The film program will include practical application and analysis.
Martin Lussier/the Gauntlet

Film program takes flight

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Aspiring filmmakers will now have a program to call their own. The University of Calgary has a newly revamped program that will give budding Spielbergs a degree in film studies.

The program, which was a film minor before, accepted students for their first semester in fall 2008. Once the university decided to get the program up and running, the committee that ran the minor had to figure out which faculty was best to handle the budding program.

"Communications and Culture put forth a proposal and got the program in 2007, which was approved," said film studies program co-ordinator George Melnyk. "We put that forth to the government, which approved that December 2007 for September 2008."

The degree is atypical of most film studies program because it also focuses on the production aspects of film instead of just analyzing them. The program, still in its infancy, is aiming to grow with the booming Calgary film industry.

"We wanted a program that would help students get into the industry here in Alberta, Canada and perhaps even internationally," said Melnyk. "We wanted to have a focus on industry, audience and technology. We wanted to eventually compete with other film programs in Canada, such as the ones at Concordia, York and Ryerson."

One of the hallmarks of these types of programs is an emphasis on practical application in the film industry. Jeanette Burman, a student taking a class with the program, found the emphasis on practical application of film techniques to be beneficial to study.

"The practicum element of the class adds a whole new element to actually carrying out some of the theory, getting some valuable experience and arriving at a place in my studies where I can be focused and directed," she said.

With 48 students already registered in the program in its first year, it seems to be taking off. Melnyk was pleasantly surprised by the reception and was looking forward to the future.

"Even though we are the new kid on the block, we've got some pretty nifty faculty that I think can compete with anyone else in the country," he said.