Like many of you, I'm a DF student here at Ai and I was shocked to hear that EDMC have decided to cancel the Digital Filmmaking program. Although I am graduating before the film program is gone, I am still very much affected by this bad news.
After high school, I worked as a make-up artist for many years. I made a decent living but I hated my job. At twenty-five I decided to stop and change my life around in order to pursue my true passion. Unfortunately most film schools in NYC require a portfolio in order to enroll; I was a cinephile who had never picked up a camera. Ai was the first school that gave me a chance. At first I wasn't sure what to expect out of the program, but I was happy to find that a lot of the classes were so hands-on; while my friends were watching Citizen Kane for the upteenth time over at another film school, I was learning how to work with a production team and how to operate equipment. I was also happy to work with such a diverse group of students, many of whom I hope to collaborate with in my professional career. Sure, like any other student I've had some complaints here and there, but overall I found the film program and faculty extremely helpful and motivating. The film program here is tailored to get you out into the work place and as someone who had moved back with her mom in order to return to school full time, that was exactly what I was looking for.
My story is not special. A lot of students here have their own stories, their own struggles. The DF program has given a lot of people with limited options an opportunity to pursue their passion in the film capital of the world. To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement - I think I speak for most of us when I say I feel like a mixed bag of emotions (a big one being anger) and I'm left with many unanswered questions. Knowing that EDMC made this decision based on business matters only adds salt to the wound.
So what now? I don't know. But what I do know is regardless of whats happening, I'm going to take what I've learned here at Ai and continue to sharpen my skills and create as much as I can. I love filmmaking, and this situation only motivates me to work harder at what I do. Let's take advantage of our time here and get together to help each other out on our projects. Continue to create, continue to work hard. Take all that anger and work your way to the top.
- Melissa Fortunatti