BC Students to Benefit From City, Industry, and CUNY Recognition of Film’s Importance to New York

Brooklyn College film students will benefit greatly from a new universitywide initiative called “NextGenNYC” that will promote and celebrate emerging filmmakers who graduate from the City University of New York.

“NextGenNYC” was unveiled November 27 at a press conference held jointly by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the Independent Feature Project (IFP), and CUNY.

Professor Dan Gurskis, Brooklyn College Film Department chair, said: “This initiative represents an outstanding opportunity for our students’ work to be seen by professional filmmakers in New York and to gain recognition in a highly visible arena.”

He added that though exposure was the primary benefit for students, “this also indicates that the mayor and the industry have begun to realize that film has really grown into an important element of the city’s economy.

“It’s now a $2 billion a year industry in New York,” Gurskis said.

More than four hundred students take film classes at Brooklyn College, with the majority pursuing a B.A. in film production and others studying screenwriting, film study, and film marketing.

“We run the whole gamut of approaches to the study of film here at Brooklyn College,” said Gurskis. “Our best students submit their work to festivals and showcases all over the world.”

He added that although film has been part of Brooklyn College’s academic offerings for twenty-seven years, “it’s only been in the past five years that the Film Department has really grown and taken off. It won’t be long before our graduates begin to take their place among the biggest names in the business.”

As part of the “NextGenNYC” initiative, film students completing their thesis work at Brooklyn College, as well as at City College and the College of Staten Island, will be able to submit their thesis films for selection in an IFP showcase to take place next September during Independent Film Week, September 14-19, 2008.

In addition, the films that are selected for the showcase will be eligible for a juried “Made in NY” award. The award includes a cash prize of $5,000. CUNY students’ works will also be a part of complimentary screenings held during IFP Market, a forum that is restricted to film industry professionals.

IFP is the nation’s largest membership organization of independent filmmakers and for the past twenty-nine years the city’s preeminent film association. The Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting was the first municipal film commission in the country and is a one-stop shop for all production needs in the city.