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Learn filmmaking in this unique 10-month program chaired by one of the legendary short-film commercial directors, Bob Giraldi.

  • Transform an idea into a short film using the latest in digital technology
  • Connect with industry professionals: working directors, screenwriters, editors and producers
  • A practical, hands-on curriculum where students gain experience in every aspect of short filmmaking

The short film dates back to 1910, when theaters screened short subject films before feature length movies. In fact, the form was so well received that many studios had outlets that exclusively toiled with these one-reel films. But, by the 1930s, with the advent of the double feature and the rising popularity of a new media—television—the production of short films ceased to be a viable commercial operation for studios.

Today, short films are almost exclusively independent endeavors. The widespread use of digital media and editing equipment has made the genre an economical and accessible way for filmmakers to articulate and experiment with ideas that might otherwise be deemed too challenging or untenable. In fact, many established and successful directors, including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, first began by making short films. Indeed, the MPS Live Action Short Film program at the School of Visual Arts recognizes the importance of the short film as a vehicle for the emerging filmmaker. We view the medium as integral to the existence of an evolving, stimulating and relevant film industry.

This 10-month program spotlights the student’s personal journey and creation of an independent short film, from pre- to postproduction. Working directly with some of the most pertinent and noteworthy industry players, including writers, casting agents, directors, assistant directors and editors, students cultivate original ideas for inventive films that communicate a narrative in an aesthetically interesting and innovative manner. Under the direction of highly trained professionals, whose role is to both guide and challenge their students, students are given opportunities for hands-on experience in every aspect of short filmmaking: from the conception of an idea, to the creation of a shooting script, to casting, budgeting, directing, filming, editing and marketing the final product. The program ultimately culminates in a competitive, thesis-based short film festival hosted by SVA.

The MPS Live Action Short Film program celebrates the truly independent art of filmmaking, honoring filmmakers, instructing them about the history of short film and outfitting them with the creative, technical and critical tools needed to impart their artistic visions.

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