North Carolina School of the Arts: Dean, School of Filmmaking

When working producer Jordan Kerner (“Charlotte’s Web”) became NCSA’s film dean last spring, he had a very specific agenda in mind: better professional preparedness, better professional opportunities, plus more state money to make these things happen.

At a time when local production has dwindled, Kerner has pressed the North Carolina Legislature to increase the tax incentive from 15% to 25%.

“Coming to the school, I found one of its greatest strengths was that it was apart from Hollywood,” Kerner says, citing the success of such NCSA grads as David Gordon Green and Danny McBride.

To ease students’ transition into professional life, Kerner introduced the “Studio System,” which mimics the real world of pitching and developing screenplays where students get notes back throughout the process.

But for experience that really counts, fourth-year students participate in an “American Immersion” program, spending a week with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans or at the Philadelphia V.A. hospital “learning about character, personality and elements they will be able to use the rest of their lives,” Kerner explains.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more