SMC Film Production Program
Winning Awards and Accolades

Student Pietro Coppolecchia operates the RED Camera in Film Studies 33 class

Student Pietro Coppolecchia operates the RED Camera in Film Studies 33 class

“Really, what we’re doing is teaching our students a new language,” enthuses SMC Film Production Professor Salvador Carrasco, in talking about the switch to digital that’s changing film production. His enthusiasm is catching, apparently.

The SMC Foundation recently granted funds to the department to purchase a new RED movie camera, the no-compromise model favored by Hollywood filmmakers. Professor Carrasco’s Film Studies 33 class, a thesis-level course, is already putting the camera to full use.

Film Production Professor Salvador Carrasco

Film Production Professor
Salvador Carrasco

SMC’s Film Studies group is making use of the interdisciplinary resources of the College—screenwriting, theater, media studies, and entertainment technology—to build a top-level film production program for students. The equipment list is growing, projects are expanding, and awards are in hand.

Student Robert Lorch on the Fisher Dolly
Student Robert Lorch
on the Fisher Dolly

The first film submitted from the program, Solidarity, was one of six finalists at BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Theater Arts), along with AFI, UCLA, USC, Chapman, and CalArts, and won Best Short Drama at the San Diego Film Festival earlier this month.

Amy Cale Peterson, actress; Josh Randall, actor; and student Robert Lorch at camera

Amy Cale Peterson, actress; Josh Randall, actor; and student Robert Lorch at camera

Professor Carrasco and others from his department have been growing the film production department, coordinating efforts among the disciplines and developing a structure and coherence for the program, with the intent to create an associate degree in film production at SMC.

Students Juan Felipe Zuleta (left) and Shannon Clair (foreground) on set

Students Juan Felipe Zuleta (left) and Shannon Clair (foreground) on set

“Everyone sees this film as theirs…there’s a sense of collective ownership
that can only happen at a place like SMC…”

“We want our students to be able to make a living in film, to love doing what they feel passionate about and to be like fish in water on film sets,” says Professor Carrasco. “Jobs count…both above and below the line.”

On set of Cora's Place with (left to right) actress Latarsha Rose, actor Tony Mack, and students Cristiano Cardoso, David Field, and Pietro Coppolecchia

On set of Cora's Place with (left to right) actress Latarsha Rose, actor Tony Mack,
and students Cristiano Cardoso, David Field, and Pietro Coppolecchia

The program thrives on collaboration, on the set among the students; at the College, among the screenwriting, theater, media studies, and entertainment technology disciplines; and externally with community partners and commercial firms.

“By the second year, our students are speaking the same language and trusting you. We know each other, we’ve bonded. And then we make the film!”

Film 32 production class shooting a scene directed by Jacob Chacko standing far left.

Film 32 production class shooting a scene directed by Jacob Chacko standing far left.

Film Studies 33, Directing the Short Film, is a third semester hands-on thesis-level class. Professor Salvador Carrasco appreciates the collaborative culture at SMC, where it’s possible to have everybody participating in the film feel that it’s theirs. The intent is for students to be able to make a living out of filmmaking, both above and below the line.

SMC’s Solidarity, Best Short Drama at San Diego Film Festival, BAFTA Finalist

SMC student actor Mantas Valantiejus dressed as a butcher in Solidarity

SMC student actor Mantas Valantiejus dressed as a butcher in Solidarity

The first thesis project submitted from SMC’s Film Studies group is an original narrative drama short film that follows two undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles dealing with loss who connect through collective action.

Solidarity was written and directed by Dustin Brown and co-starred Mantas Valantiejus, both SMC students. Professor Salvador Carrasco is the head of SMC film production and instructor of the class that produces these original short films.

Leonardo Leon at camera

Leonardo León at camera

2013 was the biggest year so far for the San Diego Film Festival. It had a complete sellout for Opening Night and its Filmmaker Tribute; more screenings at more locations; and more attendees from all over the globe!

Winner San Diego Best Short Film 2013 image BAFTA Los Angeles Film Awards Finalist 2013 image Official Selection Vilnius International Film Festival 2013 image Official Selection LA Shorts Fest image

Aside from SMC’s Solidarity, other award recipients were 12 Years a Slave (Audience Choice Award), Mariel Hemingway (Humanitarian Award), and Judd Apatow (Visionary Filmmaker).

(front row, right to left) Bill Borden, producer Mission Impossible; Dr. Chui L. Tsang, SMC President/Superintendent; Echo Tsang; Frank Dawson, Broadcasting Professor; Clyde Smith, Emmy-award winning Director of Photography, and SMC Cinematography Instructor; Sandra Barsoum, SMC Foundation

(front row, right to left) Bill Borden, producer Mission Impossible; Dr. Chui L. Tsang, SMC President/Superintendent; Echo Tsang; Frank Dawson, Broadcasting Professor; Clyde Smith, Emmy-award winning Director of Photography and SMC Cinematography Instructor; Sandra Barsoum, SMC Foundation

SMC Film Studies What’s Next?

   •   New Course—Cinematography 40 is new for Spring 2014 and is a hands-on class using state-of-the-art digital equipment applying camera dynamics into purposeful visual storytelling.

   •    Associate Degree in Film Production/Certificate of Achievement in Film Production—Work is underway on gaining approval for SMC to award an associate degree in film production, possibly in 2014.

   •   New Film and TV Production Studios—Construction on a major campus upgrade project is underway at SMC’s AET campus to add a full production studio, editing bays, computer labs, screening room, and state-of-the-art equipment along with other site improvements. The campus reopens in 2015.

Santa Monica College
Applied Music Program

Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013
(left to right) Laura Jackman; Kevin O'Neal, Faculty; Jeff Findley; Yerahm Paul Lee; and James Hudson

(left to right) Laura Jackman; Kevin O’Neal, Faculty; Jeff Findley; Yerahm Paul Lee; and James Hudson
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

A Program of Distinction

SMC’s Applied Music Program, one of several SMC programs with an audition as a prerequisite, provides students with individual instruction and hands-on mentoring. The program, established in 2001, provides constant feedback and support from professors and other students, giving SMC students the edge needed to compete and succeed at their transfer universities and conservatories.

Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013 Yerahm Paul Lee and April Shih

Yerahm Paul Lee and April Shih
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Musicians in the program range between jazz and classical, from violin to vocalist to composer. The program provides students each semester with an individual lesson class (a one-hour lesson and five hours of practice weekly), a class with other solo performing students, a performance ensemble class, a piano class, and the appropriate theory and musicianship classes.

'Korina'Kiriaki Kaplanis
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

“Korina” Kiriaki Kaplanis
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Qualifying students who transfer from the program receive a cash scholarship and achievement reward of $250 for each semester of participation.

Douglas Rezende
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Douglas Rezende
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Auditions are held twice yearly. And each semester, the program stages a benefit concert, featuring students selected by their peers to perform under concert conditions.

Larae Amber Ransom
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Larae Amber Ransom
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Students listed as performing at the Fall 2013 Applied Benefit Concert include Kacey Baughan, voice; Taylor Bredberg, composition; Jafet Bucaram, voice; James Hudson, guitar; Laura Jackman, voice; Sohyun Jang, cello; Korinna Kiriaki Kaplanis, voice; Yerahm Paul Lee, violin; Larae Amber Ransom, voice; Christopher Rupp, flute; April Shih, violin; Louis Stephens, composition; and Julian Yapkowitz, clarinet.

James Hudson
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

James Hudson
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

A New Recital Hall

The SMC Music program’s success, and the overall success of the Broad Stage, has resulted in the approval and funding of a new $14 million building addition to the Performing Arts Campus, with construction to start in 2014. The wing will provide the Applied Music Program and the other Music Performance ensembles and orchestras with a new large recital hall, a new piano practice room, and a new choir rehearsal room.

Sohyun Jang
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013

Sohyun Jang
Applied Benefit Concert, November 1, 2013


For an Easy, Affordable Move into American Culture…

Spring 2014 Offers International Students
a Great Beginning to Their College Careers!

Anthony Cloyd, Alycia Perez, and Celia Rivera.

Santa Monica College is #1 in transfers to the University of California, including UCLA! Many international students choose Santa Monica College to begin their college careers because of SMC’s transfer success, high-quality teaching, and low cost.

The Intensive English Program at Santa Monica College will help you make real progress in college. This program offers a strong plan to help you improve your skills in speaking, reading, listening to, and writing English. For admission requirements and more information, you can contact SMC’s International Education Center on the main campus, or call (310) 434-4217. Intensive English tuition is $3,200 for spring semester 2014. Classes begin on February 18. For information on the web, go to www.smc.edu/international.


SPEAK / READ / LISTEN / WRITE

English — Intensive ESL

Galina Inzhakova


“Coming to a new country, it’s better to start small…
SMC really helped! The intensive English program is like a little community—you spend a lot of time with other students and the teachers are right there taking care of you!”

Galina Inzhakova, transfer student to UCLA