UArizona School of Theatre, Film & Television Named a Top 50 Film School by The Wrap
This is the fourth year the school made the rankings, which come from a poll of more than 2,000 industry leaders, educators and experts.
The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film & Television is again ranked among The Wrap's Top 50 Film Schools in the U.S., coming in at No. 26.
The Wrap is the leading digital news organization covering the business of entertainment and media. The rankings are determined by a poll of more than 2,000 entertainment industry leaders, educators, deans, filmmakers and film commentators, along with experts tasked with evaluating each school.
"We are delighted to again be acknowledged in the latest rankings," said school director Andrew Belser. "It means a lot, particularly in this unprecedented year, when we have gathered around our students to sustain their learning and careers, including calling on film (and) TV industry leaders who are alumni to work with and support them. This recognition also affirms our growth in bringing advanced film technology into our school, so we can teach toward the new industry standard creative processes. As the world of film and television are also telling more diverse stories and promoting new layers of inclusion, we are also committed to preparing our students for an increasingly rich cultural world. We are thrilled to be recognized by The Wrap as a rising program amidst a powerful group of film, TV and media schools."
In a year beset by a pandemic, The Wrap focused on the School of Theatre, Film & Television's nurturing educators and industry-leading alumni and families.
In the wake of COVID-19, the school's tightknit community rallied to support student filmmakers in the class of 2020. For example, professor and filmmaker Lisanne Skyler reached out to her collaborator Scott Weber, an Emmy Award-winning sound mixer who worked on "Westworld" and "Lost." Using Zoom and Source Connect, Weber created a virtual mixing platform, connecting UArizona student filmmakers to his Burbank studio and allowing them to professionally complete their films for the school's beloved I Dream in Widescreen annual film showcase. The showcase, which normally fills the historic Fox Tucson Theatre, was held online this year.
When it was announced that I Dream in Widescreen would have to migrate to the school's YouTube channel, UArizona alumni rallied to help create a digital film festival to celebrate their alma mater's next generation of filmmakers. The two-day event was kicked off by UArizona alumnus and Netflix Head of Original Film Scott Stuber.
During the event – which was organized by Skyler, professor Beverly Seckinger, advancement director Kerryn Negus and associate marketing specialist Jordan Lorsung – online audiences listened to conversations with UArizona alumni about career, craft and life in a COVID-shaken industry. Participants included UArizona alumni Lindsay Utz, editor of the Academy Award-winning feature documentary "American Factory;" Tyler Gillett, director of "Scream 5;" Mike Plante, a Sundance Film Festival programmer; Brad Slater, a partner with the William Morris Endeavor Agency; Eyde Belasco, a casting director who worked on "Sorry to Bother You" and "Transparent;" and YouTuber Darious Britt.
While creating their own films and learning the business, students in the UArizona School of Theatre, Film & Television get real-world experience interning on faculty productions and publications, such as Skyler's HBO film "Brillo Box (3¢ Off)" and associate professor Jacob Bricca's upcoming book "How Documentaries Work," from Oxford University Press. Students also develop original film and television pitches under the guidance of writer, producer and associate professor of practice Shane Riches.
"The School of Theatre, Film & Television has taught me a lot, mainly about what it really takes to make a good film," said 2020 graduate Adrian Meyer. "We may not be the biggest school out there, but when you look at the films that have come out of this program in the last 10 years you realize that it doesn't need to be. A good story and a little savvy go a long way."
Alumni from the school have also led by example on social initiatives in the age of COVID-19. For example, alumna and showrunner Sierra Ornelas ("Superstore," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Rutherford Falls") created the #Donation4NavajoNationChallenge. Within weeks, her campaign delivered over $250,000 for medical supplies, personal protective equipment and other lifesaving essentials to Navajo people.
A version of this story originally appeared on the School of Theatre, Film & Television Website.
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University of Arizona in the News