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You’ve always been captivated by the moving image: whether it’s Film, Television, Video or Animation. But now you’re ready to do more than just watch: you want to produce your own work for the screen.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Filmmaking encourages and equips students to realize their artistic and career visions through observation, imagination, storytelling, and technical skills. Courses in directing, editing, cinematography, screenwriting and production prepare you to produce imaginative, professional, critically appreciated narrative, documentary, and experimental films.
Filmmaking embraces everything involving the moving image, including documentary and fictional blockbuster hits, cutting edge television, visionary independent films and edgy experimental work. As a Filmmaking BFA major, you will be encouraged to develop your personal vision and creative voice by producing works in various genres, culminating in your industry calling card: the senior year thesis film project. From your first day here, you will learn, practice and develop the skills that will prepare you for success in a rapidly growing industry.
Filmmaking is about telling stories. And, visual storytelling is at the foundation of the BFA in Filmmaking at Montclair State University. Our intensive conservatory style progression of course work gives our filmmaking majors a powerful foundation in the concepts of story. We know that everyone involved in the filmmaking process, be it the producer, director, cinematographer, production designer, gaffer, to the editor, must have a solid grasp of how to convey a powerful story.
The Filmmaking BFA at Montclair State is supported by a liberal arts and humanities curriculum that will develop your critical thinking skills and foster a global perspective for determining filmmaking subject matter. Courses in communication and media arts will prepare you for success in an evolving industry. To enhance career options after graduation, we intentionally correspond our course content to the needs of the filmmaking industry by hiring working professionals to teach courses and by offering practice-oriented seminars, the Film Institute at Montclair State screening and speaker series, and internships throughout the world. Our proximity to New York City – just 12 miles away by train – means students have opportunities to visit working film and television sets, as well as studios and post production houses.
As a Filmmaking major, you will learn about the art of the moving image through introductory and advanced level courses that teach film history, screenwriting, directing, production, sound recording, cinematography and film editing. Our intensive conservatory style program means that freshman begin making films their very first semester and continue to sharpen and refine their skills by producing original films every year. Senior-year students develop thesis level projects culminating in an ‘industry calling card’ ready film. Coursework on the film business focuses the financing, marketing, and distribution of films so students are equipped to enter the industry. Small classes are taught by a faculty of professional filmmakers and artists who are skilled in up-to-the moment filmmaking practices and provide instruction on cutting edge industry-standard equipment and software. You will also have access to invaluable experiences through internship and cooperative education opportunities.
For more information about the Filmmaking BFA:
Through the Filmmaking program, you will study with full-time faculty, adjuncts and visiting guest artists, including renowned filmmakers and film critics who bring impressive credentials in the production and post-production of documentary, live action and feature-length films. Filmmaking BFA faculty are active filmmakers whose works have been shown in the US and abroad at film festivals like Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, and Venice as well as television stations like HBO, Showtime, Bravo, A&E, PBS and WNET.
Co-Coordinator of Filmmaking BFA: Tony Pemberton, Director, Producer
Daily Variety cited Tony Pemberton as One of Ten Directors to Watch when his first feature film Beyond the Ocean premiered in the Dramatic Competition in the Sundance Film Festival 2000. It was nominated for a Grand Jury award, and received the Princess Grace Foundation Statue Award 2000.
Currently Pemberton has many new projects in the works such as “Buddha’s Little Finger” an adaptation of the novel by Victor Pelevin to be produced by Karsten Stöter (“Russian Ark”) and Pemberton is also the head of the filmmaking program at Montclair State University.
His projects have been awarded funding from The Princess Grace Foundation Monaco, the Jerome Foundation, Arts Matters, New Jersey State Council of the Arts, and CEC Arts Link. He is a graduate from the State University of New York at Purchase with a BFA in film in 1990, as well as the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts: Bard College with an MFA in film in 1993.
Co-Coordinator of Filmmaking BFA: Roberta Friedman, Producer
Roberta Friedman’s projects have ranged from the commercial, such as her work for George Lucas on Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back specializing in sparks, matte work, and swords, to the experimental, such as the interactive video The Erl King, the first interactive art piece, which was acquired by the Guggenheim Museum for its permanent collection. She worked with Michael Moore on “The Awful Truth,” his weekly documentary series for Bravo Channel and Britain’s Channel 4 in the U.K.
Beth B produced, directed & edited Exposed. She also shot much of the film, and, with composer Jim Coleman, wrote several of the musical numbers. Beth B exploded onto the New York underground scene in the late ‘70s, after receiving her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1977, creating installation art works and directing Super-8 films. Controversial and political in approach and content, these breakthrough films, such as Black Box, Vortex, and The Offenders, were shown at Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s and the Film Forum. These and more recent films have also been shown at, and acquired by, the Whitney Museum and MoMA. Her early films, along with those of Jim Jarmusch and Amos Poe, are the focus of a new documentary, Blank City. Her films and artwork have been the subjects of several books and other documentaries, including The Cinema of Transgression; Art, Performance, Media; and No Wave: Underground 80. Beth B’s career has been characterized by work that challenges society’s conventions, and that focuses on recasting and redefining images of the female and male mind and body.
Beth Baur, Director and Teacher, has been a professional actor for over 25 years and has worked with such luminaries as Tommy Tune, George Burns and Lanford Wilson. She has performed in national tours, Off-Broadway, regional theatre and has done over 200 network commercials and corporate industrial films, as well as voice-overs and print. Beth has also been a theatre educator for over 20 years. She founded a Theatre for Young Audience’s company called “The Make-Believables” and created the children’s touring company “The Great Pretenders”. In addition to this, she is an adjunct professor in acting for the film department at Montclair State University. Beth has also been a theater critic and instructor at the annual Morris County Teen Arts Festival. She directed the independent film, REEL WOMEN. Beth received her BFA at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University and was selected to be included in that year’s “Who’s Who of American Colleges”.
Derrick Cameron is a native of Chicago, IL. He graduated from Morehouse College in 2000 with a B.A. in history. He attended the Graduate Film Conservatory at Florida State University, where he graduated in 2002 with a M.F.A. degree in Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts.
While in graduate school, Derrick wrote and directed two acclaimed short films entitled “The Man” and “Caroline.” “Caroline,” which screened at the Toronto Film Festival, San Francisco Black Film Festival, and on the RAI channel in Italy. Derrick also produced three short films, most notably the short film “ANTS,” which won first place in the comedy category at the 2003 College Television Awards and screened at the Cannes Film Festival, both of which Derrick attended. Derrick also wrote and directed the 2008 feature film, “Right on Louise.” His latest short film “Cherry Hook” is currently on the festival circuit. Derrick has published several articles about the importance of creative education for young artists.
Marya Cohn, Writer/Director
Marya Cohn’s film The Girl in the Book was released in 2015 and is currently available on Netflix Amazon and itunes. She is developing a new film called Sunny Day Flooding, which is set in Louisiana during hurricane season.
Foley Artist Marko Costanzo is at his best when a film script describes a sound that conveys an emotion, such as placing a glass down ‘fearfully’. Finding the sound, which perfectly evokes the emotion emphasized on screen, is where the artistry rests. Costanzo follows in the footsteps of sound innovator Jack Foley who’s time honored craft blended with his own brand of infusing sounds with emotion, giving these sounds character, thus bringing them to life.
Professor Thomas A. Crowell, Esq.
Professor Crowell is a production attorney and law partner in the law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP, his practice areas include film, television, comic book publishing, music, and the graphic arts. His client’s films and programs have appeared on virtually all major cable networks and his comic book creator clients have created some of the most recognizable superheroes in the world.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Professor Crowell was the executive producer and head of development for the Science/Technology Network. He has managed post-production facilities, servicing Disney, Sony, and Paramount and other major studios. As an assistant literary agent, Professor Crowell has written script coverage and worked with several Academy Award nominated screenwriters.
Professor Crowell is the author of both the best-selling guide for producers, “The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers” (Focal Press, 2ed. 2011), and the first dedicated legal guide for the comic book industry: “The Pocket Lawyer for Comic Book Creators” (Focal Press 2014). He is the Director from Practice, emeritus, of The Indie Film Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the Executive Director, emeritus, of the NJ Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Thomas received his B.F.A. in Film/Television Production from N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts and his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he graduated cum laude, Order of the Coif. He is admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
For more about Prof. Crowell, please see thomascrowell.com
Janet Cutler, Head of Film Minor, Film Studies Professor
Film studies with an emphasis on American independent film (documentary and avant-garde; African American cinema; films on and about artists). Book: Struggles for Representation: African American Documentary Film and Video, co-edited with Phyllis Klotman, Indiana University Press, 2000. Recent publications: “Su Friedrich: Rewriting the Rules,” a chapter in Women’s Experimental Cinema, edited by Robin Blaetz, Duke University Press, 2007; “Don’t Say Mammy: Camille Billops’s Meditations on Motherhood,” a chapter in Motherhood Misconceived, co-edited by Heather Addison, Mary Kate Goodwin-Kelly, and Elaine Roth, SUNY Press, 2009; “Reclaiming the Black Family: Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, and the L.A. Rebellion,” a chapter in The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film, 2012. Currently working on an essay on filmmaker Charles Burnett for the Oxford Bibliography Cinema Studies project.
Screenwriter Greg DePaul wrote the movie Bride Wars, starring Anne Hathaway, which grossed $115 million, and Saving Silverman, starring Jack Black. He has sold screenplays to Sony, Disney, Fox, New Line, MGM, Miramax, and Village Roadshow. He is a member of The Collective, a production company founded by Amy Schumer, and his book Bring the Funny: The Essential Companion for the Comedy Screenwriter was recently published by Focal Press.
Joe Gilford, Writer for Film, Theater & TV
Joe’s TV writing includes the PBS documentaries The Great American Songbook and Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans and the Movies. His screenplay Apalachin is in preparation for production next year. His play Finks was nominated for the NY Drama Desk Outstanding Play award. He is a two-time recipient of grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for his plays Danny’s Brain about football concussions and The Radio Boys about the invention of FM radio. His book Why Does the Screenwriter Cross the Road? has become a favorite in classrooms everywhere. He has also taught screenwriting at NYU’s Tisch Undergraduate Film department since 1999
Since retiring from a thirty year career as an ABC News and Sports editor, Michael Jacobsohn has returned to his passion of making personal films. A craft that he honed as a teenager at the Henry Street Settlement Film Workshop. My early works have been screened at various film festivals and museums. Such as: The Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. Some of my early film works are part of the permanent collection of the New York Library For the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
Debra Kirschner, Writer/Director, is best known for writing and directing the indie feature THE TOLLBOOTH, which had theatrical, DVD and cable VOD distribution. For her next feature, MALLWALKERS, set to shoot in the summer of 2019, she was awarded the New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) Ravenal Foundation Grant for a second-time woman feature director, and was invited to develop the project at the Cine Qua Non International Screenwriting Lab, Stowe Story Labs and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Financing Lab. Her previous work includes her pilot FROG KISSERS, which premiered at ITV-Fest, her short CHANGING CLOTHES, which played festivals internationally, her short Pickled, which she wrote for DGA-winning director Tasha Oldham, and her comic web series, THE HAPPY MOMMY HUSTLE.
Bill Lacey has worked for more than thirty years in the film, television and music industries at some of the top audio facilities in NYC. He has received numerous awards for his mixing, mastering, sound design and original scores. Highlights include work with NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”, Martin Scorsese’s “Cape Fear”, RCA Records “Elvis Presley”, PBS’s “Sesame Street” and the restoration of Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. Currently Bill is the Senior Re-Recording Mixer and Sound Designer for Showtime Networks Red Post facility in NYC and a contributing author to Resolution Magazine in the UK.
George A. Lara has been working as a Sound Mixer for more than 32 years. After graduating from George Washington HS in 1981 attended Brooklyn College and graduated from the Institute of Audio Research I.A.R. as a Music Engineer in 1984. Got a job as an assistant Engineer at Red Apple studios for Larry Harlow (La Fania all stars) in NYC but left a year later to follow his dream recording sound for movies at Sound One studios where he started working as a messenger but in a short period of time moved up to Projectionist and transfers engineer. SOUND ONE was the top Post production facility in NYC for over 40 years. Under the supervision of amazing Re-Recording mixers, sound editors and Foley artists he was able to discover his true passion as a Foley Mixer where he flourish for 14 years before moving to a new venture at C5 Inc. THE FOLEY HOUSE to collaborate with his partner Marko Costanzo. There after 18 years he continue to exhale collaborating with the best Directors and Sound supervisors the industry have to offer. He also takes some time to help young directors mix or sound supervise their films.
Producer/Director/Editor Daniel Loewenthal has edited over 40 feature films. He has worked for major film studios (Paramount, Orion, Turner Productions) and independent producers (Dino De Laurentiis and Cannon films). Dan has edited in nearly every genre and format: action, comedy, independent films, music videos, commercials, infomercials, corporate videos, pieces for museum art installations and content for the web. He is also an accomplished director for short films and features. Until moving to New York he was a managing partner and president, of his company in Los Angeles, producing and directing projects that included a Discovery Channel series, Direct Response ads, documentaries, corporate videos and post-supervision and editing on feature films. He most recently produced the feature film GOOD FRIDAY, and edited the feature film LOST CAT CORONA.
Alex Lykidis, Film Studies Assistant Professor
Alex Lykidis has been an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Montclair State University since 2009. His research interests include contemporary European cinema, immigrant representation, and political filmmaking traditions. His work has been published in Cineaste, Spectator, Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, A Companion to Michael Haneke, The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film, The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art, Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies and the Journal of Greek Media and Culture. His most recent essays will appear in The Journal of Modern Greek Studies (forthcoming in October 2015) and Teaching Transnational Cinema: Politics and Pedagogy (forthcoming from Routledge in 2016).
Karl Nussbaum is an award winning Brooklyn based filmmaker / video installation artist whose work has been internationally exhibited in galleries, museums, universities and International film festivals, including the Sundance, Rotterdam & London International Film festivals, Oberhausen, KurzFilm Festival Hamburg, and the Black Maria; in NYC at Lincoln Center, Director’s Guild of America, P.S. 122, Anthology Film Archives; the Smithsonian / Hirshorn Museum, Harvard Film Archives, The Carpenter Center, Richmond Museum of Fine Art, Portland Art Museum, MMX Gallery/ Berlin, Chateau La Hille/ France, Witteveen Art Centre/ Amsterdam, Schloss Rheydt/ Germany, Kunst Haus Wiesbaden, and Kriti Gallery /India.
He has been awarded multiple artist fellowships including the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and international residencies in Germany, France, Amsterdam, Spain, Malta and India.
Nussbaum is a founding member of the 80’s East Village NYC film collective, Film Crash and has worked as a free-lance director for MTV, MTV2, VH-1, Fox TV, Children’s Television Workshop, and the Sundance Channel.
He has an MFA in New Media from TransArt Institute/ Berlin and a BS in Biology from Washington University/ St. Louis.
Lise Raven is an award winning feature filmmaker and a founding filmmaker of the SLAMDANCE Film Festival. She writes, produces and directs, and her feature films have screened globally in five out of the six continents. In addition to her feature films (Low, Stride, Kinderwald and Snaeland), Raven has written and directed work for Showtime and created work for the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as leading directing workshops in the US, Canada and Germany. Raven received her MFA from the NYU Graduate Film department and has been awarded prestigious artist residencies in Berlin, Iceland and the US. In addition to being a full-time FILMMAKING BFA faculty member, Raven also mentors young filmmakers in the communities surrounding the University.
Natalie Romero-Marx is an independent media and performance artist, documentary filmmaker and cultural producer from Colombia. She has worked collaboratively in interdisciplinary projects in Latin America, the United States and Europe; beginning her career producing films that addressed the socio-political conflict and the humanitarian crisis of the refugees in her county. More recently Romero-Marx has performed, produced and directed films and video-performance-installations that explore representation of gender and racial identity with artist and scholars like Richard Schechner (Imagining O) and Nora Chipaumire (Portraits of myself as my f-a-t-h-e-r, 100%Pop). She is an 2018-19 artist in residency at the SFAI in New Mexico where she is writing her new experimental film “Muntu Child.”
Robert Sapoff has been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NY 1 News and in the Star Ledger, Herald News, and Daily Record. A professional actor for over 25 years, his credits include the role of Harpo in the Off-Broadway revival of “The Cocoanuts”, which was named one of the 10 best Off-Broadway productions of the year.
He is the co-founder and co-director of the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts which provides comprehensive professional acting training for adults, teens and children. More than 3000 students, many of whom have gone on to pursue professional acting careers, have taken classes at the school since it opened its doors in 2004.
Since 2008 he has been an adjunct professor in the film department of Montclair State University where he teaches “Acting for Filmmakers”.
Jason Schafer wrote the acclaimed indie hit Trick (Fine Line Features), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and played at the Berlin International Film Festival and major festivals throughout the world. In addition to being a staff writer and co-producer for Showtime’s GLAAD Media Award-winning Queer as Folk, Jason has written projects for Warner Bros., Paramount, ABC, Ivanhoe Pictures, Fox Television and others. Works for the stage: Bleeding Love (Fredericia Teater, Denmark, NAMT), I Google Myself (Theatre Askew, GLAAD nomination) and Notes on the Land of Earthquake & Fire (FringeNYC Playwriting Award). He holds a B.A. in Music Composition from UCLA and an MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing.
Marina Shron is an award winning New York based writer/filmmaker and a former Fulbright scholar. Her films including Sea Child, Lullaby for Ray, and The Silent Love of the Fish, have been featured at film festivals around the world and won awards including Best Short Film in Hamptons and Toronto. She worked with Tony Pemberton on Buddha’s Little Finger, a feature film adapted from Victor Pelevin novel. Marina has received awards and funding for her work from Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, James Thurber Foundation, and Fund for Mutual Understanding.
Nathan Silver has written and directed nine feature films as well as multiple shorts. His work has played festivals and venues around the world, including New York Film Festival, Venice, Tribeca, Mar del Plata, AFI, Locarno, Rotterdam, Viennale, MoMA, and the Cineteca Nacional, Mexico. The New Yorker recently called Silver “a modernistic master of melodrama.”
Art Simon, Film Studies Professor
Author of History of American film, Jewish-American cultural history and the literature of the American left. Co-Editor of The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film, 4 Volumes (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012); Author of Dangerous Knowledge: The JFK Assassination in Art and Film (Temple UP, 2nd printing, 2013 with a new preface); “The House I Live In: Albert Maltz and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism” in “Un-American” Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era (Rutgers UP, 2007). Special Features commentary, in collaboration with Robert Sklar, for the DVD of Kid Galahad (Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection, 2010).
Ben is a filmmaker and playwright. His feature film directorial debut, 11:55, with Julia Stiles and John Leguizamo is currently streaming on Showtime. He was the writer for the Sundance award-winning documentary The Wolfpack. Ben has developed television with BET, Warner Bros, Channel 4, Lionsgate, and was a staff writer for the upcoming Netflix series “Grand Army.” His plays have been produced at P.S. 122, The Vineyard Theater, Crossroads Theatre, The Apollo Theater, New York Stage and Film, and at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For the last 20 years, Ben has taught film and theater courses in high schools and colleges. He is a member of Labyrinth Theater Company. More about his work can be found at www.twicepaper.com
Arthur Vincie is a writer, director and producer with over 20 years of experience. He’s the creator of the award-winning fiction webseries Three Trembling Cities (20+ festivals across the globe, 5 awards), about the inner lives and daily struggles of NYC’s immigrants. He also wrote and directed the lo-fi sci-fi feature Found In Time (27 festivals, 8 awards), and wrote a non-fiction book on preproduction, Preparing For Takeoff (published by Focal Press). He’s line produced or production managed over a dozen indie features as well as numerous pilots, shorts, music videos, and industrials. He’s written articles for MovieMaker, ProVideo Coalition, IndieSlate, and other online and print magazines.
Ben Wolf, Cinematographer
Much of Ben’s recent work concentrates in the Dance and Art film world. These range from Nora Chipaumire’s “El Capitan” to Doug Elkins’ “A Hundred Indecisions” as well as Wendy Seyb’s award winning “How You Look At It”. In addition, he’s shot numerous pieces for the NY Times Instagram feed #speakingindance. Ben has shot and co-directed several music videos for cellist Maya Beiser, including “Air” and “Veil” , from her “TranceClassical” CD. Experimental work in- cludes Shoja Azari’s Venice Biennale entry “The King of Black” and Shirin Neshat’s ”Games of Desire”, filmed in Luang Prabang. Documentary films range from Emmy winner “Baring It All” (Dir: Patricia Zagarella) to “Deceptive Practice” (Molly Bernstein & Alan Edelstein), a Kino Lorber release, as well as “Amsterdam Stories USA” (dirs: Rob Rombout & Rogier van Eck). In the Digital space, Ben recently co-produced and shot Arthur Vincie’s series “Three Trembling Cities” about immigrant life in NYC.. Ben also teaches Cinematography at Montclair State University and at DocNomads in Brussels.
Award-winning short film CATALINA:
Behind the scenes footage of student projects:
The School of Communication and Media houses state-of-the-art, fully equipped production studios including a facility used exclusively for filmmaking. The Filmmaking Studio provides liberal access to industry-standard equipment and software, including Avid Media Composer 8, Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci, Logic and Pro-Tools. Students work with high-end industry forward digital video cameras including the Sony F65, Red Scarlet, Blackmagic Cinema Camera, as well as DSLRs and other digital video equipment. As industry standards evolve, so does the information, technology and equipment the Filmmaking BFA offers to students.
For more information:
One of the best ways to get an idea of the varied jobs and career paths in the film industry is to read the credits at the end of a movie. Students in the Filmmaking BFA program are exposed to a wide variety of career paths through classes, workshops, special guests and internships. Our graduates successfully obtain the kinds of jobs that are critical to film and television production. The Filmmaking BFA program keeps up with rapidly evolving industry standards and technology. Filmmaking BFA faculty are active in the industry and strive to bring cutting edge practices into the classroom in order to ensure students enter the world ‘up-to-speed’ and ready to succeed as artists, filmmakers, innovators and leaders.
Writer / Director
Script Supervisor / Continuity
Line Producer (Film, & TV)
Director of Photography
Assistant Cameraperson / Camera Operator
Digital Imaging Technician (DIT)
Steady cam / Ronin Operator
Gaffer / Lighting Designer
Location Scout / Manager
Post Production Supervisor
Editor (Film, TV, Documentary, Commercials)
Sound Supervisor / Designer
Sound Engineer / Mixer
Effects Supervisor (ads/TV/ features)
Make Up Artist
Account Manager (Commercials)
Agent / Manager
Festival & TV Programmer
Film Sales Agent
Please visit the links below for additional professional and career-related information:
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