Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Action! Film at Augie finds a new home

Giang Do
Following the announcement of a new Film major, Augustana College equips students with cameras and iMac lab space in Sorensen.

Augustana has set the stage for student filmmakers with new state-of-the-art production spaces located in Sorensen Hall. 

On Feb. 16, Augustana held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the film major and unveil the department’s new facilities, including an iMac flex classroom and production studio rooms. The Department of Theatre Arts also announced its new name: Department of Theatre and Film. 

Before film found its home in the Department of Theatre and Film, the program floated between a few departments, including Communication Studies and Business. 

Jennifer Popple, co-chair of the theatre and film department, proposed the film major be a part of the Theatre Arts Department, as well as the department’s name change.

“Every time I teach a theatre class, we always end up talking about film, too,” Popple said. “They’re different, but they’re in the same family. They belong in the same department.” 

Augustana students were officially able to declare a film major in the spring of 2023. Before this, students interested in film could only pursue an Entertainment Media minor in the Department of Communication Studies. Students can now pursue film as a major or minor.

Junior Matthew Chezum, film and chemistry major, is a part of the inaugural film class of student filmmakers. 

“I love the whole process of [film-making] and getting to create a story from scratch,” Chezum said. “[The new film facilities] are going to give film students the ability to create what we envision.”

Stacy Barton, film program director, says the new space and equipment are crucial to the quality of instruction and success of students. The new film space includes a production studio, private editing suite and equipment checkout room.

“Our equipment teaches technical, creative, storytelling and framing skills,” Barton said. “We’re able to teach industry-standard processes that are universally utilized across the film and television production field.”

For Chezum and other film students, one of the most attractive aspects of this space is the new iMac flex classroom, complete with colorful rows of brand-new iMacs. The iMacs are equipped with professional standard software students need to create and develop their projects. 

Kirk Anderson, chief financial officer and vice president of administration, says the funds for the new space, particularly the iMac flex classroom, came from the Augustana capital account, which funds expenses exceeding $5,000. Additionally, the space is supported by the growing number of students who are now a part of the Theatre and Film Department. 

“The college really put money behind developing a strong, physical space at the same time they were putting the classes through,” Popple said. “You can have good classes, but you need good equipment and space.”

In May, students enrolled in film classes will have the opportunity to present their work in a film showcase at The Last Picture House in Davenport, IA. Awards, such as Audience Choice or Best Narrative Fiction, will be given at the showcase. Films receiving awards will be shown at Augustana’s annual Celebration of Learning. 

“Pouring your heart and soul into your film and then sitting in a dark room with your student filmmakers, faculty, community members and your family… it is so scary,” Barton said. “But I’ll tell you what: There’s no greater feeling.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *