Biz leaders dedicate N.C. school

Focus on new $30 million filmmaking school

MPAA president Jack Valenti will be the keynote speaker at the North Carolina School of the Arts’ three-day gala April 16, 17 and 18 to dedicate its $30 million North Carolina School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem. The ceremonies also will include a tribute to director Robert Wise.

The dedication kicks off with a special luncheon April 16 featuring Valenti and focusing on the motion picture industry in North Carolina. The luncheon will be hosted by N.C. School of the Arts Chancellor Alex Ewing, U. of North Carolina president Molly Broad and North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. More than 300 legislative leaders and corporate executives are expected to attend.

On April 17, students enrolled in the film program will be treated to workshops and special classes led by professionals from the filmmaking community. The evening’s highlight will be the tribute to Wise (“The Sound of Music,” “West Side Story,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still”) for his lifelong commitment to nurturing and training young filmmakers.

On the event’s final day, the general public will be invited to tour the school’s 70,000-square-foot state-of-the-art production and post-production complex designed to be a fully functioning motion picture studio for training young professionals. The studio village embraces a built-in back lot “Main Street” (which will be the site for a black-tie gala on Saturday night which concluding the dedication weekend), three professional-sized sound stages, three film theaters, a post-production complex with all-digital editing suites, ADR/Foley stage, mixing theater, a 4,000-square-foot music scoring stage and a variety of instructional spaces.

“This may seem an unlikely place to build a conservatory for filmmakers,” said Sam Grogg, chairman of the film school. “But once the word is out, we feel this is a more ideal location to pursue filmmaking without the distractions of Hollywood.”

Joining the industry salute will be Jean Firstenberg, executive director of AFI and chairman of the N.C. School of Filmmaking’s advisory board; Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prexy Robert Rehme; Meryl Marshall, president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; DGA prexy Jack Shea; WGA prexy Daniel Petrie Jr.; Donn Cambern, president of MPEG; Michelle Byrd, exec director of the Independent Feature Project; Dawn Hudson, exec director of IFP West; and Betsy McLane, executive director of the Intl. Documentary Assn.

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