One of the greatest assets a film student can have during his or her education is a mentor—–someone who can guide him or her through the challenging process of moviemaking, using years of experience in the field as an invaluable resource. Most students would be lucky to find just one such person; but at the Brooks Institute of Photography, members of the school’s film program are blessed with dozens.

For the last four years, the Santa Barbara-based Institute has been the recipient of Kodak’s 35mm Project, a grant that enables students to produce a 35mm short film project in collaboration with a 150-person crew and more than 30 local vendors. Students who attend the Brooks Institute, which offers both bachelor and master degrees in film and video production, participate in the 35mm Project by enrolling in a corresponding class, then apply for specific production jobs on the film.

In order to augment Kodak’s program, Emmy Award-winner Tracy Trotter and his wife Judy, who serve as faculty sponsors on the project, used their connections in the film industry to bring together an impressive collection of mentors. Hailing from a variety of fields and organizations, from the Directors Guild of America to Clairmont Camera, these experts assist the students over the course of the project by providing input and support at each stage of the moviemaking process. Judy Trotter notes that the benefits of the mentoring aspect of the project go both ways: “We as teachers and mentors share our 30-plus years of on-set experience with the Brooks students and in turn they share their joy for the filmmaking project.”

Find your mentor at www.brooks.edu.

–Jennifer Straus