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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


SBU helps students learn the ins and outs of the film business

Stony Brook is looking to offer a quality graduate film program to students at an affordable price. The university has teamed up with award-winning film producer Christine Vachon to create the program. (PHOTO CREDIT: STONYBROOK.EDU)

Stony Brook University has teamed up with Christine Vachon, American film producer of close to 80 films, including the award-winning independent romantic drama “Boys Don’t Cry,” to create a new graduate film program.

Perhaps the greatest perk of the new program is that students can receive a new, quality learning experience comparable to that of other New York film schools without breaking the bank. Costs for the graduate program are less than $30 thousand for New York state residents, much cheaper than competitor schools.

The aim of this new graduate program is to match the reality of the film business today. Different master classes and workshops will be available to students at both the Southampton and Manhattan campuses. Killer films, a New York-City based independent film production company that was founded in 1995 and has since produced a number of respected films, such as “Far from Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” will utilize the facilities on both sites to create learning labs for students enrolled in the program.

During the semester independent film-makers will mentor the students to teach them the ins and outs of the film business.

“We’ve seen a great increase in interest in the film program since partnering with Vachon and Pamela Koffler of Killer films,” Magdalene Brandeis, producer, novelist and director of Manhattan Programming, said.

According to Brandeis, the high interest in film careers has been prominent for a long time, but Stony Brook did not offer a graduate program in digital filmmaking, until now.

The original class the Stony Brook Manhattan campus offered was named the Killer Masterclass and featured both Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler. The workshop focused on how to make a movie.

When this class filled to capacity, the faculty created the summer program, “20/20/20.” The initial idea was for 20 students make 20 short films in 20 days. However, faculty has been able to expand their production component from 20 days to two semesters. This sequence of the students filming, editing and making their own films is part of the first phase of the program, the production intensive.

As part of this new program, this fall in Manhattan, Stony Brook is offering a series of semester-long master courses, including courses for directors and producers and a screenwriting workshop.

Second-year graduate students who have completed the production-intensive portion of the program will get the opportunity to work together to create an episode series.

Brandeis expresses her excitement for all of the new opportunities given to students through the graduate film program. Other faculty who are involved with the program were unable to comment in time for this publication, however, more information about Stony Brook’s new graduate film program is to come.

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