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New CineMedia program gains exposure at screening event

Andrew Tsao

Andrew Tsao -

Andrew Tsao, head of the CineMedia department, talks about the new program at a screening of student films Tuesday night in Miller Hall.

Photo by Anastasia Stepankowsky

Evelyn Osborn knew she was interested in making films, but she couldn’t seem to find a major at the UW that fit her needs. So, she created one two years ago.

Last night, students involved in UW’s new CineMedia program hosted a film screening event and Q&A session to inform students and faculty about this potential new major.

“It’s drama focused,” Osborn said about the program. “It’s not just film and technical stuff, but we’re really focused on learning to work with actors and coming at it from more of a directing point of view.”

The CineMedia program is currently considered an individualized study major, which is a way for students to combine classes from different programs to create their degree. To create the program, Osborn combined classes from various disciplines, including cinema studies, English, digital arts and experiment media (aka DXARTS), and drama.  

Tyler Brown, a junior in the CineMedia program who organized last night’s event, hopes to see the program become its own major in the near future.

“I’ve always known I was interested in film, but there was no in-state film production programs in the state of Washington when I came to UW,” Brown said. “I made it my goal to ensure people in the state of Washington would have a place to study film without having to pay out-of-state tuition.”

Although it’s still only a pilot program, CineMedia is quickly generating interest. Last night’s screening was a way to reach out to potential new students who may not have otherwise heard about the program.

“This is the first real event where we’re really promoting ourselves to the public,” Brown said.

Andrew Tsao is the head of the drama department at the UW and has taken on the CineMedia program as well. He explained at the event how each program works together to create films. Filmmakers typically use students from the drama program as actors in their films.

“It’s great for all the departments because they build relationships,” Tsao said. “They work together, and they all start to share a common language.”

One of the short films Osborn created for the program, called “Cloud Scratching,” was featured in the screening. The film was 12 minutes long and took her two days to shoot after a quarter of writing and pre-production and a quarter dedicated to shooting.

Eric Schofhauser was one of two students who graduated from the CineMedia program last spring. His 25-minute thesis film was featured at the end of the screening event. The thesis serves as the culminating project for the program and is the product of three quarters of writing, pre-producing, and shooting.

“I really enjoyed the CineMedia program because it was a really well-rounded program, even in its pilot phase, because you have to learn how to write, direct, produce, and act, whereas in other film schools it’s maybe just one thing,” Schofhauser said. 

At the end of the event, interested students had the opportunity to ask Tsao questions about the CineMedia program or write down their contact information to learn more details about getting involved.

There are eight students currently enrolled in the program, and according to Brown, it’s only planning on accepting 20.

“We’re looking for students who are really passionate about making movies,” Brown said. “It’s not an easy field, but it’s a field that can be extremely rewarding.”

However, the program is always looking for students who want to get involved, whether they are planning on majoring in the CineMedia program or not.

“We need engineering students to help build props, and we need business students to help market,” Brown said. “I think this is why CineMedia can thrive because there’s people in all different areas of research needed to make a successful production and we have access to some of the best students.”

Osborn, Schofhauser, and Brown all agree that the program has allowed them to achieve their goals in learning about filmmaking and being able to produce their own work through different mediums.

“I get to see my dreams become reality,” Brown said. “As cheesy as it sounds, it’s really satisfying to get see yourself put in all this effort, all this work and then see some idea you had effect people emotionally. I’m really excited about it because it’s a way for me to express emotion — it’s the storytelling medium of the future.”

Reach reporter Kaylan Lovrovich at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @kaylanlov

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