DEANâ€™S INTRODUCTION STEVE ANKER
The School of Film/Video is one of the worldâ€™s premiere colleges for the study and practice of the art of the moving image. As a community, we are devoted to filmmaking as a personal, independent art form.
The school is unique in that it promotes the production of all major types of film and video work: dramatic narrative, documentary, experimental live-action, character-based animation, experimental animation, multimedia, live performance, and installation.
WE OFFER FOUR PROGRAMS, EACH WITH ITS OWN HIGHLY SPECIALIZED CURRICULUM. AT THE SAME TIME, ALL FOUR SHARE AN ETHOS IN COMBINING RIGOROUS PRACTICAL TRAINING WITH THEORETICAL INQUIRY, HANDS-ON PRODUCTION WITH BOLD AESTHETIC EXPLORATION.
The Program in Film and Video provides artists with a dynamic laboratory for producing new forms of narrative, documentary and experimental work in both film and video. Our internationally renowned Programs in Experimental Animation and Character Animation give students an excellent foundation in both technique and creative thinking, and prepare them to produce work at the forefront of animated filmmaking, as well as in fields from gaming to graphic novels. The Film Directing Program focuses on fundamentals central to both cinematic storytelling and theater practice, but also calls for innovative approaches to narrative cinema. In each program, we emphasize artistic and intellectual daring and encourage all students to push the boundaries of their chosen media. As a result, graduates of the School of Film/Video have distinguished themselves in every area of independent and commercial filmmaking. Their work has been represented extensively at major festivals and museums around the world as much as it always has been in the film, television, animation and gaming industries.
THE RICHNESS OF THE CALARTS EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE IS BASED ON FOUR COMPONENTS. THE FIRST IS A BODY OF SELF-MOTIVATED, INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS STUDENTS WHO ARE READY TO BREAK NEW GROUND. THE SECOND IS AN OUTSTANDING FACULTY OF PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS AND TECHNICIANS WHO SHARE THEIR ARTISTRY AND KNOWLEDGE WITH PASSION AND GENEROSITY. THIRD IS AN EXTENSIVE INVENTORY OF FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT, WHILE FOURTH IS THE UNIQUE CROSS-POLLINATION OF THE DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES ESSENTIAL TO CALARTS. This generates a lively and stimulating creative environmentâ€”one that allows every student to expand his or her cultural experience and, in the process, become a better artist. In 2006, CalArts became the first American film school to be honored with a major retrospective exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. This unprecedented survey, TOMORROWLAND: CalArts in Moving Pictures, covered four decades of innovative film, video and animation made by CalArts students. Following a run of more than three months in New York, this exhibition next traveled to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Our students continue to present a diverse array of work at festivals in Berlin, Rotterdam, Venice, Vienna, Annecy, London, Zagreb, Ottawa, Ann Arbor and Austin, among many other venues, upholding and carrying forward the independent vision that is the hallmark of CalArts.
THIS PAGE : Stills from From A to B, by Cristina Hortiguela,
MFA Program in Film and Video
SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO OFFERING BFA PROGRAMS IN
FILM AND VIDEO EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION CHARACTER ANIMATION
OFFERING MFA PROGRAMS IN
FILM AND VIDEO EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION FILM DIRECTING
The information contained in this publication is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information about CalArts and the School of Film/Video, see calarts.edu.
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DEAN’S INTRODUCTION, Steve Anker SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO AT A GLANCE PROGRAMS FACULTY SPECIAL RESOURCES FACILITIES VISITING ARTISTS ALUMNI APPLICATIONS
SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO AT A GLANCE EMPHASIS ON INDEPENDENT VISION CalArts’ School of Film/Video offers programs that promote independent artistic and intellectual vision, and help students to develop their own personal creative voices.
EXTENSIVE FACILITIES AND THE LATEST EQUIPMENT The school offers a comprehensive selection of equipment resources, from the cutting-edge to the obscure. These include a range of 16mm, Super 16, HD, digital video and DSLR cameras; lighting kits, microphones and digital hard disk recorders; green-screen soundstages and other production studios; stop-motion animation stages; nonlinear digital editing systems as well as traditional 16mm and 35mm flatbed editing; sound recording, mixing and editing facilities; 2-D and 3-D computer animation labs; and dedicated spaces and tools for multimedia and installation. Equipment and facilities are generally available for student use around the clock.
RENOWNED FACULTY The school’s faculty consists of innovators and leaders in each specialty—film- and videomakers, animators and multimedia fine artists who have distinguished themselves at the highest levels. All faculty members are practicing professionals who can prepare students for the demands of film, video and animation production today.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SCREENING WORK The year-end Bijou Festival and a series of annual showcases held at venues across Los Angeles—including the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT)—provide forums for the public presentation of selected student works. Producers and other professionals attend these events each year. The school also works with various arts and educational institutions to arrange the screening of selected student and alumni works across the United States and abroad.
EXCEPTIONAL PEER GROUP PERSONAL ATTENTION, MENTORING
CalArts attracts some of the most talented, daring and motivated young filmmakers and artists at work today—a collection of fresh voices who, as a group, represent one of the most creative student populations in American arts education.
The low student-faculty ratio and small class sizes allow each student to work closely with members of the faculty—including a mentor who serves as that student’s artistic advisor.
COLLABORATIVE, INTERDISCIPLINARY PROJECTS CALARTS’ NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PROFILE CalArts students regularly excel in competitions such as the Student Academy Awards, the College Television Awards and other national and international showcases of student work. Students and alumni are also consistently represented in major international film festivals.
ROY AND EDNA DISNEY/CALARTS THEATER (REDCAT) REDCAT is CalArts’ downtown Los Angeles center for the presentation of innovative visual, performing and media arts. Its programming, which runs throughout the academic year, allows students to experience a wide range of experimental work by a mix of emerging artists and internationally renowned practitioners. REDCAT features an extensive film and video series curated by the School of Film/Video. Many of the filmmakers and artists who present work at REDCAT also visit the CalArts campus for lectures and workshops.
CalArts’ distinctive educational philosophy has always promoted crosspollination across all the arts. In addition to collaborations within the School of Film/Video, students are encouraged to seek out interdisciplinary projects with peers from other CalArts schools. This pool of collaborators includes fine artists, writers, actors, set and costume designers, composers, musicians, dancers and choreographers, among others.
CLOSE INTERACTION WITH VISITING ARTISTS The school invites a broad selection of leading international film- and videomakers, installation artists, animators, screenwriters, producers, critics and curators to give lectures, discuss their work, and meet with students. These visiting artists add their perspectives and visions to the expertise of the resident faculty.
SANDRA POWERS From Miami
MFA PROGRAM IN FILM AND VIDEO
As an undergraduate I was obsessed with painting— producing three or four paintings a week—mostly abstracts with touches of the macabre. I was playing with shadows; with nightmares and dreams; and using painting as an extreme expression of emotion. I tried installations, like projecting light onto paintings and different surfaces, accompanied by soundtracks. I just couldn’t stick to the static canvas. I wanted to make images that moved. “Though I made that first film by myself, I now have 15 people on crew. My work’s progressed to the point where I’m doing sync sound; I have two special effects artists; I’m working with makeup; I have a costume designer with her assistant; a boom operator, a sound mixer—and a dolly—which means I need a camera assistant to pull the focus. “What I love most about CalArts is the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration. My thesis film is based on a 16th century Latin American fairytale about the creation of the sun and moon. An incredible student composer wrote the music, and put together and conducted a 25-piece orchestra! I’m working with dancers and a choreographer from the CalArts dance school, and designers from the theater school’s costume department. By tapping into all these programs, you can create magic—pulling everybody in to do what they love. “CalArts is an amazing mix of artists who are easy to meet because everyone is eager to work. It’s a great environment if you’re open to experimenting and trying new things.
I LOVE THAT WHILE I’M DOING THEATRICAL EXPERIMENTAL FILMS, I HAVE FRIENDS IN THE DEPARTMENT WHO ARE DOING VIDEO INSTALLATIONS, DOCUMENTARIES OR STRAIGHT-UP NARRATIVES. “Everyone is doing something completely different. But there’s lots of support within the group; we all help each other and the faculty really cares about us. I meet with them four or five hours a week and I feel like I’m with my friends. Looking at my thesis audition tapes, we just sat and giggled for an hour.
RIGHT: Sandra Powers and production
stills from her film Etsa y Nantu
THIS PAGE : Stills from The Bleak, by Sandra Powers,
MFA Program in Film and Video OPPOSITE : Mixed-media pieces by Philip Vose, BFA Program in Character Animation, from the series Forest Creatures
THIS PAGE: Stills from work by Naoko Tasaka,
BFA Program in Film and Video
PROGRAMS THE SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO OFFERS PROGRAMS IN THE AREAS OF LIVE-ACTION FILM AND VIDEO, ANIMATION AND DIRECTING.
UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS LEAD TO THE BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS (BFA) DEGREE.
GRADUATE PROGRAMS LEAD TO THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS (MFA) DEGREE.
PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS ARE INVITED TO APPLY TO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
• • • •
PROGRAM IN FILM AND VIDEO (BFA, MFA) PROGRAM IN EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION (BFA, MFA) PROGRAM IN CHARACTER ANIMATION (BFA ONLY) FILM DIRECTING PROGRAM (MFA ONLY)
Coursework for these programs is drawn from more than 120 classes offered by the School of Film/Video each semester. BFA students are required to complete a minimum of 120 semester units, including a series of liberal arts/general education classes, over the course of four years (eight semesters). MFA candidates must complete 60 units during three years (six semesters) in residence, and carry out a graduate thesis project. All students also have the option of taking various elective courses offered by the CalArts Schools of Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Music and Theater. To graduate, students must fulfill all program and course requirements and pass regular faculty reviews of their artistic and academic progress.
CRITICAL STUDIES UNDERGRADUATE REQUIREMENTS Candidates for the BFA degree must complete at least 46 Critical Studies semester units as part of the overall 120 units needed for graduation. This amounts to an average of two or more Critical Studies classes per semester and represents nearly 40 percent of each BFA student’s course load over four years. Courses on film history and other subjects related to film, video and animation can fulfill a portion of this requirement. To see more detailed information about the Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements, go to calarts.edu/undergrad.
See detailed program requirements and current course listings at calarts.edu/courses. 15
FILM AND VIDEO BFA, MFA
The Program in Film and Video is designed for students who use film and video as media for personal expression and explorationâ€”those artists for whom independent film and video is a calling and not simply a mode of production. In the workshop environment cultivated by the program, each student develops and refines his or her practice as a respected member of a community of artists.
Individually and collectively, the program’s faculty is broad in its sympathies and interests. Likewise, the program actively supports and encourages a wide spectrum of personal work—from lyrical and abstract films to political or personal documentaries, from non-traditional dramatic narratives to emerging forms inspired by new media and technologies. The faculty maintains that, as filmmaker Fernando Solanas once put it, “the possibility of making a new cinema completely outside the system depends on whether or not filmmakers can transform themselves from ‘directors’ into total filmmakers. And no one can become a total filmmaker without being a film technician, without being capable of handling the production.” To enable students to understand the fundamental processes of film and video production, the first year of both the undergraduate and graduate curricula is devoted to rigorous technical training, including core workshops in 16mm film production, video production, sound production and editing. These workshops also help students to acquire a valuable set of vocational skills—abilities that can serve as a future means of financial support as graduates of the program pursue their own personal work.
The Program in Film and Video exposes students to a vast and eclectic array of work by filmmakers and artists from around the globe. The BFA program is designed to provide students with a full range of technical and practical skills, to teach them to think critically about their chosen mediums, and to guide their artistic growth as they experiment with different forms of cinematic expression. The MFA program, meanwhile, offers an intense and intellectually charged environment in which students immerse themselves in the production of new work, and hone and refine a precise language for personal articulation. Importantly, the Program in Film and Video embraces the technological changes that are broadening and democratizing access to the means of making films and videos.
S TUDENT S ARE ENCOUR AGED TO DE VELOP AND UTILIZE A L L AVA I L A B L E T O O L S A N D T ECHNOLOGIES—BOT H NE W A N D T R A D I T I O N A L— I N O R D E R TO BE T TER CONTROL THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND T H U S A S S E R T T H E M S E LV E S A S T R U LY I N D E P E N D E N T ARTISTS. Program faculty also believe that a division between “production” and “critical studies”—now prevalent in most American film schools—is detrimental to both areas of study. Critical studies classes are a vital part of the curriculum, especially during the first two years of the undergraduate program; and film and video artists are expected to know the histories and theoretical traditions of their chosen media, so that they can make fully informed artistic decisions during the development of their work.
LEFT: Production still from Etsa y Nantu,
directed by Sandra Powers
EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION BFA, MFA
This challenging course of study is designed for independent and adventurous artists who are committed to personal expression and who regard animation as a highly dynamic, ever-evolving art form. This program offers a framework in which students explore, develop and refine intellectually demanding, aesthetically progressive concepts and professional practices in their personal cinematic artmaking.
The program strives to produce versatile graduates who are able to master a wide variety of animation skills, primarily in digital film production. These skills include 2-D, 3-D and stop-motion animation, compositing, and the integration of traditional and digital techniques. In addition, the Program in Experimental Animation offers options in hand-processing, 16mm film production, optical printing, and direct animation processes. Students are also encouraged to explore installation and interactive animation techniques and production.
OVERALL, THE PROGRAM EMPHA SIZES THE DE VELOPMENT OF A FULL RANGE O F C R I T I C A L A N D C R E AT I V E T ECHNIQUES FOR P OSI T IONING G R A D U AT E S A S L E A D E R S A N D I N N O VAT O R S I N T H E F I E L D . At the advanced levels of the curriculum, students chart a more individualized course of study in consultation with their mentors, who help to custom-tailor coursework according to each studentâ€™s particular interests.
The BFA curriculum is a four-year course of study that starts with a foundation year and concludes with the completion of a final project. The MFA curriculum, which takes three years to complete, emphasizes individual creativity and prioritizes in the second and third years the conception and execution of a graduate thesis project. The Program in Experimental Animation enjoys a long-standing international reputation for excellence in innovative animation production. Its faculty, students and alumni have consistently won top awards at film festivals in the United States, Europe and Asia, and are widely credited with helping to define the art of animation as we know it today.
BELOW: Still from work by Thomas Helman,
Advanced Certificate Program in Experimental Animationâ€“Integrated Media
CHARACTER ANIMATION BFA ONLY
The internationally renowned Program in Character Animation is designed for students who seek an understanding of the art of acting animation. It provides comprehensive artistic and technical training to help each student to develop as a fully-fledged animation artist within both the traditional and computergenerated (CG) animation environments.
OPPOSITE : Cut-out silhouettes by Zesung Kang, Cindey Ching,
Kristen Campbell, Linnea Hoover and Nicole Josephianâ€”all first-year students in the Program in Character Animation. These works are derived from a Victorian-era technique for making pop-up books.
To best instruct, guide and mentor students, the program features a faculty of experienced professionals who work at the forefront of traditional, CG and independent animation. The first year of the program’s intensive four-year curriculum is devoted to courses in life drawing, color and design, storytelling and character animation—both traditional and CG. The second year takes this work to a higher level by incorporating elements such as dialogue, sound effects and music. In the third year, students typically move to the advanced level in their coursework, which can include story classes geared toward short-form traditional animation, 3-D computer animation, and specialized work in painting, illustration, graphic novels and advanced visual design. In the fourth and final year, students move up to the highest level of the core classes and can customize their curriculum according to their own specific areas of interest.
DURING THE COURSE OF THEIR STUDIES, STUDENTS DEVELOP A PROFESSIONAL-CALIBER PORTFOLIO.
In addition to its basic course requirements, the program calls on students to attend lectures, demonstrations and screenings as part of an extensive visiting artist series, which features today’s most influential lead animators, filmmakers, actors and comedians.
FILM DIRECTING PROGRAM MFA ONLY
The Film Directing Program is a three-year graduate course of study in narrative film directing. The programâ€™s chief objective is to encourage directing students to develop innovative approaches to dramatic storytelling rooted in the enduring traditions of drama that stretch from Sophocles and Aristotle to Shakespeare and Chekhov; from Murnau and Renoir to Hitchcock, Godard, Burnett and Denis.
It covers the main aesthetic and technical components of film directing, with emphasis on screenwriting, acting, scene study, and directing a one-act play. The rigorous curriculum consists of film and video production workshops, acting studios, editing classes, seminars in film history and aesthetics, scene study labs, writing workshops and other forums in which students share and examine their own experiences, hone their powers of observation, work closely with actors, develop visual strategies and discover methods for shaping stories—both invented and adapted—that are emotionally true and dramatically credible.
THIS CURRICULUM IS E N H A N C E D W I T H W E E K LY VISITING ARTIST WORKSHOPS, RANGING IN FORM FROM SCREENINGS AND LEC T URES TO CRITIQUES OF STUDENT WORK.
During the first two years in residence, students write screenplays of varying lengths, shoot short videos and films, and direct a one-act play. By the end of the first year, each student is required to propose a thesis project—usually a short film, preferably 15 to 30 minutes in length—that will be completed by the end of the third year. To meet graduation requirements, the thesis film must have a sound mix and receive unanimous approval from the student’s thesis committee. Each student works closely with his or her assigned mentor, a faculty member who is the primary guide on that student’s creative journey. All students in the Film Directing Program are also expected to support the projects of their peers by serving as actors and crewmembers.
To apply to any of the programs of the School of Film/Video, go to calarts.edu/apply. All application and portfolio instructions are listed on the CalArts application web page.
TARIQ TAPA From New York City
MFA FILM DIRECTING PROGRAM
I am an only child of divorced parents from different racial and religious backgrounds, and was raised on the Lower East Side of New York City during the ’80s, when the Mafia still controlled part of my block. Because it was unsafe, it was cheap to live there, which meant I was surrounded by many different types of people. I spent a lot of time observing their interactions in the street, and like others from that time and place, I developed the skill of imagining things several moves in advance. It also taught me to be adventurous, to go to strange places alone for extended periods. I relied on all of these traits last year when I went to Kashmir—my father’s homeland—for a year, to make a feature film alone, without a crew.
IN CONSIDERING GRADUATE SCHOOLS, I FELT THAT I WAS MISSING TWO THINGS: FORMAL TRAINING, AND A COMMUNITY OF PEERS. “I had watched and made films mostly in isolation, so I looked at the graduate film programs that seemed to have the most communal feel and rigor, and decided that only CalArts was right for me. “When I came to CalArts, I had limiting preconceptions about how to achieve the kinds of dramatic effects I wanted in my films. The faculty here helped by pointing out precisely where I had missed opportunities in editing a scene, or possible moves for the characters that I hadn’t considered—always pushing me to look deeper at the mechanics of a story, at the consequences of my casting choices, and to think 10 moves in advance when staging action for the camera. “Most other schools teach skills, which are important and are, of course, also taught at CalArts, but these are only a means to an end. There are two ways to eke out a living in the creative arts: One is by having a desirable technical skill (in post-production, for example); the other is to have a strong, original voice. You can learn technical skills almost anywhere, but I think only CalArts seeks out students with something to say and helps them find ways to say it. “CalArts is a place where even a misfit like me could learn to engage with people and with other artists. I don’t think I could’ve done that anywhere else. You’re not just encouraged to take risks here, you’re expected to. And the program helps you find the courage.
RIGHT: Tariq Tapa and stills from his MFA thesis film Zero Bridge,
an offical selection of “Orrizonti” (“Horizons”) section of the 65th Venice International Film Festival. Filmmaker magazine named Tapa as one of the “25 new faces of independent film” in the 2008 edition of its annual survey.
Dreaming of Lucid Living, a live film projection performance by Miwa Matreyek, MFA Program in Experimental Animation窶的ntegrated Media
JACKY JIANG From Jiangxi Province, China
MFA PROGRAM IN EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION
Drawing was how I expressed myself in high school, because in the Chinese educational system, almost all they teach is math, physics, and chemistry—and there are not a lot of extra-curricular activities—at least not at the school I went to. Special skills training schools, such as art schools, do exist in China, but I was not able to attend because my parents thought I should be a doctor or lawyer. Later I convinced them that I was an artist by making better art. “My early influences were just like those of American kids during the 1980s—Transformers, cartoons like He-Man and She-Ra, and Japanese anime. I first heard about CalArts when I was an undergraduate at MCAD in Minneapolis, and I heard things like, ‘Oh, you’re an animation major. You gotta go to CalArts!’
I’M MORE INTERESTED IN THE IDEA, AND IN THE EXPRESSIVE POTENTIAL OF ANIMATION, THAN IN THE ENHANCEMENT OF MY TECHNICAL SKILLS—AND MORE INTERESTED IN PERSONAL WORK THAN IN MAINSTREAM COMMERCIAL ANIMATION. “For example, I really like the work of Yuri Norstein, a Russian animator from the ’60s who is famous for his sophisticated and very intricate, multiplane, paper cut-outs—all done by hand, before computers. So, the film I’m working on now tries to take what he did in the ’60s and transform it into a 3-D computer animation—which will look very different than, say, a Pixar film, in which the characters are rendered super realistically. The idea is not to copy Norstein but to follow his path to see what I can gain from him. When the piece is finished, I will begin on a radically different path. “As an artist, I’m an explorer. I made five films at CalArts last year—a very active year for me. Some of these films are extremely experimental—like narratives without characters. I combined 3-D and live action in a five-minute piece called Jacky’s Neighbors, which is a loosely narrative tribute to early video game culture, and also a comment on the machinima subculture. Machinima is a new way of storytelling that uses video game technology and characters to generate entirely new stories. On this film I worked closely with musicians here at CalArts, which was a very good opportunity. “Another piece I made is a 24-frame loop called Elephant in Wonderland— the idea is like a moving painting; the viewer controls the speed and chooses what to look at as the loop repeats. This is completely different than a standard, linear Hollywood narrative in which the viewer has a passive role. As always, my focus is on how to tell the story creatively rather than on exploiting the latest trends in rendering. However, creative ideas are bound somewhat by technical effects, and balancing the two is part of my struggle, part of my development here at CalArts.
LEFT: Jacky Jiang and a still from Todos Los Dolores
FACULTY Steve Anker Dean
Rachelle Katz Associate Dean, Finance and Operations
Leo F. Hobaica Jr. Assistant Dean
PROGRAM IN FILM AND VIDEO
PROGRAM IN EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION
Assistant Program Director
See faculty bios online at calarts.edu/filmvideo/faculty.
PROGRAM IN CHARACTER ANIMATION
SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO TECHNICAL OPERATIONS Rachelle Katz
Cornelius Cole III
E. Michael Mitchell
Leo F. Hobaica Jr.
T. Dan Hofstedt
Associate Dean, Finance and Operations
FILM DIRECTING PROGRAM Deborah LaVine
Lee Anne Schmitt
Leo F. Hobaica Jr., assistant dean of the school, examines student work.
BIJOU FESTIVAL AND SHOWCASE SCREENINGS Each spring, the School of Film/Video holds the Bijou Festival and several showcase screenings to publicly present selected student works from all programs. Films and videos are shown at CalArtsâ€™ Bijou Theater, the Roy and Edna Disney/ CalArts Theater (REDCAT) and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Producers and other professionals in the film, television and animation industries regularly attend these events. The school also helps to arrange the presentation of selected student works at national and international venues, which, in recent years, have included the Sundance, New York, Berlin, Vienna, Venice and other major festivals, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Pompidou Center in Paris.
FILM SERIES AT REDCAT Housed inside the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles, REDCAT is a one-of-a-kind platform for the presentation of experimental and interdisciplinary work in the visual, performing and media arts. The School of Film/Video provides the programming for REDCATâ€™s film series, which includes in-person presentations by acclaimed film, video and animation artists from around the globe, as well as short festivals to cover specific topics in independent film, explore new currents in world cinema, and survey work by individual filmmakers. Among other things, these screenings have made it possible for the Los Angeles independent and alternative community to forge new connections with their international counterparts. In addition, many of the filmmakers who show work at REDCAT also visit CalArts to give lectures, conduct workshops and meet with students. See redcat.org for current film and video programs.
CENTER FOR INTEGRATED MEDIA
Integrated Media (IM) is a supplemental concentration offered by many MFA programs at CalArts and supported by the Center for Integrated Media. Advanced practitioners who wish to combine their creative work with an exploration of digital and interactive technologies are invited to apply to the MFA Program in Film and Video or the MFA Program in Experimental Animation and ask to be considered for the IM concentration. With the opening of the schoolâ€™s new Installation Space, IM students at the School of Film/Video can now make use of a dedicated gallery for the presentation of multimedia, installation and performance works. For more information, go to calarts.edu/cim or see the Center for Integrated Media brochure.
The school has several ongoing internship programs involving key film production and postproduction companies in Los Angeles. Foremost among these is the Academy Internship Program established by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This ongoing program places CalArts students in paid internship positions with commercial and independent productions.
COMMUNITY ARTS PARTNERSHIP (CAP)
CalArtsâ€™ Community Arts Partnership is a nationally recognized, award-winning program that collaborates with community art centers, youth organizations and public schools throughout Los Angeles County to provide free college-level arts education to middle and high school students. Many School of Film/Video faculty and EXCHANGE PROGRAMS AND students teach CAP workshops and classes, and INSTITUTIONAL COLLABORATIONS take part in the production of films, videos and The School of Film/Video is in the process of animated works. CAP gives participating CalArts establishing exchange programs with institutions students the paid opportunity to accumulate in France, Germany, the Czech Republic, India, valuable teaching and life experience: They share South Korea and Taiwan. In addition, the their knowledge and abilities with youth, work school has collaborated with partners such as directly with faculty artists to create innovative The Museum of Modern Art, the UCLA Film & pedagogical approaches, and test and refine Television Archive, the Latin American Cinemateca ideas about interdisciplinary art practice. of Los Angeles, the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media, and the Global Film Initiative on various projects in recent years. These collaborations include festivals, museum exhibitions, symposia and other presentations, and often feature screenings of work by CalArts students and alumni.
FIELD EQUIPMENT The school’s Equipment Cage offers a comprehensive range of film and video equipment for student use, encompassing technologies from the cutting-edge to the obscure, from underwater camera systems to portable digital stop-motion kits. This gear allows students to shoot on the school’s production stages, in front of a green screen, at home, or anywhere on location, providing them with a versatile set of tools with which to pursue any number of traditional and experimental approaches. The Equipment Cage features a wide assortment of video and film cameras, lighting kits, microphones, digital sound recorders, stereoscopic systems, and a host of video installation equipment.
SOUND STAGES AND PRODUCTION FACILITIES The School of Film/Video has four sound stages, each equipped with a full lighting grid. All four are used for classroom instruction as well as student production. A recently opened fifth space is utilized for a variety of installation and multimedia works. The largest of the school’s four production facilities/sound stages is the Black and White Studio. Outfitted with a permanent hard cyclorama, this highly flexible space is the destination for a wide range of projects that run from narrative filmmaking with full set construction to experimental video and multimedia installation work. The Louis B. Mayer Permanent Set, donated by one of the commercial studios in Los Angeles, replicates an urban home interior, complete with a simulated backyard and patio. This sound stage is used principally for classes and workshops in lighting and cinematography. The school’s Film Directing Program Studio is
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association Digital Labs
housed in the Steven Spielberg Sound Stage, which also contains a seminar room, classrooms, editing suites, and an equipment cage for production support. This space is the main venue for teaching how to direct and shoot actors in narrative work. The school’s fourth production facility, the Video Studio, combines a sound stage, control room and integrated telecine room. The sound stage features digital cycloramas with a green floor for full-field green screen work. Equipped with broadcast cameras and an array of video and audio consoles and processors, both analog and digital, this facility allows for the live mixing, combining and manipulation of signals without any degradation in quality. Professional studio routing and patching allow audio and video to be linked between rooms, including the highly specialized Videographics Lab, used for creating and manipulating video wave-forms using both audio and video sources. Some of the tools and equipment in the Videographics Lab, all comprehensively integrated, are only available in a few facilities in the country.
The latest addition to the school’s studio facilities is the Installation Space, a dedicated white cube gallery used for mounting projects in the burgeoning fields of installation and multimedia.
ANIMATION FACILITIES The school’s animation facilities include pencil test systems with Video LunchBox digital frame buffers for quick testing of drawings for immediate feedback for motion and timing. Tests can be transferred to video for further review. Some systems include computers with software for editing, combining and exporting to tape, allowing students to scan, edit and play back their handdrawn animations. Digital files can be backed up to personal hard drives or transmitted via network connection to other workstations for further work. Other key features include two Oxberry camera stands for single-frame shooting, equipped with 16mm, 35mm or DSLR camera bodies. There are additional downshooters with attached DSLRs or high-quality DV-resolution cameras.
Students also combine traditional fine art techniques with modern digital tools to create visually distinctive stop-motion animations using clay, sand, 2-D cut-outs and puppets, among other materials. The school provides three stop-motion shooting studios with lighting grids and an additional studio equipped with a computerized motion-control camera stand.
COMPUTER LABS The School of Film/Video operates several networked computer labs, each one comprehensively outfitted with an array of industry-standard hardware and software. The 2-D Animation Computer Labs provide equipment for students to produce traditionally animated films, as well as 2-D films created entirely digitally. Students can scan handdrawn animation on high-speed, large-format scanners, or draw their animation directly into the computer using graphics tablets, and then edit and manipulate their work in a variety of programs. From audio to video editing, compositing to special effects, digital painting and final output as digital movie files, these labs can meet the demands of virtually any 2-D project. They also offer color laser printing for class assignments and portfolio work, DVD authoring software for creating sample reels, and audio/video patch bays for transferring from and to a variety of media. The school maintains two 3-D Computer Animation Labs, with one serving primarily as a classroom and the other mainly as a production studio. The labs are structured around powerful 3-D computer graphic workstations running Autodesk Maya and related software such as Pixologicâ€™s Z-Brush and the Adobe Creative Suite. A PhaseSpace motion capture system and eMagin HMD are available for use with Autodesk MotionBuilder and WorldViz VR software for real-time performance animation. Additional workstations are available for scanning, painting, compositing and other image processing techniques useful in 3-D animation production. Courses and production time enable students 36
to gain incremental mastery of core CGI skills applicable to a diverse set of traditional and experimental approaches to the art of animation. The Digital Imaging/Compositing Lab is a 2-D computer animation facility designed for combining, compositing or hybridizing video, 16mm film, drawn animation, cut-out animation, puppet animation and any computer image-based project. Essential software tools in this lab, such as Adobe AfterEffects, Photoshop and Premiere, facilitate the production of film/video motion graphic image layering, visual effects creation, image collage and montage. Final project output in this lab may be to motion picture film or video. Other lab uses include the creation of composites for use in either interactive projects or as complex motion textures for 3-D computer animation models. The Multimedia Lab serves as a versatile technological hub by furnishing hardware and software for a wide range of media works, ranging from narrative, documentary and experimental pieces to installation, new genres and hybrid forms, developed for galleries, public spaces, live cinematic performance, and theatrical presentation. Much of the work carried out in this lab involves programming and the use of sensors and other hardware.
POST-PRODUCTION FACILITIES The Hollywood Foreign Press Association Digital Labs (HFPADL) serve as the schoolâ€™s non-linear editing center. These facilities feature Final Cut Pro, Pro Tools, Avid Xpress Pro HD, and Adobe software, state-of-the-art editing rooms, multiple format decks, and two teaching labs. Students receive intensive hands-on training in the HFPADL, integrating theory and creative considerations with professional craftsmanship. Students also use this facility each year to complete hundreds of professionalquality works, many of which are selected by international festivals and student competitions. CalArts continues to support traditional filmmaking, with Moviola and Steenbeck editing suites for 16mm film and a four-plate Steenbeck
for 35mm. Other key features include a dedicated room for hand-developing film; and an optical printer for rephotography of images onto 16mm and 35mm film or building composites from multiple film elements.
SOUND FACILITIES The School of Film/Video’s extensive sound facilities serve as both teaching laboratories and full-service recording and mixing studios. Students are encouraged to push the boundaries of sound design as they acquire a common audio vocabulary and the technical skills to realize any kind of soundtrack. To achieve this goal, a simplified production path is used with Sound Devices hard disk recorders for field recording and Pro Tools workstations for studio recording, editing and mixing. This tapeless system allows students to easily move between sound rooms, with all user data being maintained on a central server. The result is arguably the most eclectic sound facility at an American film school—one that supports a huge range of aesthetic possibilities, from low-tech consumer electronics to state-of-the-art 5.1 surround mixes. In addition to manipulating original sounds, students have access to more than 300 hours of sound effects and music, which can be downloaded from any editing or mixing room. All thesis soundtracks are supervised by sound faculty, beginning at the pre-production stage. This guidance ensures that each soundtrack is developed successfully throughout the entire production process.
LIBRARY RESOURCES A large collection of 16mm films, videos, DVDs and laserdiscs is available in Film Services, which is part of CalArts’ Division of Library and Information Resources. Film Services also provides viewing facilities. The collection contains materials that illustrate artistic output in a wide variety of media, as well as some 40 years of faculty and student work.
CHANNEL 8 CLOSED-CIRCUIT TELEVISION Channel 8, CalArts’ closed-circuit, studentoperated cable system, can be viewed in dormitory rooms, the Library, the cafeteria and various lounges. It serves as a valuable showcase for film and video work by both students and faculty.
BIJOU THEATER The 125-seat Bijou Theater is CalArts’ main screening facility. It features a high-quality video projector and both 16mm Eastman and 35mm Xenon projectors as well as DVD, laserdisc, DVCAM, Betacam SP, 3/4-inch and VHS equipment.
RIGHT: The school’s Video Studio
DONOVAN VIM CRONY From Bakersfield, California
BFA PROGRAM IN FILM AND VIDEO
I’m interested in smart comedies and camp, and grittier science fiction. My favorite filmmakers are Fred Dekker (Monster Squad) and Keita Amemiya (Zeram). Rock-and-roll is another big part of my life—I play guitar, bass, drum machine, and lots of electronic music. I also host a rock variety TV show called The Gaze that is shot here in the Video Studio and aired on the Internet. I’ve done eight 30-minute episodes—I book the bands; they each perform two songs and I interview them. “The film faculty at CalArts is amazing. They give great feedback, and they’re good people. I just finished writing a script for a feature-length science fiction film. It’s aimed toward children, but it is very mature—which is how I see kids.
I WANT TO GIVE THEM A KIND OF EXPERIENCE THAT IS FUN, BUT ALSO INCLUDES SOME DEEP MESSAGES ABOUT LOSS AND RELATIONSHIP. “Hopefully, they can watch it as kids, and then see it again as adults and think, ‘Wow, that was, and still is, an amazing film!’ That’s been my experience watching some of the shows I saw on television as a kid—seeing that they were ahead of their time; that they had some things in them that I didn’t get when I was younger. I love that.
RIGHT: Donovan Vim Crony and stills from The Gaze
THIS PAGE : Stills from Zero Bridge, written,
directed, photographed and co-edited by Tariq Tapa, MFA Film Directing Program. The film was shot on location in Kashmir. OPPOSITE : Stills from Todos Los Dolores, by Jacky Jiang, MFA Program in Experimental Animation
DESTINY WOOD From Los Angeles
BFA PROGRAM IN CHARACTER ANIMATION
I grew up watching animated films, Disney films. I didn’t know if I wanted to work with animals or do animation. I liked both. I always drew and people told me that my drawings were good, so I just kept making them. Then I saw The Lion King and I thought, ‘Whoa—creating animals!’ I love animation because it’s magical; it’s alive; it moves. The characters have personalities; they appear to be thinking individuals. I first heard about CalArts when I was 14, in junior high. I spent the summer here through CSSSA [California State Summer School for the Arts] and I fell in love with the school. I thought, ‘I just have to come here.’ “My first year was difficult. I would do an assignment and think it was pretty good, and then see everyone else’s, and realize how much better theirs were. It was intimidating.
WHAT I REALIZED OVER TIME IS THAT EVERYONE HAS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, AND YOU JUST NEED TO IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTH, KEEP WORKING AT IT, AND BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO AROUND THAT. “Some people are really good at composition and design; I’m not. My strength is in acting animation— making the characters move and think. Students come here to learn animation and end up doing many different things; some people just want to work with story—they love storyboarding. One of my friends just wants to plan out a whole film on boards and pitch it; he enjoys telling his own stories and improving others’ stories. The teachers too—each has an area of special interest and is expert in that. “When you’re out working in the industry, not everyone is going to be able to show the characters they’ve created. At school it’s different. You get the chance to be all you. People from the industry often come to CalArts and advise students to ‘take advantage of being here because this is the time you get to do what you want to do, and not what someone else is telling you to do.’ I totally understand that.
LEFT: Destiny Wood and a set of her character studies
VISITING ARTISTS To ensure that students have the opportunity to examine the widest possible cross-section of contemporary practices in the art of the moving image, the School of Film/Video regularly invites leading film- and videomakers, animators, media and installation artists, screenwriters, and producers to share their experience and insights with students through lectures, workshops, discussions and other presentations. In the past several years, visiting artists have included the following:
PROGRAM IN FILM AND VIDEO Chantal Akerman
Patrick and Michèle Bokanowski
Shu Lea Cheang
Trinh T. Minh-ha
Kevin Jerome Everson Su Friedrich
The Speculative Archive: Julia Meltzer and David Thorpe
Thomas Allen Harris
PROGRAM IN EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION Bruce Bickford
Solweig von Kleist
John Whitney Jr.
PROGRAM IN CHARACTER ANIMATION
FILM DIRECTING PROGRAM
Jill and Samantha Sprecher
Glen Keane Bob Kurtz John Lasseter Robert Lence
PROGRAM IN FILM AND VIDEO Beth Bird (MFA 03) Q. Allan Brocka (MFA 01)
Alumni of the School of Film/Video include:
Bill Brown (MFA 97) Sean Daniel (BFA 73) Dane Davis (BFA 81) Rodney Evans (MFA 96) David Fenster (MFA 04) Robert Fenz (MFA 02) William E. Jones (MFA 90) Carole Kim (MFA 01) Gina Kim (MFA 99) Hyunkyung Kim (MFA 04) Joel Lam (MFA 01) Lin Li (MFA 01) James Mangold (BFA 85) M. David Mullen (MFA 91) Deborah Stratman (MFA 95) Tamara Tracz (MFA 02) Naomi Uman (MFA 98) Christopher Wilcha (MFA 98)
PROGRAM IN EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION
PROGRAM IN CHARACTER ANIMATION
FILM DIRECTING PROGRAM
Peter Chung (81)
Henry Anderson (BFA 88)
Katie Ackerman (MFA 00)
Eric Darnell (MFA 90)
Mark Andrews (BFA 93)
Asitha Amereseker (MFA 98)
Paul Demeyer (MFA 77)
Jeremy Bernstein (BFA 03)
Lorette Bayle (MFA 99)
Stephen Hillenburg (MFA 92)
Brad Bird (76)
Darine El-Khatib (MFA 05)
Glen Keane (74)
Dave Bossert (BFA 83)
Markus Engel (MFA 98)
Jung-Ho Kim (MFA 04)
Tim Burton (79)
Timuรงin Esen (MFA 01)
Mark Kirkland (BFA 78)
Brenda Chapman (BFA 87)
Jonathan Evans (MFA 02)
Amy Kravitz (MFA 86)
Pete Docter (BFA 90)
Rachel Goldberg (MFA 00)
Mark Osborne (BFA 92)
Ralph Eggleston (86)
Mark Gould (MFA 98)
Joanna Priestley (MFA 85)
Morgan Kelly (BFA 03)
Darren Herczeg (MFA 06)
Christine Panushka (MFA 88)
Chris Larson (BFA 92)
Xuan Jiang (MFA 07)
Kathy Rose (MFA 74)
John Lasseter (BFA 79)
Joon Kwon Kim (MFA 02)
Jen Sachs (MFA 01)
Craig McCracken (92)
Yun-Cheol Kim (MFA 04)
Henry Selick (MFA 77)
John Musker (77)
Cy Kukenbaker (MFA 04)
Steve Subotnick (BFA 84, MFA 86)
Randy Myers (92)
Waleed Moursi (MFA 03)
Brian Tan (BFA 05)
Mike Nguyen (88)
David Nordstrom (MFA 05)
David Wilson (MFA 76)
Shane Prigmore (99)
April Scott-Goss (MFA 99)
Ben Zelkowicz (MFA 02)
Carlos Ramos (BFA 97)
Maneesh Sharma (MFA 04)
Andy Schuhler (BFA 98)
Reginald Spangler (MFA 02)
Andrew Stanton (BFA 87)
Jigyasa Taneja (MFA 03)
Gary Trousdale (82)
Antonio Tibaldi (MFA 87)
J.J. Villard (BFA 04)
Andrew Tsao (MFA 90)
Penn Ward (BFA 05) Kirk Wise (CER 85) Niki Yang (BFA 03) Milla Zeltzer (BFA 03)
To apply to the CalArts School of Film/Video, go to calarts.edu/apply. All application and portfolio instructions are listed on the CalArts application web page.
RIGHT: Digital Oxberry camera stand
BFA 4 READINGS. INSET TOP : Student Name, Student Name, Student Name, Student Name. ABOVE AND LEFT: Student Name, Student Name, Student Name.
TOP : Stop-motion animation shoot TOP RIGHT: Stills from La Voz, by Cristina
Hortiguela, MFA Program in Film and Video RIGHT: Still from Storm Tiger Mountain, by Scott Cummings, MFA Film Directing Program
THIS PAGE : Stills from work by Naoko Tasaka,
BFA Program in Film and Video OPPOSITE, FROM TOP: Two animation stills by Una Lorenzen, MFA Program in Experimental Animation; and a drawing by Philip Vose, BFA Program in Character Animation
ABOVE : Video stills from the opening title sequence
of The Gaze, by Donovan Vim Crony, BFA Program in Film and Video BELOW : Still from The Elephant in Wonderland, by Jacky Jiang, MFA Program in Experimental Animation OPPOSITE : Stills from Jackyâ€™s Neighbors, by Jacky Jiang