MICA's video and film arts majors flourish by living in a vibrant art-school community where they have the opportunity to explore installation, documentary, narrative, or experimental genres.
Students are required to take Video Art, Documentary, Screenwriting, and Narrative Production. In Video Art students study the history of fine artists working with video. The Documentary course covers the historical evolution of the form while students experiment with different production methods through their projects. The Screenwriting course is offered by the language, literature, and culture department with a focus on short, producible, dramatic screenplays. In the Narrative Production course, several of these screenplays are selected and produced. This course is co-taught by a cinematographer and a writer/director. This sequence of course work provides students with a breadth of experience in the medium. The department's advanced course work explores these areas further.
All students also take Film I and Sound I. Shooting film teaches students to see light, and becomes an aesthetic choice students have for further projects. Students report that the experience is invaluable and will forever affect how they light, compose, and capture both digital and HD footage. Sound I explores an array of ways of working with sound, including sound art, music, film and video soundtracks, radio journalism, and drama.
All video and films arts majors are required to take an internship. This provides students with opportunities and expanded experience outside of the College. The department encourages students to pursue an experience in the area of their interest – fine arts, production-based, web-based, TV, film festivals, or cinema. Students have had internships with HBO's The Wire, NPR, The Discovery Channel, MTV, Fox TV, Houpla!, NPR, Engel Brothers Entertainment, Fox 45 News, Killer Films, Mission Media, The Maryland Film Festival, Dingaling Studios, EdgeWorxs, City Lights Productions, Greene Street Films, and Brillig Productions.
In the spring semester of their third year, students take Junior Seminar, which emphasizes professional development and artistic voice. In this course students create a professional resume, develop a website, and assemble a DVD sample reel. Students also apply for grants, exhibitions, festivals, scholarships, and summer internships. The department hosts a number of working professionals to meet with the class and discuss possible professional and artistic applications. This allows the students insight into a range of career possibilities. Guest speakers have included: gallery artists, TV professionals, and feature film directors. This course also provides a lead-up to the senior year, where students are expected to execute a two-semester-long thesis project. During the senior year, students clearly articulate their project ideas and concepts through a series of written assignments. While in a research-and-development phase, seniors give presentations on an artist they find important and moving. We push them to contribute something fresh, unique, and inventive.
The Video and Film Arts Department has run a number of off-campus, project-oriented courses, all taught by renowned cinematographer Allen Moore. Students in these courses have produced trailers for Baltimore's local independent cinema, an advocacy video for Maryland Charter Schools, and are currently involved in providing video documentation for the Center for Design Practice project Bio-Diesel University. Working on a professional project raises expectations for the students and gives them access to a professional mentor. Students have the opportunity every semester to interact with working artists. Recent visitors have included Dr. Hal Weaver, Aaron Matthews, Alex Gibney, Brett Morgan, St. Clair Bourne, Yvonne Welbson, Vanalyne Green, Alex Rivera, George Kuchar, Dee Dee Hayleck, Lynn Sachs, Bob Sabiston, Bruce Bickford, Eduardo Sanchez, D. A. Pennebaker, Ramona Diaz, Richard Hankin, Bruce Sinofsky, Scott Clonico, Ellen Kuras, Christine Vachon, Lodge Kerrigan, and Barry Levinson.
Graduates in video and film arts at MICA are producing motion graphics, doing feature-film production, pursuing graduate work in film, creating gallery-based projections and music videos, and have screened their work in The Sundance Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, L.A. Freewaves, DC Asian Pacific Film Festival, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, and Crested Butte Reel Festival.