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Meet Lauren Keller '22

Major
Cinema Production
Minor
Photography
Hometown
Greensburg, Pa.
High School
Hempfield Area High School
Hobbies & Interests
Painting, yoga, photography

"Point Park accepted my credits easily, which helped with the transferring process. I am a hands-on learner and was excited that Point Park puts a camera in your hands freshman year in this program."

Lauren Keller '22

Why did you choose Point Park’s B.F.A. in cinema production program?

I chose Point Park’s B.F.A. in cinema production program because I wanted to immediately jump into production and start learning how the industry worked. Point Park accepted my credits easily, which helped with the transferring process. I am a hands-on learner and was excited that Point Park puts a camera in your hands freshman year in this program.

Your short film was recently featured on WQED’s Filmmakers Corner. Tell us more about that.

My Production IV senior thesis film, “A Little Glass of Rum,” is a 20-minute thriller/drama about a prison guard who dines with the killer of his family for his last meal on execution day. The roles I played within production were writer, producer, director of photography and director of post-production.

My partner for class, Marc Cardillo, also assisted in the producing process. My professors Andrew Halasz and Fred Johnson gave valid critiques throughout the class which helped lead “A Little Glass of Rum” to make its broadcast debut on WQED.

I never pictured my work to be screened on television until later in my career but it came sooner than expected! My professors and fellow classmates have been very supportive of the film since the beginning and I could not be more thankful for their help from pre-production until now.

What does it mean to you as a young artist to have your work featured on WQED?

It means so much to me as a young artist to have my work featured on WQED. It was such an unexpected opportunity that came to me and I immediately jumped on it as quickly as I could. I believe this opportunity will stick out on my resume, which will help me gain recognition and industry opportunities in the future. I cannot thank Andrew Halasz enough for making this dream come true so early in my career!

In what ways did the B.F.A. program prepare you for the industry?

The B.F.A. program prepared me for the industry in so many ways. The program makes you try and experience many parts of production, from pre-production to post. It allows students to really find their groove and where their strengths lie within the industry.

I personally came to Point Park to direct films, but since the program gives students the opportunity to try other departments, I ended up leaving with a love for cinematography and a goal to become a professional director of photography. With the help of professors and fellow students, I have had the pleasure to do some production assistant work for Netflix’s Sweet Girl (2021) and The Deliverance, along with working with local companies such as Covalent.

What advice do you have for a student considering Point Park’s cinema arts programs?

The advice I have for a student considering Point Park’s cinema arts programs would be to fully understand that this industry is to be taken very seriously and a lot of work goes into it. At times, this industry can be very cut throat, raw and difficult, but with a lot of dedication, passion and creativity students can flourish as the future of filmmaking. If you are not willing to pour your soul into your work, this is not the right path for you.

What were some of your favorite places or things to do in Pittsburgh as a student?

Some of my favorite places in Pittsburgh were Point Cafe, Bae Bae’s Kitchen, Point State Park and Market Square. A lot of my filmwork has been completed in these places and I love the nostalgic feeling they give me when I visit the city.

What’s next for you as a filmmaker?

What’s next for me as a filmmaker is to move back to Pittsburgh and work on set again as a director of photography. Currently, I am in early pre-production for a psychological horror feature I have always been wanting to make, but I am looking forward to a much needed break after graduating and wrapping production on “A Little Glass of Rum.” A lot of time, energy and passion went into that project and soon I would love to hop back in and do it all over again.


More About: photography, cinema arts, Conservatory of Performing Arts, transfer, faculty, Hempfield Area High School, cinema production