A Milestone Moment for Arts Education at Interlochen

October 09, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
INTERLOCHEN, MI – As it nears its eightieth year, the nation’s first and foremost arts training-ground for youth has moved into a new territory: film. On Saturday, October 7, 2006, Interlochen Center for the Arts opened the new Aaron and Helen L. DeRoy Center for Film Studies.

The 26,000-square-foot building on the Interlochen campus will bring together key elements of filmmaking under one roof, including: a film studio, editing and production areas, a sound stage and a movie screening room. It is the only building of its kind in the country, built to benefit young artists interested in developing their skills as a filmmaker. It also contains 24 dorm rooms.

The new motion picture arts program draws on the established strengths of the arts school and creates an interdisciplinary approach to film education. Music students score films; theatre students develop their skills acting for the camera; creative writing students have the opportunity to write screenplays and see them developed into film.

At the dedication ceremony, Interlochen Center for the Arts President, Jeffrey Kimpton explained how the established arts institution made a move a new direction. “Interactions with the other arts are such a critical part of quality filmmaking. This depth of experience can only happen at Interlochen, and we are proud of this great advancement of our mission.”

Mike Mittelstaedt, director of the motion picture arts program at Interlochen, explained that the new program would open opportunities to the many students who have already taken an interest in film and video. “With changes in technology, so many young people have experience using their own computer and video cameras at home - this sparks their interest in video and film. Our structured and interdisciplinary curriculum gives students a chance to elevate those skills by giving them access to not only the best equipment but the best instruction in the art of filmmaking.”

This unique and state of the art facility, coupled with challenging coursework, provides young filmmakers with the tools that they need to get started in a career in motion picture arts. Students edit high definition video using the industry-standard software. Four editing suites connect to a shared server with seven terebytes (7000 gigabytes) of data storage and a sound stage allows students to create and film on sets. A movie screening room seats more than 200 allowing students’ work to be showcased.
The $6 million project was launched with a gift of $1.5 million from DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, which is based in Southfield, Michigan. An active supporter of arts and educational causes in the Detroit area and around Michigan, DeRoy made the initial gift to the new program. “We are proud to be a major supporter of the new Motion Pictures Arts program at Interlochen,” stated the President of the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, Arthur Rodecker, who was present for the building’s dedication. “For years, DeRoy has been attracted to Interlochen because of their programs in education and the arts. With the opening of this new facility, students will now have the opportunity to extend their education in the arts, preparing them for successful entrance into any college or university film program."

Interlochen Center for the Arts does often not undertake this kind of programmatic change - the last new arts area to be added was the creative writing program, which was added in 1976.

While the motion picture program is only one year old, its first-year graduates have already found success. Even though during its first year, the motion picture arts program was temporarily housed in another building and lacked the resources that are now available, the students have still thrived, receiving awards in national competitions and screening a movie at the Traverse City Film Festival. Members of the first class of Motion Picture Arts graduates were accepted into film schools including Columbia College in Chicago, and New York University.

As part of the building dedication ceremonies, the Arts Academy held a weekend-long film festival, which featured seven classic films.
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The high school academy is part of the nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts, the only community in the world that brings together:

• a 2200-student summer camp program
• a 500-student fine arts boarding high school
• a 150-student independent pre-K through 8th-grade day school and summer day camp
• opportunities for hundreds of adults to engage in fulfilling artistic and creative programs
• two 24-hour listener-supported public radio stations (classical music and news)
• more than 600 arts presentations annually by students, faculty and world-renowned guest artists
• a global alumni base spanning eight decades, including a galaxy of arts luminaries.

For information, visit Interlochen online at www.interlochen.org.

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