Film FSP in Los Angeles to begin in 2014
By Karna Adam And Stephanie Mc Feeters, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 15, 2013
Starting next winter, students will have the chance to live and learn in the center of the American media industry. A new film and media studies program in Los Angeles, subject to final approval by the College, will provide 16 students hoping to follow in the footsteps of filmmaker Shonda Rhimes ’91 with the chance to learn about the film industry and connect with professionals in the field.
Participants will complete an independent research project for course credit in addition to taking two classes, Topics in Television and Race and Place and Los Angeles Media. The FSP will emphasize media industry studies, providing context for students considering both film internships and archival research projects.
“The opportunities in L.A. for original and primary research in film and media studies, and the opportunities to have direct interface with media artists are perhaps unprecedented in this country,” film FSP head professor Mark Williams said.
As part of the required courses for the FSP, students will participate in an independent study program and will pursue a related internship.
Students will travel across California to visit archival museums and production sites as part of the film history course.
In Los Angeles, the film department will use Ithaca College’s classrooms, which are in walking distance from many major production companies, Williams said.
The film department has not yet finalized the FSP’s production projects, since media productions are often prone to change. The department will pursue the most relevant projects next winter, Williams said.
“The opportunities are absolutely dynamic. You can’t assume that X, Y and Z will happen,” he said.
Film students look forward to the chance to study in a center of U.S. film production.
“L.A. is the place to go if you want to be a filmmaker,” film and media studies major Alex Stockton ’15 said.
Offering a program in Los Angeles is a good decision for Dartmouth because it has a strong film program but is disconnected geographically from the industry, Stockton said. Participants can use extensive academic libraries for research and make connections with media professionals, and potentially come out with job opportunities, he said. Stockton is currently working with members of the Dartmouth Alumni in Entertainment Media, who are excited to lend a hand to program participants.
Stockton, who attended the Edinburgh FSP last summer, said the two programs provide different experiences for film students.
While the Los Angeles FSP is focused predominantly on research, the Edinburgh program is more production-oriented, focuses on international films and offers students the chance to develop filmmaking skills.
The first film FSP to Edinburgh was held last summer and the film department hopes to continue it in addition to launching the Los Angeles program.
While the Edinburgh FSP gave students a chance to study in a foreign environment, the Los Angeles FSP will allow students to make important connections and build a foundation for their careers, said Eddie Zapata ’14, a film and media studies major and Edinburgh FSP participant.
“In the film industry a lot of it comes down to contacts,” he said.
The film department has just begun advertising the new offering.
“We’ve received one or two emails about it, but neither of them have been very detailed,” film and media studies major Jeremy Thibodeau ’14 said.