The newly implemented Digital Cinema undergraduate program at SOU is nearing the end of its first term.
Last April, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission approved a Digital Cinema major at SOU to be launched in Fall 2019. The plan for the new major is to build upon the pre-existing Digital Cinema concentration within the Communication major while delving deeper into filmmaking education. The curriculum for the new program was designed with input from film industry professionals, experienced educators in the field, and current/former students of the Digital Cinema concentration. Some new features of the program include a year-long Capstone film project for seniors, and a 12-credit “Crew Experience” course where students will spend their whole term working in a dedicated role on the full-time set of a film project. Digital Cinema professor Andrew Gay designed the new curriculum with input from SOU instructor Christopher Lucas, Digital Media Center director Brandon Givens, and Communication professor Erik Palmer. Gay said, “I am thrilled to see the new Digital Cinema major come to life for the students who have wanted a major to call their own.”
Although many students previously studying the Digital Cinema concentration have transitioned into the Digital Cinema major, this is the first term that the new major’s catalog has been available. Speaking on the success of the first term, Gay commented, “In our first term, we have beat our enrollment targets and generally filled classes more quickly than we anticipated. Some of the most exciting things are yet to come – the Crew Experience, the films from our first year-long Capstone, etc. – but we’re off to a great start.”
Incoming students to the program have already reflected positive experiences. Sophomore DCIN student Tabitha Wheeler came to SOU to play soccer but found an unexpected community within the major. Tabitha says, “Everyone I have met this past year shares the same passion as I do, and the creative environment I have been able to immerse myself in has been nothing less than inspiring.” Cece Manning, a freshman, came to SOU as a self-described “beginner” in the film industry. “Surprisingly, I’ve got a lot of experience as a freshman… I’ve learned how to work cameras at live events. I also had the opportunity to work on a Capstone for a student here. A lot of them were opportunities that I didn’t think a freshman could have on their first go-around.”
The program is just getting started, but instructors and students have high hopes for the future. Andrew Gay says, “I hope to see us grow and add faculty, but mostly, I want to see our students’ films show up at film festivals around the world. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing your students’ work screen in front of a theater audience.”