"The Wake," including a nomination from the Portland Comedy Festival as best ensemble.

APU’s BFA in Acting for Stage and Screen Receives National and International Recognition

by Abigail Reed

Azusa Pacific University’s Department of Theater Arts celebrates several recent successes within the BFA in Acting for the Stage and Screen, as the program gains national and international recognition.

Earlier this year, Onstage Blog selected the degree as one of the top 25 BFA acting and performance programs in the United States for 2018-19. The prominent acting blog highlighted APU’s commitment to training students to act professionally in theater, film, and television, as well as the opportunity for seniors to act in a web or film series with a professional director and participate in an industry screening in Los Angeles.

These student web series have produced notable results, ensuring students graduate from the BFA program with relevant experience and professional contacts in the field. On average, more than 75 percent of the senior class receives calls from agents after the industry screening. In addition, for three consecutive years national and international film festivals have selected student film series, allowing alumni to watch their senior films showcased.

Filmed in spring of 2016, “The Death of Rasputin” was selected for the Lanett City Film Festival, Gangrene Film Festival, and the Lancaster International Short Film Festival, which announced the web series as the winner of best comedy. This modern, comedic retelling of the assassination of Grigori Rasputin stars Kyle Howard and Golden Globe winner Barry Bostwick.

The following year, “The Wake” showcased at five film festivals, including the Bucharest ShortCut CineFest and Portland Comedy Film Festival, which awarded the web series with best ensemble. Directed by APU professor Adam Hall, MFA, this comedic web series follows Daniel’s birthday celebrations, which unusually take place at his father’s wake.

“This web series allowed me to apply the skills I learned while completing my BFA in Acting for Stage and Screen,” said APU alumnus Andrew Bliek ’17, student actor in “The Wake.” “The professionalism of the team, as well as the final product, propelled my acting career forward and prepared me to continue my education at Walt Disney’s California Institute of the Arts.”

Currently, several prominent film festivals are considering the recent student web series, “Carguments,” for showcasing and possible awards. Directed by the experienced actor and director Judson Peace Morgan, this series follows 18 young college graduates as they navigate the twists and turns of growing up, all while braving Los Angeles traffic.

“The Acting for the Stage and Screen degree continues to celebrate successes, all while training actors to be exceptional both on stage and camera,” said Jill Brennan-Lincoln, M.A., chair of the Department of Theater Arts. “It is both exciting and rewarding to witness students graduating from APU trained for careers in film, television, and theater—knowing they are prepared to make an impact in an industry that reaches millions."

Abigail Reed is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a liberal studies major with an honors humanities minor.