Hollywood beckons digital media students

October 10, 2013 8:45 AM

Mary Sparacello

Tulane University alumni and parents are increasingly successful in the film industry, and two professors hope to tap into that network and launch a summer program giving students firsthand Hollywood experience.

Students in filmmaking course

Digital media production students hone their camera skills as a part of the Advanced Digital Filmmaking I course taught Mary Blue. (Photo by Arielle Pentes)

The School of Liberal Arts is developing the program on the contemporary film industry that includes two intensive two-week courses at Tulane, sandwiched around a week in Los Angeles.

“We want to give students a realistic experience of what they can expect if they choose a career in Hollywood,” says Mary Blue, a professor of practice and director of the digital media production program. She is developing the courses with Connie Balides, an associate professor and film studies director. These programs are affiliated with the communication and theatre and dance departments.

The four weeks at Tulane would give students a framework for understanding what they experience in Hollywood, says Balides.

The California trip would offer the young filmmakers an introduction to how Hollywood works, by arranging meetings with movie-industry professionals.

Possible participants include Tulane alumni in the industry such as Jimmy Horowitz, Universal Pictures president; Sanford Panitch, Fox International Productions president; Elizabeth Daley, dean of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts; David Lonner, Oasis Media Group CEO; and Steven Pearl, co-owner and producer of Scarlet Fire Entertainment; as well as Tulane parents Nicolette and Joshua Donen, a producer of the Emmy-winning Netflix series “House of Cards.”

In 2011, Horowitz, Lonner and Pearl were members of a Tulane to Hollywood panel that “demonstrated not only the great success of our alumni but also the intense interest of our students,” says Carole Haber, dean of the School of Liberal Arts.

“This new summer program continues where the panel left off. Where previously we brought Hollywood to Tulane, we will now be taking our students into the heart of the movie industry.”

Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu