The Cinema & New Media Arts (CNMA) program provides a challenging, creative environment for students to develop their artistic abilities and prepare for future work in mass media production. Taking advantage of developing technology, the curriculum is uniquely focused on new opportunities available to filmmakers, media producers and storytellers in the 21st century. The program offers students ample opportunities for practical, hands-on experience coupled with mentorship from experienced faculty members. All of this is designed to prepare students for a variety of pursuits, including filmmaking, journalism, video games and emerging opportunities in new media and technology.
Two degrees are available to CNMA students, a streamlined 36-credit-hour BA in Mass Media Arts and a comprehensive 54-credit-hour BFA in Cinematic Arts.
Cinematic Arts (BFA)
The BFA in Cinematic Arts provides students a comprehensive education in filmmaking and video production. In addition to the foundational CNMA classes, our Cinematic Arts students take multiple classes within specific areas of specialization, such as screenwriting, directing, editing or cinematography. The degree also offers numerous classes in film history and theory designed to provide students important foundations for their artistic work. The final year of the Cinematic Arts degree is focused on faculty-directed practicums and a two-semester Senior Project designed to showcase the student’s best cinematic skills.
Artistic Foundations — The Cinema & New Media Arts program uses cinematic classics and great art as a foundation upon which our students build. We start by looking back and studying the masters: not just filmmakers like Hitchcock or Bergman, but also classic artists like Shakespeare and Michelangelo. Students are exposed to a broad range of styles, ideas, and approaches so that they can understand the broader context of their work as cinematic artists in our modern world. This kind of essential aesthetic training is often left to specialized graduate programs and is largely ignored in the task-oriented training that most undergraduate film programs tend to offer, but we believe it is essential to prepare our students to be the best artists and storytellers in today’s cinematic mediums.
Refined Through Experience — We also believe that the best way for artists to master their craft is by actually doing it — making films and media, getting feedback from peers and direction from mentors, then doing it again and again and again, similar to what students in traditional art programs might encounter. As such, more than a third of a student’s coursework is centered around practical, hands-on experiences as they work on their own projects or support their classmates on larger productions. These projects are always supervised by our faculty, who work with the students to offer further instruction and direction.
A Christ-Centered Education — Within all of this, we also focus on our responsibilities as artists of faith. Students study how Christians have thought about culture and art throughout Church history and are challenged to understand their vocation as media creators from a biblical perspective. Out of this, students develop an understanding of how to live out their faith through their work as they seek to affect the culture around them.
Advantages and Opportunities
- While grounded in the rich heritage of the medium, our priority is giving students the knowledge and resources to be able to harness today’s technology to create beautiful, successful cinematic work.
- We prepare students for a wide-range of job opportunities. Most film programs are focused exclusively on work in the Hollywood studio system, but we recognize that media is now all around us, and the need for talented multimedia artists is equally broad. Students will be exposed to a plethora of potential careers and given the necessary training for the trajectory of their choice.
- Students interested in a career in the studio system can take summer internships or spend a semester studying in Hollywood, thanks to partnerships we have with universities and programs in Southern California. For the rest of their education, students can benefit from the first-class academic programs at Houston Baptist University as well as the incredibly rich cultural environment in the surrounding area — from the thriving city of Houston to the independent film hub of Austin.
- Our program is built around one-on-one mentorship by faculty members who are active filmmakers and media producers themselves. We believe that, in order to stay sharp, artists must continually practice their craft, so in addition to the usual research and publishing, our Cinema & New Media Arts faculty are actively creating films, web series, video games and other media. Students are often invited to take part in this work, apprenticing and learning from our experienced faculty and staff.