The Digital Cinema program at John Brown University encourages technological innovation while maintaining a strong artistic and academic discipline. The program is largely art oriented, with an emphasis on mastering technology in order to further students’ artistic expressions. The program prepares students to work with digital as well as conventional photographic, video and motion picture applications. Courses include photography, editing, cinematography, film theory, film production, lighting, scriptwriting and an internship.
Film is the universal cultural expression of our day. Because of its capacity to merge visual, intellectual and aural experiences together, we depend on film to interpret events in our lives and the world. The Digital Cinema major wants students to gain both foundational skills and the sensitivity to use these skills to make films that are both entertaining and purposeful. We want to produce both technicians and storytellers.
For Michael Bruner ’12, pursuing a degree in digital cinema took him out of Arkansas and into an internship in Los Angeles with Warner Brothers Studios. “The experience was amazing and like no other challenge I’ve ever had,” he said. “Going from learning about film theory in the classroom to a large production crew really helped me understand the diversity in filmmaking.”
Students receive a foundation in traditional illustration techniques, graphic design fundamentals and practical mass media skills. Faculty uses their personal filmmaking or professional experience to prepare students for the convergence of technology, art and electronic media. The program is demanding of students’ time, energy and talent with the end goal of industry-ready graduates prepared for a career in digital cinema.
Teamwork is essential to any film production, students share responsibilities as cinematographers, lighting and sound technicians, scriptwriters and editors to complete a professional-quality project. Most courses in cinema studies also include extensive film screenings. JBU's Visual Arts department has all the facilities needed to produce films at a professional level and student films have been showcased at prestigious film festivals nationwide. The department works hard to provide a professional real-world experience. And for these reasons, we believe there is no better atmosphere for purposeful filmmaking.
JBU offers hands on experience both in and out of the classrooms. Students begin building a professional portfolio, and present their work during their senior year at the Senior Cinema Screenings. Students also have the opportunity to go on a European Art Tour or a Summer Studies Trip. Professional artists are invited to lecture and display their works in the Art Gallery, which exposes students to the professional art industry and provides grounds for discussion.
“There is such a variety of personality, talents, visions and areas of expertise that digital cinema students don’t really have a stereotype,” Michael said. “We learn a lot from each other even though we are all pursuing different things.”