NCCU professor Michael Pearce teaches course that is a part of Mass Communication's digital filmmaking concentration. Photo by Tiffany Davis.

Mass Communication Department adds digital filmmaking concentration

April 10, 2024

N.C. Central University’s Mass Communication Department expands with a digital filmmaking concentration.

When Michael Pearce arrived in 2018 to interview for a teaching position in NCCU’s Department of Mass Communication, a vision board on the Department Chair’s wall caught his eye. He and Calvin Hall, the department chair, immediately went to the board and began brainstorming the possibility of a digital filmmaking concentration to add to the other four concentrations.

“From day one when I came in it was an idea that was out there and was just trying to find a way to make it a reality,” said Pearce, who earned an MFA in filmmaking at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Calvin Hall, the department chair, shared the inspiration behind the digital film concentration.

“The concentration grew out of a screenwriting course I offered when I first arrived. In spring 2015 I offered it as a special topics just to engage interest,” said Hall.

Hall said that Pearce was initially hired to assist in the broadcast concentration, but his experience made him qualified to build the filmmaking concentration.

“He was the one that dealt with all the heavy leg work with getting academic approval,” he said.

According to Pearce, the film-based special topics course was always filling up so the interest was there. One early step was to get the course approved as an official listing in the department. The next step was creating the concentration.

Pearce said  the paperwork side, which consisted of writing up the classes and pushing them through committees,  took longer since it coincided with the COVID shut down.

The new concentration is tailored to prepare students with the technical acumen and creative vision necessary to excel in the field of digital filmmaking. Students enrolled in the program can expect a comprehensive education that prepares them for successful careers in filmmaking.

Now Pearce has some talented back up in the concentration. He’s been joined by Kenneth Campbell, a 2017 alumnus who studied in the Mass Communication Department and then went on to earn an MFA in Howard University’s Department of Media, Journalism, and Film in Fall 2017.

“There are a lot of visionaries walking around this campus. For me, being able to engage in their growth with them is helping me grow,” said Campbell.

Campbell has been the driving force behind the departments new film club, The 1910 Films Alliance.

“We will have training events coming up for students who are interested in film or have a passion for filmmaking,” said Jasmyn Harper the club’s vice president and mass communication junior.

Hall’s excited about the future of the digital film concentration.

“It is something that will be unique to us as an institution and in this area amongst HBCUs.”

 

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NCCU professor Michael Pearce teaches course that is a part of Mass Communication's digital filmmaking concentration. Photo by Tiffany Davis.
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NCCU professor Michael Pearce teaches course that is a part of Mass Communication's digital filmmaking concentration. Photo by Tiffany Davis.
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