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"The best thing we can do for students is to help them produce work — make films, create animations and write screenplays. All that we teach, the training we give, the projects we assign, have the end goal of engaging students in the experiential process of making work. This is what best prepares students to succeed in the industry after leaving Point Park."

Andrew Halasz, M.F.A., chair
Pictured is Hanjin Park. Photo | Nick Koehler
Hanjin Park, M.F.A., assistant professor

What makes Point Park University’s B.F.A. in cinema production program distinctive?

It's an industry-driven program where students can experience all aspects of filmmaking while focusing on their interested fields — such as producing, directing, cinematography, editing and sound.

The variety of courses offers students the opportunity to learn the technical art of filmmaking, but also utilizes a diverse set of practices and perspectives to foster their growth as unique storytellers with individual and personal voices.

As a result, our students and resources are crucial elements to the rapidly-growing independent and professional film productions in Pittsburgh.

Pictured is Andrew Halasz. Photo | John Altdorfer
Andrew Halasz, M.F.A., chair

Tell us about the hands-on experiences and facilities available to Point Park students.

This is what cinema arts is all about — the hands-on experience and creating work in facilities that you would find in the professional world. As a faculty we curated equipment and spaces in the University that allow students to create work with some of the same resources that they will encounter as professionals. All that we teach integrates the equipment, software and facilities to ensure the most effective, experiential learning experience.

What is your vision for the cinema arts department?

The best thing we can do for students in the cinema arts program is to help them produce work — make films, create animations and write screenplays. All that we teach, the training we give, the projects we assign, have the end goal of engaging students in the experiential process of making work. This is what best prepares students to succeed in the industry after leaving Point Park.

Pictured is Laura Boyd with students. Submitted photo
Laura J. Boyd, M.F.A., associate professor (center)

Tell us how the Cinema Arts Professional course prepares students for success.

Cinema Arts Professional prepares students for graduation by guiding and supporting them through creating all the documents and resources they will need when applying for jobs in the film industry.

Students begin by preparing a biography, skills list, and mission statement, focusing on everything in life they need to be personally and professionally fulfilled, and what their future job goals look like. We work with Monica Ritter from Point Park's Professional Career Readiness Center to guide the seniors through the process of writing professional cover letters and resumes, and Point Park cinema arts faculty work with them to brand themselves and highlight their achievements in the proper format for the film industry.

Students also create and refine their professional reels and build their websites, studying examples from professionals in the film industry. Professors and guests join the class to share their experiences working in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York — ranging from film, animation, documentary and episodic television.

Pictured is Heidi Ward with her Emmy Award.
Heidi Ward '13 with her Emmy award

Where have graduates landed jobs?

  • Joe Balewski: marketing manager, CBS Television Distribution
  • Jen Taormina Lawson: entertainment lawyer in New York City
  • Katie Serevicz: post-production coordinator, Studio City, Los Angeles
  • Valerie Macher: costume coordinator, Sweet Girl, Mindhunter, Castle Rock, Gone, Outsiders
  • Luke Shannon: grip/gaffer, Outsiders, Mindhunter, I Am Not Okay with This, An American Pickle, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Unsinkable
  • Dominique Carino: Red Zone Pictures; I Am Not OK With This; Sony Pictures; CBS Television Studios; set dressing coordinator, IATSE 489
  • Zachary Boyle: Emmy award-winning producer/editor, WQED/PBS
  • Calyx DeRoche: digital media producer, WQED/PBS
  • Taylor Colbert Rex: set dec, Showtime
  • Mina Hoffman: marketing coordinator, CBS Interactive
  • Alyssa Briddes: assistant editor, Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2; editor, Condé Nast, Bustle; associate producer, Vice
  • Mark Gazica: key production assistant, I’m Your Woman, An American Pickle, Manhunt, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Where’d you Go Bernadette, among others.
  • TJ Nelson: manager, editorial strategy, HBO Max at Warner Media
  • Heidi Ward: Emmy award-winning segment producer, Naturally, Danny Seo; restaurant producer, Hell’s Kitchen
  • Kevin Konitsch: VFX editor, Savage VFX
  • Katie Palamara and Suzanna Gomes: editors, American Eagle Outfitters
  • Ross Ribblett: video content creator, American Eagle Outfitters
  • Jameson Mitchell: post-production coordinator, BET; assistant editor, The Connors
  • Kevin Stiller: digital producer/gaffer/camera operator; Vanity Fair; digital producer, GQ Magazine
  • Ben Jackson: assistant editor, Hot Ones: The Game Show
  • Dana Gasparine: editor, CW’s Pandora; assistant editor, The Path, America’s Next Top Model, Knightfall
  • Brandon Marchionda: second assistant editor, Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Christina Gonzalez: sound designer, Cabin 21 Sounds
  • Marlee Schneider: art department, Grey's Anatomy, The L Word
  • Garrett Kennel: creative director, Michelle Khare YouTube Channel
  • Ian Lewis: production assistant, Falcon, Winter Soldier and Netflix’s Red Notice; on-set visual effects - witness camera operator, The Tomorrow War

Student Work: Production 3 Behind-the-Scenes Video

Production 3 2019 Behind the Scenes Montage from Point Park Cinema Arts on Vimeo.

More About: cinema arts, faculty, Conservatory of Performing Arts, cinema production, Pittsburgh Playhouse