BFA in Digital Filmmaking launches at Rutgers Fall 2015

University’s first filmmaking degree will offer broad foundation in fiction and documentary storytelling

The New Jersey Presidents’ Council has  approved a proposal to create a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in digital filmmaking at the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking, a division of the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Applications will be available at the end of September for the major, set to begin in fall 2015.

The 121-credit interdisciplinary major, which includes both fiction and documentary production, will train students in all aspects of filmmaking, from research and treatments to cinematography, lighting, field production, directing, script writing and story boarding, editing, and postproduction.

Students will also have opportunities to gain professional experience through the Rutgers Film Bureau—the documentary production office that links filmmakers with artists, researchers, scientists, and community leaders at the university and beyond.

“We’re a major research university, and this platform allows us to partner with units all across Rutgers,” says Dena Seidel, director of the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking. “It’s amazing for our students because it connects them with new bodies of knowledge to which they may not have had access.”

The major, which will take the place of the current 22-credit film certificate program, includes a foundation in the humanities with courses in history, sociology, anthropology, and gender studies. It is also one of the only film programs in the country to offer undergraduate training in science filmmaking, says Seidel.

Students have access to a wide variety of professional equipment and editing software and a state-of-the-art film studio that includes an HD projector, sound-proofing, studio lighting, sound system, and six networked MacPro computers.

Mandy Feiler, director of admissions at the Mason Gross School, says she has received substantial inquiries for a digital filmmaking program at Rutgers from both students and parents.

“This is definitely an up-and-coming major,” Feiler says. “It’s going to attract a whole new crop of students who want to become working professionals in what they study.”

The major is designed to establish marketable skills in the emerging field of digital communication blended with a “wide array of liberal arts electives that will help to round out students’ training as technically astute filmmakers and intellectually informed artists,” Seidel says.

“The BFA in digital filmmaking fulfills the long-desired hope at Rutgers to offer students a professional degree in film production,” says George B. Stauffer, dean of the Mason Gross School. “With its unique links across the university, the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking will provide solid, practical training in this medium.”

The new undergraduate program will open its application for fall 2015 enrollment to first-year students applying to Rutgers for the first time. To enroll, applicants must submit a formal application and fee online through Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions and the Mason Gross Supplemental application. Supporting material to the application includes a personal statement, creative writing sample, and a digital narrative sample, which can consist of short films or a photographed narrative sequence provided in storyboard or digital form.

Seidel encourages students who are visual thinkers with strong academic records to apply.

“We’re looking for smart, excited, diverse students—passionate people with stories to tell,” says Seidel.

For more information about the BFA in digital filmmaking program, contact Mason Gross Admissions at 848-932-5269 or admissions@masongross.rutgers.edu, and Karina Daves, Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking, at 848-932-5245 or karina.daves@rutgers.edu.

Posted September 2014