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Cinema Major

Heidi Whitus

Cinema Director




Major in Cinema

 North East School of the Arts Cinema   

"It is only when I am doing my work that I feel truly alive."

- Federico Fellini

NESA's Cinema program offers a comprehensive hands-on experience for students on the art and science of this collaborative art. Students learn about the history and function of cinema and animation, film production techniques, film scripting, and composition. Our filmmakers produce works for presentation in national-level competitions. Advanced students research, write, direct, and edit documentaries, fiction films, and animation pieces.

Cinema graduates are currently attenting UCLA, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, California Institute of the Arts, Savannah College of Art & Design, Loyola University at Chicago, UT Arlington, UT Austin, UT Dallas, UT San Antonio, Lycoming College, Austin Community College, St. Mary's University, and St. Edwards University.



Cinema Theory / Pre-Production

This is a year-long course designed for students entering the Cinema program. This comprehensive foundation course allows students to study the phenomenon of persistence of vision and the magic that makes motion pictures. They will learn techniques in cell and cut-paper animation, clay animation, stop-motion animation, live action filmmaking methods, and videography.

Students will work with digital cameras as well as digital non-linear editing systems. Assignments generally include a flipbook, the construction of early optical toys, an animated movie with a soundtrack, and a live action video production. Drawing, storyboard presentation, set building, clay modeling, and script writing are among the various processes studied in Cinema Theory.

Electronic Filmmaking Pre-Production I

Students study the development of motion picture from its primitive beginnings to the advent of sound film. They learn about cinematic rules and the basic aesthetic principles controlling film as art. Students will also survey cinema from the advent of "talkies" in the mid-1920s to its full artistic expression in the 1960s. Selected films will be assigned, screened, and discussed. This class also includes learning the pre-production process as well as how to direct, shoot, and edit. Students research a number of laws and ethics of media and film.



Cinema Photography and Movement

This is a study of digital film and camera equipment, lighting, processing, and the aesthetics of cinematography.

Electronic Filmmaking - Production II

This is a hands-on course. Students learn how to direct, shoot, and edit their own short digital videos. The curriculum provides in-depth training in digital camera technology, lighting for digital video, digital audio recording, and non-linear editing. The program is led by professional faculty members as well as guest industry professionals who emphasize the skills needed to help students land their first job in the industry and strategies for getting their films into festivals.



Cinema Editing and Sound

Use of advanced digital editing technology and techniques, including sound editing and mixing, to edit digital films.

Electronic Filmmaking - Production III

This comprehensive course is an extension of Electronic Film Production I & II with an added emphasis on screenwriting and a study of film styles and genres. Participants will examine the principles and processes of writing for the screen. Topics include finding and developing story ideas, film language, and script structure. Each student is expected to complete a film treatment.



Cinema Directing and Synthesis

Students direct in-class exercises focusing on the dynamics of a scene, communicating with actors, blocking, and capturing action and performance with the camera. Those lessons are then transferred to their outside productions. This class also requires students to complete an internship or a program of study and practical work experience related to film studies, supervised and evaluated by faculty.


Animation for Electronic Film Production

An in-depth study of animation styles, storyboards, and computer generated animations.