Digital Media Program Receives $220,000 Grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents


Written by Mary Sparacello

Lauren Kornick, Alex Katz, Bryan Fusfield, Elizabeth Berganza, and Mary Blue
Digital Media students (from l to r) Lauren Kornick, Alex Katz, Bryan Fusfield and
Elizabeth Berganza along with Mary Blue, Director of the Digital Media Program,
at the Prytania Theatre. (Photo by Arielle Pentes)

The historic Prytania Theatre in uptown New Orleans provided the perfect setting for 12 seniors in Tulane’s Digital Media Production program to see their names in lights. On May 12, the short films the students had created in a yearlong advanced filmmaking capstone course made their big-screen debut in the lovingly restored classic theatre.

“Seeing their work at the Prytania blew them away,” says Mary Blue, director of the digital media production program, which is housed within the School of Liberal Arts.

And it’s not just the screen that’s big. The Digital Media Production program is growing steadily in both size and stature. Most classes are full every semester and there are currently 97 declared majors, says Blue, compared with four majors in 2009. Noted filmmaker Matthew Martinez joined the digital media production faculty in fall 2015.

In past years, the Digital Media Production Student Film Festival has been held on the Tulane uptown campus. Students and parents alike were thrilled by the Prytania Theatre, the oldest single-screen movie house in Louisiana. “Many of the parents who were there and some of the adult actors in the films made comments to me about what a great experience it was for the students to see their work on the big screen,” Blue added.

The program has grown so much that the film festival will be semi-annual, with the next screening of six films to take place in December.

Blue is constantly improving the digital media production program and offering students new opportunities. She recently received a $220,000 grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents. With the award, Blue plans to set up a color grading facility that will allow students to “completely change the look and feel of an image after it has left the camera.” She will also purchase a high-quality 5K camera with a variety of lenses that will produce the images necessary for instruction in and the creative use of this process.

“Not only will students learn important creative and technological processes that are central in today’s film industry, they will be able to think critically about the evolving roles of the cinematographer and the editor in the filmmaking process and about the effect of these new technologies on the viewers’ experience,” says Blue.

“The quality of the students who come here is high,” she says. “They are hard-working, creative, highly intelligent students. I am grateful to the current and future donors who will help them achieve their dreams.”

The students at the Film Festival and their films:
Elizabeth Berganza, Musica Memoria
Alisa Cacho-Sousa, Bo
Carina Gleason, Injection
Bryan Fusfield, Left on the Levee
Ava Katner, My Compass
Alex Katz, Out of Time
Lauren Keenan, Easy Prey
Lauren Kornick, A Work in Progress
Lindsay Kornick, Sale of a Deathman
Jack Nester, Creeper
Jacob Pozzi, Black Diamond
Jessica Rocco, Lying in the Grass