Cinematic Arts

The sky’s the limit in terms of how broadly students can add to their filmmaking skill set and how deeply they choose to hone their particular filmmaking talents. The most successful students are those who experiment; who try new things; who teach themselves skills beyond those required in the program; who go beyond the standard assignments.

Students will explore the art of storytelling through the medium of film. Utilizing project-based learning, they will develop story ideas and learn the craft of building stories with interesting characters and compelling plots. In parallel with this, students will be taught the technical elements of filmmaking necessary to tell their stories visually—shooting, lighting, directing, editing, sound and color correction. Guest filmmakers, producers and writers expose students to the real-world aspects of filmmaking, along with its techniques, challenges and solutions. In addition, they are encouraged to participate in film festivals and student films are showcased in an MSA film festival held at the end of the school year.


While exploring and discovering their craft, students also discover a bit about themselves. Please enjoy this brief sampling of our film students' work this year.

This foundational course focuses on the basic practical aspects of producing visual narrative stories. Students will explore the use of visuals and other cinematic elements, and learn how to use the necessary film equipment, software, and technological tools that will help them to bring their stories to fruition. Students will also learn the basics of screenwriting and explore how aspects such as composition, movement, staging, production design, lighting, color, editing, and other visual elements are not only used to tell a story but also to provide deeper meaning and to shape the audience experience. Through practical exercises and the production of their own narrative projects, students will begin to become adept in the visual language of motion pictures, developing the necessary creative skills to convey meaning, emotion, and theme through visual means.

This second year course builds on the foundations of Cine 1, and students will continue to develop and hone their craft through the production of their own movie projects. This includes a deeper exploration of camera usage through the more advanced features of DSLR cameras, but also includes a deeper dive into cinematic areas such as lighting, audio, and production design. Students will also have greater exposure to the art of dramatic analysis, and how it translates into staging, camera choices, and a more purposeful visual approach to their productions. Industry-standard production protocols will also be emphasized, as students learn the practical aspects of professional filmmaking. This course is taken in conjunction with Cine Aesthetics & Genre Study.

These advanced film production classes continue the development of craft that was introduced in the earlier foundations classes. Students in these upper-level classes begin to develop mastery in their fields of interest, and they work independently and in teams to lend their talents to the betterment of video productions. Students start to develop portfolio-level work as they also explore client-based work, producing projects both inside and outside of school to develop the professional skills necessary to work as a professional mediamaker. These classes are taken in conjunction with Cinematic Narrative Project Development.

In this film study and analysis course, students explore the history and ongoing evolution of motion pictures and their role in shaping and influencing culture over the last century. The class will chronologically address the history of film, starting with the introduction of motion pictures as a new art form in the late 1800’s, then including the silent era and ‘talkies’, the Golden Era of Hollywood, the influence of television and other media, and carrying this through to the digital technologies of today. Throughout this course, students will see how technology and creative innovation are intertwined, and they will practice making their own innovative visual techniques. By the end of this course, students will have a firm foundation for the ongoing appreciation of film as an art form capable of communication, inspiration, and influence with a strong understanding of its role in the history of the world.

Taken concurrently with the advanced production courses of Cine 3 & 4, this class offers students a more professional glimpse of how to navigate their ideas through the industry. The role of producing takes center stage, as students learn how to evaluate project ideas and shepherd them from concept through development and writing, planning and production, and marketing and distribution. Students will produce films along with supporting marketing materials, and gain a deeper understanding of how to target audiences and turn their voices into viable films. They will also explore the world of film festivals, and gain a greater practical understanding of the professional media landscape and their potential place within it.

Awards + Accolades


  • Earned Spot in the Mill Valley Film Festival Youth Shorts, Fangs for the Memories.
  • Southern California Film Festival, A Silent Legacy, Best Original Screenplay.
  • Lark Theatre Youth Film Contest, Color of Music,  2nd Place.
  • Lark Theatre Youth Film Contest, A Silent Legacy, Honorable Mention.
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