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Cinema students

Cinema Production

Bachelor of Science

Our grads and students have produced more than 15 award-winning films over the past 10 years.

Overview

Film is a powerful tool for Christians to communicate the truth about God, people and the world around us.

That’s why at BJU you’ll study how film—with its combination of many art forms such as acting, photography, music and prose—plays an important role in culture. You’ll learn how to think biblically and draw conclusions from God’s Word as you develop your own philosophy of film. And most importantly, you’ll learn how to use these elements to create compelling stories for God’s glory.

Program

At BJU, you’ll study the artistic, technical and storytelling aspects of cinema production so you’ll be ready to take on the challenges of independent filmmaking. You’ll take a comprehensive look at what’s involved in filmmaking, from conceptualization and writing to directing and post-production. Additionally, because filmmaking is a team effort, you’ll grow to appreciate the various indispensable roles such as gaffer, storyboard artist and sound recordist.

Your education at BJU includes more than experience in the classroom. Through our film department, Unusual Films, and various projects, you’ll get hands-on experience in your craft. And during your senior year, you’ll either direct your own film from start to finish or take part in other approved creative work. You’ll find out what it takes to be a filmmaker and grow in your confidence as you go out into the industry to produce excellent work and share God’s truth with others.

BJU Core

As a Christian, it’s important to know how to use your vocation for God’s glory. At BJU you’ll grow in your confidence of the truth of God’s Word through the BJU Core. Bible courses and chapel will develop your skills in thinking biblically about every area of life, even down to the themes and elements of the films you create. You’ll also explore subjects such as history, English and philosophy so you’ll learn how to relate to people from a wider variety of backgrounds. Additionally, you’ll experience a variety of fine arts events, including plays, operas and concerts that will stretch your imagination and inspire you in your film career.

Electives

As an independent filmmaker or director who also writes scripts, it’s important to know the English language. Electives in both English and writing are great choices to accompany your major, as they’ll give you skills that you can use in a variety of settings. Additionally, courses in communication will help you understand people better and equip you to work more effectively with your film team and articulate your thoughts to others. Your experience gives you material to draw from in your vocation, so practically any elective complements your program studies well.

Success

photo of Tory Martin

Tory Martin, ’12

Videographer/Web developer at Your Creative People

I am incredibly grateful for everything I learned in the cinema program at BJU. The skills I gained from using professional equipment, learning about classic film techniques, and just being with friends and teachers have greatly benefited me working in the industry.

I also appreciate the continued relationships with my mentors: asking for advice, getting feedback on projects, and just chatting about films are all things I do regularly. I'd encourage anyone looking for a biblically based cinema education using industry standard tools to seriously consider the cinema program at BJU!

Photo of Leah Buchanan

Leah Buchanan, ’04

Associate producer and video editor for Day of Discovery

As the world of film and video production continues to change daily, I have found that my education at BJU has been foundational. Classes and hands-on experience were practical and fun, yet challenging. After graduating, I was able to step into the workforce feeling confident that I had an exceptional education and would continue to grow and learn.

Since that time God has blessed me with a position as an assistant video editor, and most recently, as an associate producer for a large ministry that airs a weekly television program. Using what I learned at BJU to create videos, I have been able to travel to Israel multiple times and other countries on film crews. It is a blessing to be a part of an industry that can be used to impact others for Christ.

Photo of Stephen McCullough

Stephen McCullough, ’04

Media Specialist

My cinema education at BJU took me from knowing nothing about film to having a working knowledge of the entire production process. I had to learn to accept critique and to strive for excellence and clarity. These were some of the most important lessons that I learned as a filmmaker—and as a person.

Additionally, the instruction I received in history, literature and writing has been an invaluable asset to my career in the arts. But I am most grateful that my BJU education went beyond the intellectual. Through fantastic Bible classes and godly peers, I grew closer to the Lord. My wife and I both graduated with film degrees and are now serving the Lord full time as Christian media producers.

Student Awards

2005 — Empathy — Doug Winningham won a Golden Eagle Award of Excellence in the student category, Entertainment — Drama, of the CINE Competition.

2005 — Virtuoso — John Chiafos won a Vision Forum Honorable Mention and the film was chosen for a Vision Forum DVD collection.

2006 — Expecting — Mary Ann Bright won 2nd place and a $500 scholarship at the annual film festival of the International Christian Visual Media.

2007 — Looking Down on Shoes — Stephen Garrison won top honor in documentaries at the BEA District II regional awards beating out 50 projects from 12 other schools in the region.

2007 — Taming of the Shrew Documentary — Elisheba Monte’s film was screened at the Student Documentary Film Festival at Northern Illinois University.

2009 — Moody Field — Darcy Faylor won the Kairos Prize and $10,000 for her screenplay at the Movie Guide Faith & Values Awards gala in Beverly Hills, California.

2009 — Solace — Sarah Nevius won 3rd place in the International Christian Visual Media’s student film festival; also won a Redemptive Film Festival award in the student category.

2010 — His Name Was John S. Mosby — Rebekah Rebert won a Cine Golden Eagle Award for her senior project.

2011 — Had My Doubts — Katelyn Barton won a Cine Golden Eagle Award for her senior project.

2012 — In My Seat — Peter Scheibner won Best Student Film at Silent River Film Festival for his senior project.

2012 — In My Seat — Peter Scheibner won Best Documentary Short and Best First Time Director at Faith Film Festival for his senior project.

2013 — Love Notes — Ryan Scheer’s senior project was an “Official Selection” for the Asheville Cinema Festival.

2013 — No Compromise — Philip Neves’ senior film won first place for best short film for the Intercollegiate National Religious Broadcasters awards. It also won the Film Award of Excellence at the same competition.

Graduate Awards

2009 — The Dark White Horse — Stephen and Jennifer McCullough won a Redemptive Film Festival award in the professional low-budget category.

2012 — Carolyn Mendenhall won a regional Emmy award from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

2012 — The Glade — Sam Rigby won Best Cinematography Award at the Filmstock Film Festival.

2013 — Sky Fishing — Austin Reddington won first place in the Animated Short category of the Autodesk “Gwen and Dave’s Getaway” Contest for Sky Fishing.

Your Future

Jobs

The cinema program at BJU opens the door to many career possibilities including:

  • Independent filmmaking
  • Advertising
  • Corporate media
  • Independent business communication
  • Studio photography
  • Video/audiovisual management for Christian ministries
  • Audiovisual managing

Graduate Schools

Our cinema production graduates have been accepted into graduate schools such as:

  • Academy of Art University, San Francisco
  • The Ohio State University
  • National University
  • Regent University
  • University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee
  • New York Film Academy
  • Tyndale Theological Seminary Amsterdam
  • Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Graduate Experience

Our graduates have gone into a number of careers and have held jobs such as:

  • Chairman, Jackson Marketing Group
  • Owner and videographer/editor, Front Row Video Productions
  • Cloud sales development manager, Adobe
  • Director of media, Baptist Mid Missions
  • Owner, Master Your Media
  • Owner, Richards Studio (represents High Museum, Atlanta Symphony and Alliance Theater in their photographic needs)
  • Lighting/compositing/FX supervisor, Reel FX Creative Solutions

Career Support

BJU offers students a variety of ways to network with employers and organizations. A multitude of job opportunities are posted each year on CareerCentral, our online placement service.

In addition, over 60 businesses and 150 Christian schools/mission boards/Christian organizations come on campus to recruit students through on-campus interviews and job/ministry fairs. The Career Services office also helps students by holding seminars on resume preparation and interview techniques.

View Gainful Employment data for this program.

Learning Experience

Film Projects

Two high points in the program are your film projects during your sophomore and senior years. In each of these projects, you’ll experience the joys and challenges of a director. You’ll choose the story you’ll tell, write the script, select your project’s actors and film crew, direct, and edit the footage.

Professional-Grade Equipment

Part of becoming excellent in your craft is becoming familiar with your tools. That’s why at BJU you’ll get experience using industry-standard equipment and software. Here are just a few of the great features available:

  • Avid Media Composer
  • Pro Tools
  • Photoshop
  • After Effects
  • Maya
  • Final Draft
  • Professional HD cameras
  • Digital audio equipment
  • Professional recording studio
  • Spacious soundstage (3,750 sq. ft.)

Unusual Films

The cinema department shares its space with Unusual Films, BJU’s film production department. The production crew and staff of Unusual Films also serve as the faculty for the cinema program, so your teachers bring practical knowledge of filmmaking and hands-on learning opportunities to your classroom experience. The films produced at Unusual Films are also great opportunities for you to get involved. In fact, your help is essential to our productions. Working at Unusual Films is a great way to learn the creative and technical aspects of film and grow through working beside professionals.

Faculty

Photo of Christopher Zydowicz
Christopher Zydowicz
Department of Cinema

View Faculty

The knowledgeable faculty boast a combined 142 years of teaching cinematic arts as well as extensive experience in both short films and full-length feature films.

Your faculty members serve as production crew for Unusual Films, BJU’s film production department, and they worked on BJU’s most recent award-winning, feature-length film, “Milltown Pride,” whose Georgia debut was recognized and commended by the Georgia State Senate.

Courses/Objectives

Program Objectives

Each student will:

  • Articulate a Christian worldview in the art of filmmaking.
  • Produce his or her own quality cinematic productions.
  • Tell stories using the cinematic medium.
  • Participate in various cinematic productions in and out of the classroom setting.

What’s my next step?