As many a film school graduate knows, much of the crucial learning takes place outside the classroom. For students at Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, those pivotal experiences on set are happening not only a few blocks down the main campus drag, but also as many as 8,000 miles away.
That’s the distance 10 Dodge students (both undergrad and graduate) traveled in January to Hyderabad, India, where they collaborated with Indian students at the Annapurna Intl. School of Film and Media on three short films over the course of 10 days. With one film shot in English, one shot in Hindi and a third shot in the local lingo of Telugu, Annapurna students were integral for translating scripts and enhancing authenticity (especially when casting local actors). In return, Chapman students taught their greener cohorts how to use equipment and crew the set.
Professor Alex Rose, who spearheaded the Hyderabad venture, says India is ripe for this sort of partnership because of its vibrant culture, democratic attitude toward creative expression, and a booming youth culture. But the Annapurna collaboration is just one of several of Dodge’s initiatives to bridge the gap between its film students and the thriving film industries in East and Southeast Asia.
Dean Bob Bassett fi rst established Chapman’s presence in Asia by creating a satellite campus in Singapore in partnership with the School of Film and Media Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic five years ago. While the program — which focuses on the making of international co-productions — was created for Singaporean students, students based in Orange County visit Singapore during Interterm (in January) to work on documentary projects. Bassett hopes to expand that exchange into a semester-long program in the near future.
According to Bassett, Singapore was an apt choice because media development authorities in the region hope for the island to become a media hub that bridges the gap between media industries in China and the United States.
“Singapore may be the size of Orange County, but they have huge, powerful neighbors,” says Bassett. “Media entrepreneurship strikes a resonant chord in Asia. Asians are fascinated by Hollywood’s ability to tell stories that travel around the world and the American concept of entrepreneurial activity.”
In addition to partnering up with Ngee Ann, Chapman has established exchanges with Taipei National U. of the Arts in Taiwan and the Seoul Institute of the Arts and Dongseo U. in Busan, South Korea. Chapman students also visit the Busan Intl. Film Festival, where they scope out fi lms to bring back to spotlight at Busan West in Orange. The satellite fest has drawn such fi lmmakers as Bong Joon-ho (“The Host”) and Park Chanwook (“Oldboy”).
“This is not a traditional study abroad where you go for a semester to take (general education) courses,” Bassett says.
Unlike traditional programs, Dodge students spend weeks abroad. “It’s about getting to know another country through a camera,” Bassett says.
Students make short films at Annapurna Studios in collaboration with its Intl. School of Film and Media students.
A group of students helped create a short film on the Hengdian World Studios backlot last summer.
The college hosts “Busan West” each year in Orange, bringing back films to showcase from the Busan International Film Festival.
The school partners with Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore to offer a degree program in creative producing.
(Pictured: Dodge College students work on “The Red Envelope” on the Hengdian World Studios backlot in China.)