CEBU’S film scene goes up a notch with the recent opening of the Film & Media Arts International Academy (FMA), a comprehensive filmmaking and animation school that’s one of the two TESDA-accredited international vocational institutions in the region.
Located in the old Sacred Heart School – Jesuit campus, the school houses state-of-the-art film making and animation equipment, and offers courses facilitated by mentors whose industry experience has spanned worldwide. FMA had its first intake of students earlier this year, and then formally launched the school in an Academy Awards-inspired red carpet gala held last March 16.
Co-founder and chief executive officer Jeannette Tongoy, who is a graduate of a film school herself, shared that she wants to “elevate Philippine TV and cinema” — that though the country has a lot of good camera operators, there are only a handful of filmmakers. And through FMA, she wants to provide accessible opportunities to Filipino talents who have the potential to make a name for themselves in the international scene.
FMA presently offers diploma programs in filmmaking and animation, as well as workshops and short courses in photography, game design, acting, visual storytelling for comic books, production and post-sound, and several others.
Co-founder and creative director, Carey Rothman, said that their training highlights the importance of stringing together creativity and technical know-how. The filmmaking diploma program, for instance, stresses in the seven disciplines namely writing, producing, production design, directing, cinematography, audio recording and post-production, editing and visual effects.
He said, “We wanted to start an art school that offered comprehensive technical training that perfectly supports, but not overshadows, the art side. Lots of folks want to be artists, but only with that concrete grounding in the technical and production aspects, will they have a chance to go out and build a career.”
FMA prides itself in its extensive line of equipment for filming, editing, sound and animation—including the Red Epic Dragon and Blackmagic 4k production cameras, among others, that will allow students to produce high-quality works ready for the big screen. Campus facilities consist of a 60-seat mini theater with 4K projector, production studios, props/costume room, sound and color suite, and workstations replete with the latest film editing software.
Current lineup of instructors include Rothman, academic director Timm Doolen, Daniel Anaya, and John Milton Branton, all of whom have worked on acclaimed international feature films. Instructor for the animation program is Mark Fernandez who has worked as CG supervisor for 10 years, and has done freelance work for EA Games and Walt Disney Studios.
“It’s truly an immersion program. Only when you’re overwhelmed, you learn,” Rothman said. FMA’s next intake starts April, and admissions is open to both local and international students. Doolen also revealed that the school is eyeing partnerships with local high schools to provide K-12 compliant filmmaking and animation courses for Grade 12 students. (FSE)