Western Missouri Film Program Eagerly Awaits Local Filmmakers | The life

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After surviving several budget cuts over the past two years at Missouri Western State University, the school’s film program is making the most of its second life.

Engaging with local creators in the region, expanding its resources and focusing on visual effects is what Assistant Professor Thomas Brecheisen considers one of the country’s most unique filmmaking programs.

“It’s not what you normally see on a movie program,” he said.

A collaboration between Assistant Professor Toby Lawrence and Brecheisen, they have found success giving Missouri Western students the knowledge and creative freedom to set up and capture local live performances, engage with prospective students, and discover new skills.

“(It’s a) type of forward-facing process that we naturally have because that’s where we are in the industry, where we kind of have to stay on top of what we’re doing,” Brecheisen said.

Originally part of the former Missouri Western Theater, Film, and Dance Department, the film program was the only one to survive Missouri Western’s 2020 budget cuts by then-President Matthew Wilson.

“The one that’s strong out of (theater, film and dance) is the film program, or at least, stronger than the others,” Wilson told the St. Joseph News-Presse in 2020.

The cuts reduced the program’s staff from eight professors to two, Lawrence and Brecheisen, and left them suffering for their colleagues.

“It was a thick silver lining for us, but you add a lot of survivor guilt to it. It’s a complicated situation,” Brecheisen said.

With that pain came the thinking for the movie program and what Brecheisen and Lawrence had been considering since before they arrived at the Missouri Western. As part of the university’s School of Fine Arts, which also includes music and art, the film program has a more focused budget that allows for the purchase of better equipment for its students and expand skills in areas such as visual effects and editing.

To fulfill this mission, one of Brecheisen’s greatest accomplishments has been the Griffon Production House, a three-part applied learning initiative that hones its students’ skills in live performance capture, featuring ongoing research projects at college and working on editing with professionals. production workshops.

During the height of the pandemic, Brecheisen said her students filmed several productions at Central High School so people who couldn’t get out could still watch shows. They have also worked with the St. Joseph Youth Corale to capture concerts.

“We’ve done all their gigs at the end of every semester and they use that to send to competitions and things like that… We’re stepping that up again,” he said.

Several community events and initiatives are also planned for this year, including moving the Griffon Film Festival to the Missouri Theater on April 22 as a citywide celebration and engaging with local high school students through its “ Future Filmmakers Festival”.

Brecheisen said the future is bright for the movie program. He hopes that by collaborating with people and organizations in St. Joseph, they will appreciate the work they do.

“I think we are on the right track. I think we’re doing well. I think the big things that we wanted to do are done,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome and it’s only growing. We realize it.

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