In the spotlight
New cinema summer course could be start of something big
April 8, 2015
A new summer course in filmmaking has the long-term potential to draw students from around the world to Menomonie and Dunn County, according to a University of Wisconsin-Stout professor.
Cinema Intensive will be held for eight weeks from June 8 through July 30 as part of UW-Stout’s summer session. Students will earn six undergraduate or graduate credits.
“This is the first step of what we hope to expand into a larger program, like the Maine Media Workshop summer program that brings in students and instructors from around the world,” said Kevin Pontuti, associate professor and director of UW-Stout’s Bachelor of Fine Arts entertainment design undergraduate program.
Digital cinema is one of the concentrations in the entertainment program.
“The Chippewa River Valley is a beautiful and cinematic region. The summers here are incredible. The great weather and extended daylight hours are perfect for film and photography. The magic hour seems to last forever here in the summer,” he added.
Registration for the class is open but is expected to fill quickly because it is limited to 20 students this year. Class participants are not required to be enrolled at UW-Stout to register.
“Next year we’d like to expand it further and, ideally, include a high school component too,” Pontuti said.
Students in Cinema Intensive will direct, shoot and edit their own short films and assist with classmates’ projects.
They also will have two industry-led workshops and learn technical skills related to filmmaking, such as how to operate the professional Canon EOS C100 cinema camera.
“As a polytechnic university, we’re always looking for innovative ways for students to gain hands-on experience working with professional equipment. By partnering with Canon USA, we’ve been able to leverage our industry connections in a creative way,” Pontuti said.
Students will have access to UW-Stout’s green screen studio and other film production labs.
“We have fantastic studio facilities and student housing that can be utilized, so I can really see expanding the program into other disciplines as well,” he added.
Pontuti recently directed an independent film, “North Passage,” which was produced and set in west-central Wisconsin. The film was chosen in 2014 for the prestigious Flyway Film Festival in Pepin County.
The director of the festival, Rick Vacius, will be one of the guest speakers during Cinema Intensive. Vacius and members of the entertainment design professional advisory board have provided valuable support, Pontuti said.
UW-Stout entertainment design students are working with the Flyway Film Festival as preliminary entry judges for the 2015 event.
Top: Kevin Pontuti
Bottom: UW-Stout student Sarah Moua films during a recent class project.