A new partnership between the Film Institute at Montclair State and the New York Film Critics Series (NYFCS) allowed 18 advanced filmmaking students to capitalize on a unique opportunity to direct and produce segments featuring some of today’s top filmmakers. In the process, they gained valuable hands-on experience in researching, interviewing, writing and editing original programming.
The program is the brainchild of Susan Skoog, director of programming for the Film Institute at Montclair State and lead instructor of the Advanced Film Workshop course.
Using storytelling and production skills honed in the School of Communication and Media’s Filmmaking program, the students began working in September with the NYFCS, which screens movies before their release dates at leading independent cinemas nationwide. Peter Travers, film critic for Rolling Stone and ABC’s Popcorn, and Alison Bailes of BBC.com and WOR Radio moderated the events. According to Skoog, the partnership not only provided students the opportunity to create original film-based content, but it also gave them a chance to meet and interact with some of today’s leading filmmakers, including Loving producer Peter Saraf, La La Land writer/director Damian Chazzelle and 20th Century Women producer Anne Carey.
“They shot interviews and live Q&A’s during NYFCS events at area cinemas,” says Skoog of the students. “They also conducted a few interviews on campus with Film Forum guests.”
“What excited me most was being able to gain real-life work experience while working with a professional production crew,” says student Stephanie Garcia. “The icing on the cake was being able to watch films before anyone else.”