California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Upgrades Need To Be Made To The Film and Television Department

%E2%80%9CThere%E2%80%99s+a+lot+of+good+film+equipment+out+there+that+could+allow+students+to+create+the+best+work+that+I+know+they%E2%80%99re+capable+of+creating%2C+but+I+think+the+lack+of+funding+has+kind+of+prevented+camera+upgrades%2C+the+ability+to+get+lights%2C+and+necessary+things+to+create+the+art%2C%E2%80%9D+sophomore+Samuel+Zurek+said.
Photo Contributed by Samuel Zurek
“There’s a lot of good film equipment out there that could allow students to create the best work that I know they’re capable of creating, but I think the lack of funding has kind of prevented camera upgrades, the ability to get lights, and necessary things to create the art,” sophomore Samuel Zurek said.

The Film and Television Department at California Lutheran University is in need of additional and improved camera equipment, space, and budget allocation to better support the growth and development of students pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. 

Associate Professor of Film and Television Mahmoud Salimi said between now and when the film and television program was first established, the number of students have increased but the facilities have not. He said this has put the department in a hard-to-operate place to help their students learn.

“When looking at the film department, you have to look at the value of it, not the size of it. Sure, our film department is small, but there’s a lot of students who have a lot of amazing creative capabilities that simply aren’t allowed to use them,” sophomore Samuel Zurek said. 

As a communication major, I have taken a few film and television courses because of my passion and interest in the field. I am currently enrolled in Broadcast News Production, and it is one of my absolute favorite courses. However, there are always issues with camera shortages, minimal studio space, and limited budgets for field trips and activities that support hands-on experiences outside of class.

“There’s a lot of good film equipment out there that could allow students to create the best work that I know they’re capable of creating, but I think the lack of funding has kind of prevented camera upgrades, the ability to get lights, and necessary things to create the art,” Zurek said. 

There is only enough space for the TV studio to hold one class at a time, and students often find that they are forced to share equipment, compromising the quality of their work. 

“When I’m making newer films, a lot of the time I like to use a little bit higher-end cameras; things like the Canon C300 or the C200. A lot of times, those cameras are in high demand just because they are very nice cameras. But sometimes those would be checked out,” Zurek said. “I would have issues with, you know, I want to use a certain lens, but we only have kit lenses because the budget doesn’t allow for us to buy new lenses for these cameras.”

Salimi said it would be nice if the department’s budget could afford cameras that are Hollywood level so when students put their foot in the door of the film and television industry, they would have already had that experience with the actual cameras they’ll be using. 

“If you look at us, we’re just an hour away from Hollywood. And that means if we could invest a little bit more in this program, and we see that we have seen the results with that number of students have grown in this program, that means this program has potential,” Salimi said.

Cal Lutheran film and television students deserve to have professional-grade equipment and ample resources comparable to other universities with film and television programs, in order to better prepare students in this competitive field. 

“When the students see that we have pretty good facilities, equipment, and a good program that we can teach, and faculty with credentials— they’ll definitely consider Cal Lutheran over some other universities that are extremely competitive like UCLA, USC, Chapman, and it makes it extremely difficult for students to get into those universities,” Salimi said. “But then that means we have a better shot.”

On a more positive note, the department has expanded its course offerings, and recently revised course objectives. I noticed newer and more appealing courses offered this semester.

Salimi said that just last year, he and Associate Professor and Film and Television Program Director, John Fitch III readjusted the courses. They added courses such as sound design, directing and producing, lighting and cinematography, and more introduction classes. In the past, some of these courses were offered as electives, whereas now, they are required for film and television majors and some minors. 

While this is a step in the right direction, it does not address the need for additional resources. 

“We have grown so fast in our facilities and our resources have not grown to that level,” Salimi said. 

The most important thing I think we can do as students is inform our friends, classmates, professors, and those around us at Cal Lutheran. 

“Bring awareness that the film department is active and the film department is here to show people that this is valuable. This is something that is needed,” Zurek said.

Film and television and communication students should continue leveraging their creative abilities to advocate for improvements and to request the university invest more in making the Cal Lutheran Film and Television Department state-of-the-art and one of the best of its kind. 

“As easy as it is to get mad and start protesting, I wouldn’t do that. I would simply bring awareness, and keep making films, but have a conversation, and start talking about alternate routes. And hopefully, someone higher up will hear us,” Zurek said.

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    Martha Ivelisse ReyesMar 26, 2024 at 7:50 am

    Very well written. Insightful and purposeful.

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