Shingle to fully-finance micro-budget films

In a rare move for a film school, Chapman U has launched a feature film production and distribution label, Chapman Entertainment.

The shingle will fully finance films in the $250,000 to $625,000 budget range from a mix of equity partners and private donors.

Bob Bassett, the dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, will head the program, which, he says, will be open to both alumni and the filmmaking community at large.

“We really will take stories or scripts from anybody,” Bassett told Variety, adding that the group is actively pursuing two scripts, only one of which originated with an alum. “(But) the key aim is to help our alumni make a transition into the business.”

Bassett emphasized, however, that Chapman Entertainment will make and own fully realized movies, not student films, utilizing the resources of the university’s film school and studio complex.

“In most film schools, the students make short films,” he said. “But that’s really not the currency of the business.”

While film schools haven’t gotten into the film production and distribution biz, film festivals have been increasingly active in broadening their reach through distribution operations.

The school’s move, says Bassett, has much to do with teaching not just how to make a film, but how to get the film to an audience. To that end, Chapman is also one of the few schools which teaches marketing and film publicity to help teach students that just creating a film won’t make people want to see it, an idea he says is “rampant” in many schools.

“Part of our aim is to do something bold and to directly connected to the business.”

In a statement, the company said it will select projects based primarily on their appeal to a “younger demographic” that embraces and accesses new media distribution channels.

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