The Film & Digital Media program offers pre-professional training in film, television, and new media. Because the industry is undergoing constant change in both production technology and business practices, the program gives special attention to preparing students for a career that is not entirely predictable. Applying traditional skills to new digital environments and global platforms is the key. The ability to write well, create powerful images, articulate ideas, collaborate within a diverse community, and adjust to new and surprising situations are the hallmarks of success.

Courses in screenwriting, producing, directing, cinematography, and editing form a solid foundation. Students develop technical skills on industry-standard equipment and software, applying these skills to traditional shorts (narrative, experimental, and documentary), and virtual reality filmmaking. Every student writes, produces, and directs his or her own film every year while working as crew on dozens of peers’ films. Originality, self-confidence, critical thinking, and a professional work ethic are nurtured.

Close proximity to Los Angeles affords a unique opportunity for students to interact with Hollywood. Masterclasses with industry experts provide exceptional learning opportunities and forge
relationships with the film and television industry that can launch a career. In addition to the high school diploma program, Idyllwild Arts Academy offers a postgraduate certificate. Students complete high school and/or the postgraduate program ready to enter the industry or attend a top university.

  • State-of-the-art Soundstage
  • IMAC PRO Computers
  • AVID Certification
  • Black Magic Cameras
  • Prime Lenses
  • ZOOM Mixers
  • Sennheiser Microphones
  • Masterclasses

We are proud to sponsor the Inaugural Indigenous Filmmakers Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming over 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. Our film students participate in festival screenings and filmmaker Q&As.

  • Cinematography
  • Shot Design
  • Directing the Narrative
  • Directing Actors
  • Staging and Blocking
  • Acting for the Screen
  • Field Production
  • Virtual Reality 360
  • Documentary
  • Editing
  • Aesthetics of Editing
  • Visual Effects
  • Film History
  • Production Workshop
  • Senior Film
  • Practicum
  • Junior Program (ages 11-13)
  • Youth Program (ages 13-18)
  • Filmmaking (ages 13-18)

Ralph Singleton
Scheduling and Budgeting

Julie Pacino
Directing and Independent Film

Dan Kneece
Cinematography

Witt Lacy
Production Assistant Boot Camp

Billy Cowart
Acting For The Camera

John Gilbert
Editing In LA

Mikie Heilbrun
Casting Director

Lynn Hendee
Producer

Sean Astin
Actor, The Lord of the Ringss

Steven Fierberg
Cinematographer, Entourage and The Affair

Daniel Petrie Jr.
Writer, Beverly Hills Cop and The Big Easy

Donald Petrie
Director, Miss Congeniality

Juan Ruiz-Anchia
Cinematographer, Glengarry Glen Ross

Brad Battersby
Director, Jesus the Driver, Sweet Valley High

June Petrie
Producer, The Joyriders

Andrew Meyer
Executive Producer, The Breakfast Club

Our graduates have been accepted to the following
Colleges and Universities.

  • American University
  • Bard College
  • Bennington College
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Chapman University
  • Emerson College
  • Hendrix College
  • Kenyon College
  • Mills College
  • New York University
  • Reed College
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • St. John’s College
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Irvine
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Montana
  • University of St. Andrews, Scotland
0%
of our students who apply are accepted.

All programs are available to Post Graduates and Gap Year students. Post Graduates are those students who actually attend courses on campus, while Gap Year students are enrolled only in the online experience.

The Film & Digital Media department offer postgraduates and gap year students the opportunity to focus their studies on one of three specific areas; Directing, Writing, or Post-Production. Through synchronous and asynchronous learning, students are given materials and assignments to complete on their own and provided weekly Zoom sessions with teachers and fellow students. Each program area is broken down into 8-week focus sessions for a culmination of a year-long certificate of completion. The Post-production program offers professional Avid User Certifications in Media Composer and Pro-Tools with testing after a 16-week or 32-week intensive.

DIRECTING PROGRAM

Provides students with an overview of directing for the camera through visual storytelling and character development.

Course Offerings:

  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Film Elective

MASTERCLASSES

  • Ralph Singleton – Scheduling and Budgeting
  • Julie Pacino – Directing and Independent Film
  • Dan Kneece – Cinematography
  • Witt Lacy – Production Assistant Boot Camp
  • Billy Cowart – Acting For The Camera
  • John Gilbert – Editing In LA
  • Mikie Heilbrun – Casting Director
  • Lynn Hendee – Producer

POST-PRODUCTION PROGRAM

Provides students with technical skills and aesthetic sensibilities in editing and sound production.

Course Offerings:

  • Avid Media Composer
  • Avid ProTools
  • Film Elective (Cinematography recommended)

WRITING PROGRAM

Provides students with a foundation in storytelling through Screenwriting, Playwriting, and Multi-Genre workshops.

Course Offerings:

  • Screenwriting
  • Playwriting
  • Writing Elective

Statement Of Philosophy

The Film & Digital Media program offers pre-professional training in film, television and new media production. As the industry is undergoing constant change, in both production technology and business practices, the program gives special attention to preparing students for a career that is not entirely predictable. Applying traditional skills to new digital environments and global platforms is the key. The ability to write well, create powerful images, articulate ideas, collaborate within a diverse community and adjust to new and surprising situations are the hallmarks of success.

Courses in screenwriting, directing, cinematography, editing, documentary, production design, producing and film scoring form a solid foundation. Non-traditional media and the effective use of the Internet and social media are stressed. Students are trained on industry standard equipment and professional software. Originality, self-confidence and critical thinking are nurtured.

Close proximity to Los Angeles affords a unique opportunity for students to work with Hollywood experts. Master classes and mentoring sessions are held in real-world environments: studios, production offices, location film and television sets — creating relationships between individual students and industry professionals.

Requirements Of The Department

Filmmaking is a collaborative art, but is also a hierarchy requiring strong leadership, therefore students are expected to work well with others regardless of their position on a team. Honesty, respect for others, generosity of spirit and a positive attitude are expected.

Students take four to six, 3-hour courses per week. Students devote evenings and weekends to production. Classes do not necessarily follow a sequential order and students may be placed in a course several times, until mastery is achieved. As filmmaking can be physically grueling, students are expected to be in good health. Proficiency in the English language is required.

All seniors make a senior film. Students are allowed to specialize in one area of interest, e.g., cinematography or editing, and may choose to develop a reel in their area of specialty for senior project, rather than write and direct a film.

Students must provide their own laptop computer, headphones, 2-TB hard drive, and digital SLR camera.

“Standpoint”

“Leatherback”

“Plastic Macro”

“Passenger”

“Lily Needs a Ride”

“Birdman”

2017 Film Posters – Designed by Students:

The Idyllwild Arts Film & Digital Media Department’s conviction that storytelling is crucial to successful filmmaking determines our requirements for application materials.*

Therefore all Film & Digital Media applicants must submit:

    • A 2 to 4 page essay about a life-changing moment. Tell us a story about something that happened to you or something you witnessed that had a profound impact on your life.
    • Creative writing samples or works of art that you have produced in the last year. The writing sample may be in any format, including screenplay, play, short story, poem, or even stream of consciousness. The art work may be in any medium, including film, video, photography, performance piece, painting, sculpture, a creative website, a creative Instagram account. . . anything that helps us know more about you as an artist. Submit as many samples as you like.
    • A short video introducing yourself. Record a 3 to 5 minute monologue or narrative (starring yourself!) on the topic, “Why I Want to be a Filmmaker.” Tell us in a creative and fun way why you are motivated to be a filmmaker. Tell us imaginatively who you are.

*The Film & Digital Media Department cannot accept beginning English speakers.

For specific questions regarding the Film & Digital Media admission process, please contact:
Jara Ruiz-Anchia at 951.659.2171 x2347 or jranchia@idyllwildarts.org

The teaching of Virtual Reality 360 by Neil Short, also currently in the Creative Technology Department in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, hints at the cutting-edge skills taught by our Film and Digital Media faculty members. These include Jon Alvord, an expert in editing and visual effects who worked on Batman Forever (1995) as well as the short film, “The 716th,” whose 2018 premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival made waves and is now available on Amazon Prime. Our other faculty members have worked at every level of the creation of films in Hollywood. But they are not only film professionals; they are also dedicated professional teachers, having brought their industry experience to film schools such as Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and having developed and taught courses in screenwriting, cinematography, and other key subjects.

Learn More…

Christina Reynolds ‘98
Associate Producer, Shark Tank

Prescott Trudeau ‘03
Curator and exhibit designer

James Baumann ‘06
Documentary filmmaker and
social justice activist

Bayan Joonam ‘06
Emmy-winning producer

Bree Essrig ‘08
YouTube personality and host

Sean Stromsoe ‘09
Videographer and founder of
nonprofit Ethiopia Skate

Spencer Koobatian ‘09
Assistant Editor,
Twentieth Century Fox

Jordan Kreimerman ‘10
Writer/director/cinematographer
at Blue Line Pictures

Andrew Reisfeld ‘10
Producer of promotional
spots for television

Kai K. Krause ‘11
Nominated for BAFTA Award
in Cinematography

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