Cinematic Arts: Bringing Our Stories to Life

Written by Nicole Johnson

Azusa Pacific’s Bachelor of Arts in Cinematic Arts is a comprehensive program that allows students to be immersed in hands-on filmmaking with state-of-the-art equipment and expert instruction from faculty with professional experience.

Over the last year, Azusa Pacific has added a new degree: A Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Visual Effects. This program will help students learn to bring characters, creatures and objects to life in stories they create.

Screens are now accessible anywhere and everywhere in our world today. The Cinematic Arts major is all about filling those screens with content. Whether it is a movie screen, television screen, smartphone or computer, the majority of the population is now exposed to one screen at least one time a day. There is a need for content on those screens, whether it is traditional narrative content, games, or advertising.

When it comes to stories, Greg Michael, chair of the department of cinematography, says, “In the most general sense, God most engages us through story. We are all part of the great story that He’s telling and the focus of the department in particular is storytelling. As a department, we align our vision with how it aligns with God’s greater purpose through story.”

In the last year, the department has hired four new faculty members, including Tim Samoff who specializes in gaming, and Tony Bancroft who worked in animation at Disney. As the department expands, they would love alumni to partner with them - whether that be as guests in a classroom or in the audience at events. They want alumni to help pour into students with their professional expertise.

“A Cinematic Arts degree is relevant,” says Michael, “because just like life, all narratives talk about how characters are interacting and struggling to overcome things in a broken world. If there is no conflict, there is no story. The fall of man is embedded into all of our stories. Whether that is tension in a family or bringing a bad guy to justice, the world has fallen short of God’s design. Our department recognizes that and tries to maximize the glory of God.”