Cinema Sarah Lawrence Combines Liberal Arts with Hands-On Filmmaking

Aspiring filmmakers can look forward to a new, one-of-a-kind program now being offered by Sarah Lawrence College. Cinema Sarah Lawrence, a 15-week, semester away program, provides a rare opportunity for young filmmakers from any accredited college or university to collaborate with 25 film professionals in the making of an ambitious feature film, which will be released nationally. The program is led by Jay Craven, award-winning independent filmmaker and Sarah Lawrence faculty member, and Fred Strype, chair of Sarah Lawrence’s robust Filmmaking & Moving Image Arts program. Cinema Sarah Lawrence is set to launch in the spring 2019 semester.

“An education that stresses the core values of the liberal arts, with an emphasis on the multi-faceted nature of important issues and problems that require innovative and flexible thinking, is more relevant than ever,” says Dean of the College Kanwal Singh. “Cinema Sarah Lawrence is an experiential learning program that is deeply rooted in the liberal arts, immersing students in a process that starts with a work of literature and moves through the entire arc of development that results in the creation of a film.”

Cinema Sarah Lawrence begins with a weeklong visit to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. From there, students and faculty/mentors travel to the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, for seven weeks of classes, screenings, workshops, script critique and revision, casting, sessions with visiting artists, and pre-production. Following that, students will work with an expanded group of mentors/professionals to launch final pre-production and production of their planned feature film, Martin Eden.

The program has an impressive track record. Founded at Marlboro College, it ran for seven years, providing valuable experience to 106 students from 23 colleges and universities around the world. Previous films produced include “Disappearances,” starring Academy Award nominees Kris Kristofferson and Genevieve Bujold; “Northern Borders,” starring Bujold and two-time Academy Award nominee Bruce Dern; “Peter and John,” starring Golden Globe-winner Jacqueline Bisset, Christian Coulson (“Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets”), and Diane Guerrero (“Orange is the New Black”), and “Wetware,” starring Jerry O’Connell (“Stand by Me”), Cameron Scoggins (“Nashville”), and Morgan Wolk (“Miles Ahead”).

In 2019, Cinema Sarah Lawrence will produce a film based on Jack London’s autobiographical novel, Martin Eden. In this story, a rough-hewn, poor, and unschooled sailor, Martin Eden, unexpectedly meets Ruth Morse, a magnetic young woman of means and education. Their unconventional attraction upends both lives and propels timely themes of impossible love, the confines of class, celebrity and individualism, aspiration to the American Dream, and the quest for a comfortable place in an inconstant world.

Students from all accredited colleges and universities are welcome to apply to Cinema Sarah Lawrence. Many kinds of students—not just film students—benefit from the program, as the skills developed have multiple applications and are chiefly intended to foster critical thinking, joint decision-making, problem-solving, evidence-based inquiry, creative interpretation, contextual analysis, fair-mindedness, flexibility, risk-taking in the process of creative discovery, and much more. Students also acquire practical skills in the many specific jobs that are required to make a narrative feature film or television program. These skills can help them to advance significantly if they choose to pursue professional opportunities in the field.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.