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, 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 course work 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 interact with the culture around them.
This program has been built from the ground up with a focus on what students need to be prepared for work in the twenty-first century. 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 and diverse. 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 place of the usual “research & publishing” our Cinema & New Media Arts faculty are tasked with actively creating films, web series, video games, and other media. Students are invited to take part in this work, apprenticing with our faculty and staff.
The Cinema & New Media Arts program offers dozens of unique courses, which are divided into three basic categories: Artistic Training, Practical Application, and Media Studies. These three types of classes ensure that students are well-trained in their craft, have ample time to exercise and sharpen their talents, and are historically grounded in a rich artistic foundation.
Freshman year, students are given an introduction to mass media and cinematic arts as well as an overview of storytelling, collaboration, and media business.
Sophomore year, students begin to specialize with training in specific disciplines, while also being challenged to consider how their faith affects their work.
Junior year is focused on practical application, experience, and internships in the students’ chosen disciplines.
Senior year offers Cinematic Arts students a capstone experience with a two-semester-long final project that synthesizes what they have learned throughout the program and prepares each student for work after college.
Two and three-year tracks are also available to students.
The program is designed to allow students to minor or double-major in another subject at HBU, including creative writing, business, marketing, philosophy, history, Christianity, and more.