Scottsdale Community College combines film, theater arts

From left: Bill True, Film School faculty, Shawn Mitchell, Film  School faculty day chair, Amanda Embry, Theatre Arts faculty chair, Chris Jensen, Film School faculty evening chair, Evfa Cerises, Film School staff, Randy Messersmith, Theatre Arts program director. (Submitted photo)

From left: Bill True, Film School faculty, Shawn Mitchell, Film
School faculty day chair, Amanda Embry, Theatre Arts faculty chair, Chris Jensen, Film School faculty evening chair, Evfa Cerises, Film School staff, Randy Messersmith, Theatre Arts program director. (Submitted photo)

The Film School and the Theatre Arts program at Scottsdale Community College have joined forces to become a single department and will now be known as the Scottsdale School of Film and Theatre.

The union brings together two well-known, dynamic programs, with the goal of giving students more opportunities to broaden their artistic skill set and raise their employment prospects. The Theatre Arts program will bring its acting, directing and production design expertise to the Film School’s production, post-production and screenwriting strengths, according to a press release.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to diversify their experiences, which makes them more marketable and stronger artists,” stated Amanda Embry in a pres release. Ms. Embry is a Theatre Arts faculty member who will co-chair the new department along with Film School faculty member Shawn Mitchell. “These students will leave with both a film school and theater portfolio.”

Combining the programs also better aligns SCC with other prestigious post-secondary institutions that have merged film and theater departments, noted Mr. Mitchell.

“This will help us enter into new articulation agreements with other four-year institutions,” he stated in the release. “And It will create more pathways for our students to transfer to other schools.”

The move should position SCC to become a Center of Excellence in Film and Theater within Maricopa Community Colleges, noted Randy Messersmith, Theatre Arts director and longtime proponent of the merger.

“What will make us a Center of Excellence will be our interdisciplinary approach,” stated Mr. Messersmith, who will head up the combined department’s directing and acting tracks once they are established, in the release.

The idea to merge was tested the past few years with theatrical productions that incorporated film production, according to the press release.

In 2012, “He Who Gets Slapped,” incorporated filming by Film School students. Last season, Theater and Film students teamed up to present “The Palace,” a live sitcom performed and filmed in the school’s Performing Arts Center, stated the release.

“From the artist’s standpoint, most professionals move between theater, film, TV, concerts, You Tube and other platforms,” stated Mr. Messersmith. “The required skill sets demand that our students work in a variety of platforms.”

Dr. Stephanie Fujii, dean of instruction at SCC, said the combined department reflects the faculty’s commitment to placing student needs first and staying on top of trends in the entertainment arts industry.

“Students need not be limited by medium of expression, but rather will benefit from the diversity of talents, experiences and instruction by a collective team of professionals from all areas of the show business world,” stated Dr. Fujii in the release.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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