of the Digital Cinema program, at (541) 552-6669 or digitalcinema@sou.edu.


Students working in Digital Cinema degree program

Digital Cinema promo makes it to silver screen

A video created by SOU students to promote the university’s new Digital Cinema degree program will screen before films at Coming Attractions Theatre locations across Oregon, northern California, Washington and Alaska.

“You’re always excited when your students’ work gets screened,” said Professor Andrew Gay, the program coordinator of Digital Cinema. “Usually that’s in film festivals … this is the widest audience any SOU production has ever had.”

The pre-show promo will be shown at 18 theaters, including the Varsity Theatre in Ashland, between Oct. 11 and Dec. 31. The promotion was an entirely free show of support for the Digital Cinema major from Coming Attractions.

“(The promo) was a lot of really hard work,” said Sophia Miller, an SOU alumnus who directed numerous segments of the promo. “It helped a lot of people bond across departments.”

The video was created by SOU students attending Gay’s class. He wrote the script for the promotion but the rest of the production – camera operation, acting, editing, visual effects, etc. – was handled entirely by SOU students.

“I didn’t know that (the promo would be shown in theaters). That’s really exciting because a lot of people will get to see the work we did, and it’ll bring more students to SOU and to the program,” Miller said.

The Digital Cinema degree was introduced earlier this year, and focuses on pairing traditional film school experiences with education about new forms of video media and the teaching of innovative problem-solving techniques. Learn more about the Digital Cinema degree at www.sou.edu/digital-cinema.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU Digital Cinema in studio

HECC gives green light for launch of Digital Cinema degree at SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission gave final approval today for a new Digital Cinema degree program that will begin this fall at Southern Oregon University and prepare students for careers in film and other forms of visual media.

Members of the HECC, whose approval is needed for all new degree programs at the state’s seven public universities, OK’d the SOU program (https://sou.edu/academics/digital-cinema/) without discussion. It had previously been reviewed and endorsed by both the SOU Board of Trustees and the state universities’ provosts council.

“We’re excited to finally offer a major for the students out there who are looking for a ‘film school’ education,” said Andrew Gay, the program coordinator and associate professor of digital cinema at SOU.

“But we also know that today’s student filmmakers need to be prepared for all kinds of visual storytelling careers that go beyond the traditional ‘film school’ format,” he said. “Here at SOU, students will get that immersion in both worlds — in traditional filmmaking and in new digital worlds like streaming television and virtual reality.”

The new major will build upon the success of the existing Digital Cinema concentration within SOU’s Communication major, while introducing several new courses and immersive experiences for student filmmakers – including required coursework related to innovation.

The program’s centerpiece is a new, 12-credit spring immersion called “The Crew Experience,” in which student filmmakers will spend an entire term learning on location, collaborating under the supervision of experienced professionals on the sets of a significant film projects. Students will apply and interview for their crew positions based on the experiences, skill levels and portfolios of work they have developed in preceding classes.

No other film or media program in the Pacific Northwest offers such an experiential approach to professional production training.

Curriculum for the new program was designed with input from an advisory council of current and former students, film and media industry professionals, and experienced educators in the field. It was designed with both state and regional employment trends in mind.

“Economic diversification is key to the health and wealth of southern Oregon, and the media production sector is a promising target for growth in this region, based on existing assets and infrastructure,” said State Sen. Jeff Golden, who served on the new program’s advisory council.



Magazine names Ashland among best locales to work as filmmaker

For the sixth year in a row, MovieMaker Magazine has named the scenic town of Ashland in its annual ranking of the best places to live and work as a filmmaker in the United States.

This year, Ashland placed sixth in the magazine’s Small Cities and Towns category, competing well against larger markets including New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The magazine chose Ashland due to its picturesque filming locations, such as Lithia Park and Mt. Ashland, and because of the increase in moviemakers and actors moving to the area. Film students in the region can also take advantage of the Digital Cinema curriculum in the Communication program at Southern Oregon University.

“Because Ashland is a small, connected community, our students get tremendous benefits by learning filmmaking here,” said Digital Cinema professor Andrew Gay. “Filmmakers in the region enthusiastically support our student population with internships and PA gigs, helping them build skills that transfer to sets in larger markets such as Portland and Los Angeles.”

Gary Lundgren produced the coming-of-age film “Calvin Marshall” in the Rogue Valley in 2009, and has always seen Ashland as a welcoming community for filmmakers.

“When we made ‘Calvin Marshall’ in 2007, we employed quite a few first-timers and promoted people within their departments,” Lundgren told MovieMaker magazine. “A lot of those people are still friends of ours and have careers in bigger markets now, like Portland or Atlanta.”

Lundgren tries to contribute to Ashland’s positive and welcoming vibe by hiring a few first-timers whenever he’s assembling a crew for one of his films, such as his latest project, “Phoenix, Oregon,” a comedy about two friends who open a bowling alley and pizzeria.

MovieMaker magazine is geared toward the art and business of filmmaking, and claims to be the world’s most widely read independent film magazine. It was founded in 1993 in Seattle, but is now headquartered in Burbank, California.

Story by SOU student writer Sophie Passerini